Kathryn Arthur in Ethiopia with the Gamo people

Anthropology Associate Professor Kathryn Arthur wins national award for groundbreaking research article

ST. PETERSBURG – A USF St. Petersburg anthropology professor has won a national award for research that suggests women may have been the first stone tool makers.

Kathryn Arthur, Ph.D., won the 2012 Gordon R. Willey Prize for a 2010 article in American Anthropologist titled, “Feminine Knowledge and Skill Reconsidered:  Women and Flaked Stone Tools.” The prize recognizes the best archaeology paper published in American Anthropologist over a three-year period.

Dr. Arthur’s article focused on a select group of Konso women in Ethiopia who procure high-quality stone from long distances, produce formal tools with skill and use their tools efficiently and effectively.

“Prior to this research, archaeologists generally believed that only men produce stylized formal stone tools from long distance quality raw materials,’’ she said. “In fact, women are often viewed as invisible during prehistory because of the assumption that they did not produce material culture.”

Her research overturns long-held stereotypes about “Man-the-toolmaker” and suggests that women may be the first stone tool makers.

Norine Noonan, Ph.D., Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, praised the quality of Dr. Arthur’s work. “Dr. Arthur’s research is consistently characterized by a high level of scholarship and is an outstanding example of the kind of work that distinguishes USF St. Petersburg faculty,” Dr. Noonan said.

This is the second award Dr. Arthur has received for her research article. Last year she won the General Anthropology Division Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship, awarded annually for a peer-reviewed journal article published in the preceding three years that demonstrates exemplary scholarship that transcends two or more fields of anthropology.