Among the many archaeological books on monasticism, none has considered the differences between the religious life of men and women, with nunneries often being dismissed as poor or failed monasteries. Gender and Material Culture takes a fresh look at the lives of religious women, providing the first complete case study in the archaeology of gender. This comparison of monasteries for men and women reveals stark contrasts in the social and economic status of religious foundations. Gender in medieval monasticism influenced landscape contexts and strategies of economic management, the form and development of buildings and their symbolic and iconographic content. Women's religious experience was often poorly documented, but their archaeology indicates a shared tradition which was closely linked with, and valued by, local communities.