- Dec 2021
Women’s gambling: women in many indigenous NorthAmerican societies were inveterate gamblers; the women ofadjacent villages would often meet to play dice or a gameplayed with a bowl and plum stone, and would typically bet theirshell beads or other objects of personal adornment as thestakes. One archaeologist versed in the ethnographic literature,Warren DeBoer, estimates that many of the shells and otherexotica discovered in sites halfway across the continent had gotthere by being endlessly wagered, and lost, in inter-villagegames of this sort, over very long periods of time.36
- DeBoer 2001
Warren R DeBoer. 2001. ‘Of dice and women: gambling and exchange in Native North America.’ Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 8 (3): 215–68.
Might it be possible that these women were actually gambling information relating to their "gathering" or other cultural practices? By playing games with each other and with nearby groups of people, they would have been regularly practicing their knowledge through repetition.
How might we provide evidence for this? Read the DeBoer reference for potential clues.