Professor of Anthropology, Professor and Chair of Women's & Gender Studies

Email: tomas(@)unc.edu

Phone: (919) 962-3908

Office: 410C Alumni Building

Area of Interest:

Archaeological method and theory, history of archaeology.
Social and gender archaeology.
Archaeology and nationalism, the state, and politics.
Gender and science, women in scientific professions and society.
Old World prehistory, Paleolithic archaeology, Central and Eastern European archaeology.
Prehistoric imagery, theories of symbolic representation.
Stone tool analysis (low and high-power use-wear).

Education:

B.A. McGill University 1986

M.A. Yale University 1988

M.A. U.C. Berkeley 1990

Ph.D. U.C. Berkeley, 1995

Professional Background:

I hold a joint appointment in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and the Department of Anthropology. I teach courses in both units and I direct a Women in Science program housed in Women’s and Gender Studies.

I am a member of the Archaeology and Gender in Europe Working Group.

Research & Activities:

Research Background:

I conducted my dissertation fieldwork at the sites of Dolni Vestonice/Pavlov in the former Czechoslovakia and Willendorf in Austria. I have also worked on projects in Quebec, France, Italy and in Eastern Slovakia where I co-directed a project at the Paleolithic sites of Nizny Hrabovec and Cejkov. I studied archival and museum collections in France, Germany, Israel and Siberia. Having crossed several borders in my life, I maintain an active interest in the historical context of scientific work in general.

One of my major on-going interests that weaves through all my research and teaching is the history of knowledge production, particularly in archaeology and anthropology. The principal focus of my work is participation and contribution of women and minorities in these fields.

My research has been funded by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Leakey Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the School for Advanced Research in Human Experience (SAR) in Santa Fe, NM, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the University of North Carolina.

Current Research

My research revolves around an examination of knowledge production about the past, particularly the very distant past for which only material evidence provides support for any claims. While dedicated to fieldwork and the material record, I consider myself mainly a theoretical scholar, interested in an inquiry of the history and theory building in my discipline of archaeology. My professional interests combine an analysis of the prehistoric past with a concern for present social and political contexts in which the science of archaeology operates. In pursuit of these topics, I have moved between anthropology, archaeology, history, social studies of science, and gender studies.
My current project “Practice in Stone: Engraved Prehistoric Landscapes in the Northern Cape, South Africa” focuses on stone engravings, a relatively understudied genre of prehistoric imagery in South Africa. Working with local collaborators, my team works with detailed microscopic photography of engravings at two geographically close but technically very different archaeological sites, Wildebeest Kuil and Nooigedacht. The immediate goal of my work is to capture the engravings as traces of manufacture. The larger theoretical question is to consider technological practice as a cultural phenomenon that has a tradition, and a regional and temporal specificity. Consequently a three dimensional recording of the engravings will allow me to focus on techniques of manufacture rather than the representational content or the land itself, with an attempt to discern a particular style. To this end I rely on three-dimensional computer reconstructions of the carvings. I plan to continue the fieldwork and expand the coverage of sites to other areas of the Northern Cape, to capture a wide range of settings and production techniques. An additional major contribution of the work is digital preservation of the heritage. Carvings, similarly to rock paintings anywhere in the world are exposed to the elements, animal and human destruction and are disappearing at an alarming rate. Moreover, creating the recordings will enable to create displays for viewing images of engravings that cannot be separated from the landscape. The possibility to inspect images in a museum setting may begin to address some of the educational issues related to frequent damage of rock art located in remote areas. We intend to deposit all our work with the McGregor Museum in Kimberley.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c37SQftC4Wc

Courses taught regularly

  • Archaeology of Sex and Gender
  • Women and Science
  • Introduction to Women’s Studies
  • Prehistoric Art
  • Laboratory Analysis: Lithics
  • History and Theory in Archaeology
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Archaeology of Identity

Selected Publications:

  • 2018. Feminist mapping for archaeologists: at the intersection of practices. In Piraye Haçigüzeller, Gary Lock, Mark Gillings (eds) Re-Mapping Archaeology: Critical Perspectives, Alternative Mappings, pp. 73-93.  Routledge.
  • 2015. Digital technologies in context: Prehistoric engravings in the Northern Cape, South Africa, in Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage 2: 222-232, Elsevier Publishers. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.daach.2015.04.001
  • 2013. Seasons of difference: stone tool use and Palaeolithic seasonality in Central Europe, in Canadian Journal of Archaeology 37(1): 93-122.
  • 2013. Wayward Shamans: The Prehistory of an Idea. University of California Press.
  • 2012. “From a materialist ethic to the spirit of prehistory.” Bender, C. and A. Taves (eds.) What Matters: Ethnographies of Value in a (Not So) Secular Age. Columbia University Press.
  • 2011a. “Archaeology in a middle country.” Lozny, L. (ed.) Comparative Archaeologies: A Sociological View of the Science of the Past. New York: Springer
  • 2011b. “Landscape for a good feminist. An archaeological review”. Archaeological Dialogues 18/1.
  • 2010. “Picture me dead: reimagining moral choices”. Archaeological Dialogues 17/1.
  • 2008a. “Nižný Hrabovec: A site with evolved Levallois technology in Eastern Slovakia”. (with L. Kaminska, P. Skrdla, J. K. Kozlowski). Journal of Eurasian Prehistory 6/1.
  • 2008b. “History of the Committee on the Status of Women in Archaeology (COSWA): Beginnings, Ruptures and Continuities”. SAA Archaeological Record 8/4.
  • 2007. “Post-processual archaeologies: through a stained glass (not darkly)”. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 17/2.
  • 2007. “Mapping a future: archaeology, feminism, and scientific practice”. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 14/2.
  • 2006. “Yes Virginia, there is gender. Archaeology’s many histories”. Bisson, M. and Williamson, R. (eds.) The Archaeology of Bruce Trigger: Theoretical Empiricism, pp. 81-113. Montreal: McGill-Queens University P.
  • 2006. “On being heard. Theory as an archaeological practice”. Archaeological Dialogues 13/2: 47-51.
  • 2006. “Next stop: gender. Women at Roman military forts in Germany”. Archaeological Dialogues 13/1: 20-27.
  • 2005. “What is a burin? Typology, technology and interregional comparison.” Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 12/2: 79-115.
  • 2005. “Central European Paleolithic settlement pattern: Cejkov, Slovakia in context” (with L. Kaminská, M. Hajnalová and D. Hudler). Journal of Eurasian Prehistory, 2/2:13-31
  • 2004. “Time space systematics of Gravettian finds from Cejkov I” (with L. Kaminská), in J. Svoboda and L. Sedlácková eds. The Gravettian Along the Danube, pp. 186-216. Dolni Vestonice Studies, Vol. 11.
  • 2003. “Nationalism, Local Histories and the Making of Data in Archaeology.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society, 9:3: 485-507
  • 2002. “The Exile of Anthropology.” (with P. Redfield), in Rebecca Saunders ed. The Concept of the Foreign, pp. 108-136. Lexington Books: Rowman and Littlefield
  • 2001 “Paleolithic survey of Eastern Slovak Location Nizny Hrabovec”, (with D. Hudler, L. Kaminská), Slovak Academy of Sciences Annual Reports 2001
  • 2000. The Nature of Difference: History and Lithics at Two Upper Paleolithic Sites in Central Europe. B.A.R. International Series, Archaeopress: Oxford

CV of Silvia Tomášková

Collaborators