Queer/GLBT Archaeology and Anthropology

I have always loved archaeology and helped my parents on a dig in Texas when I was a small child. After coming out of the closet, I lived for several years in Moab, Utah and explored Anasazi and Fremont ruins all over the Colorado Plateau ecosystem. I found two ancient petroglyphs (and heard of a third) that apparently depict homosexual activities, which sparked my interest in the possibility of Queer Archaeology.

[Above - petroglyph of two men with erections reaching out to embrace each other; it dates to circa 800 CE, and is located in Hidden Valley just above Moab, Utah. The two male figures may have been shamans because they also seem to have animal characteristics like rabbit ears (on the left figure) and a beaver tail (on the right figure).  On the same panel, just below these two ithyphallic men is the famous scene of a very long line of dancing "Kokopelli" figures.]

Naj Tunich homoerotics

[Above - a Late Classic Mayan cave painting and fragmentary hieroplyphs dating to the 700s from Naj Tunich, Guatemala, depicting an older man and a younger man in an erotic embrace, which Dr. Karen Olsen Bruhns of SFSU's Anthropology Dept. calls "the only genuine depiction known of male-male erotic interaction" in the Americas.  The younger man (right) sports what seems to be a Lunar Goddess hair lock down his back. Click on image to see photos of the original painting, prior to being vandalized.]

After many years of reading about European civilization prior to its conquest by Christianity, I started seeing patterns and themes that felt...well...queer to me. I became VERY intrigued by the possibility of finding physical remains of Queer people and cultures from the prehistoric past after reading Timothy Taylor's brilliant yet quite readable book, The Prehistory of Sex: Four Million Years of Human Sexual Culture. Inspired by his theories and commentary on various prehistoric sites (especially that of the Cro-Magnon village of Dolni Vestonice) I began to research Queer archaeology in earnest. After a couple of years, I had enough information to begin writing a series of newspaper articles for a Santa Cruz paper; my monthly column was called "Queering the Ancient Western World", and most of my articles are reprinted here.

I also became fascinated by the runes, and have discovered that they were created and spread around Europe by a tribe of nomadic homosexual warriors called the Erilaz or Herilaz (the Heruli in Latin and Greek). I am currently writing a book-length history of the Erilaz, which eventually I will post here.


Related Links (not my work)

Niankhkhnum & Khnumhotep The Egyptian burial tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep (two Fifth Dynasty men buried together in Saqqara)

On-linge Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History

Siberian Shamanism (see especially Chap XII - Shamanism & Sex)

Statuses of Sauromatian and Sarmatian Women - the historical origins of the Amazon legends


Email Connell with your comments

Return to Connell's home