Jump to Content Jump to Main Navigation

Childhood Studies Archaeology of Childhood
by
Suzanne Spencer-Wood

Introduction

The archaeology of children and childhood developed from 1980s feminist critiques of the neglect of women’s roles in archaeological analyses, particularly mothering and childrearing. Children are defined as immature individuals within societies, while childhood is the cultural construction and meaning of immature stages of development. Children and childhood cannot be reduced to biological immaturity, because biological stages of development are not isochronic with cultural constructions of childhood stages, which may end prior to biological adulthood. The meaning and even the very existence of childhood as distinct from adulthood is culturally constructed. In many cultures, children as young as two to five years old contribute to household economies, and children as young as five work producing goods for sale and adult profit. Many cultures construct childhood as a set of age grades marked by rituals and initiation rites of passage from one stage to the next. Many cultures also construct other structures and processes for the maturation of children, such as socialization, education, and training. In many cultures, age grades, rituals, and formal education and training are limited to children in elite or relatively wealthy families. Children’s experiences vary within cultural constructions and structurings of the normative childhood process of development. Archaeological theorizing about childhood has extended feminist critiques and corrective research paradigms from women to children. The invisibility of children as well as women has been related to the stereotype of their passivity and the devaluation of domestic life—in contrast to the valorization of men’s public roles. Feminist corrective research on women’s social agency has been extended to shift the viewpoint about children from passive receivers of socialization to cultural actors making significant economic, social, and ritual contributions to families, communities, and societies. Research considers cultural constructions of age grades and socialization through mothering/parenting as important aspects of childhood. Children’s own viewpoints and understandings of their lives and experiences have sometimes been interpreted from archaeological remains. Some researchers argue for the importance of researching childhood and children’s experiences because children made up between 40 and 65 percent of past populations. Therefore, past cultures cannot really be understood without considering children, any more than cultures can be understood without gender. Research on cultural constructions of childhood age grades often finds they are gendered. Further, the socialization of children forms a complex set of processes that are fundamental to cultural maintenance, inter- and intragenerational transmission, and cultural change. Because of this, many argue for integrating research on children and childhood into all of archaeology.

General Overviews

Overviews of the archaeology of childhood are predominantly concerned either with cultural aspects of children’s experiences or with the bioarchaeology of skeletal remains. Cultural overviews argue that children’s experiences are shaped most by cultural practices, but they also often briefly summarize the kinds of information about children’s health and nutrition generated by bioarchaeology. Early-21st-century bioarchaeological overviews discuss ways that cultural practices affect skeletal remains. Kamp 2001 reviews selected research on the Mesolithic through the 19th century about cultural aspects of childhood, organized topically from feminist critiques of neglecting children to cultural constructions of meanings of childhood, along with children’s nutrition, health, work, play, and viewpoints. This article could introduce the archaeology of childhood in college courses. Wileman 2005 argues that feminist calls for making women visible in the past can be extended to call for including children in reconstructions of the past. This book includes detailed examples worldwide, but it emphasizes the Mediterranean and Europe from Neanderthals through Anglo-Saxon England. It covers the widest range of cultural topics of all the overviews. Baxter 2005 is a methodological synthesis of archaeological research in the context of theorizing gender and childhood. It cites previous research arguing that children contributed significantly to the archaeological record because children make up 40–65 percent of documented populations. Baxter emphasizes socialization from Mesolithic through Classical archaeology, with some historical archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, ethnographies, and experimental archaeology. She focuses on children as active participants in their own socialization, and as creators of spatial distributions of artifacts on sites that provide information on “the child’s world” (Lillehammer 1989, see Theory and Method). This work also covers gendered cultural constructions of childhood, mortuary treatments, and evidence of social status, health, nutrition, and mortality. Baxter 2008 further develops Baxter’s critique of the dominant discourse on childhood, and it uses an expanded topical organization to summarize selected archaeological and ethnoarchaeological cultural research. This article is a useful introduction for college courses. Crawford and Shepherd 2007 provides a theoretical introduction and chapters ranging from the ancient Near East to Great Britain, on the basis of a thematic seminar series held at the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity (IAA). Lally and Moore 2011 provides chapters predominantly on child burials, from Egypt to Great Britain and North America. This edited volume developed from the 2005 conference on infancy and childhood in Kent, which led to the founding of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past (SSCIP). Romanowicz 2013 provides an overview and European case studies that developed out of a workshop on the archaeology of childhood held in Malkocin, western Pomerania, Poland, in November 2012. Roveland 2001 finds children underrepresented in a survey of articles in American Antiquity, 1935–1999. Roveland 2001 is in a book that developed from a session of the same title at the 14th International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Scott 1999 critiques the projection into the past of the Western identification of infants with the low status of women and the domestic sphere, followed by a comprehensive critical review of archaeological, ethnographic, and art history research supporting the author’s theorizing of diversity in the cultural meanings of infancy and infant death. Many of the works listed here contain extensive bibliographies, but thus far there are no published bibliographies (other than this article) specifically on the archaeology of children or childhood.

  • Baxter, Jane Eva. The Archaeology of Childhood: Children, Gender and Material Culture. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Methodologically organized synthesis of archaeological literature about the Mesolithic through historical periods, contextualized in cultural anthropology. Focuses on children’s social agency in socialization and creating “the child’s world” through spatial distributions of artifacts on sites. Includes definitions, development of the field, theoretical approaches, material culture, spatial patterns, adult representations of children, and mortuary and skeletal analyses. The conclusion argues that children need to be researched as social actors at all sites.

    Find this resource:

  • Baxter, Jane Eva. “The Archaeology of Childhood.” Annual Review of Anthropology 37 (2008): 159–175.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.anthro.37.081407.085129Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Short, selective summary of the literature, suitable for upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses. Critiques Western universalizing assumptions that childhood is biological, and argues childhood is culturally constructed. Critiques the marginalization of children in archaeology. Combines archaeological and ethnoarchaeological studies by research topic, including rites of passage, economic and social roles, sacrifice rituals, spatial behaviors, socialization, and a focus on children’s identities.

    Find this resource:

  • Crawford, Sally E. E., and Gillian B. Shepherd, eds. Children, Childhood and Society. IAA Interdisciplinary Series: Studies in Archaeology, History, Literature and Art 1. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1009562531188Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Following a theoretical introduction, chapters include the liminality of ancient Near Eastern children’s footprints in clay; children in Early Bronze Age funerary ritual; status of children selected for burial in Archaic western Greece; a child’s cache at Assiros Toumba, Macedonia; Roman childhood and sexual attitudes toward slave children; transitions to adulthood in early Icelandic society; and questions about the status of children in early Anglo-Saxon multiple-burial ritual.

    Find this resource:

  • Kamp, Kathryn A. “Where Have All the Children Gone? The Archaeology of Childhood.” Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 8.1 (2001): 1–34.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1009562531188Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critique of the invisibility of children in archaeology, due to projections of Western conceptions of childhood as a time of play and learning in the home with mothers. Covers changing historical constructions of childhood, archaeological identifications of childhood stages and initiation rites, health and nutrition, childrearing practices, enculturation and learning, work, play, the meaning of childhood, and the child’s viewpoint. Focuses on prehistoric archaeology.

    Find this resource:

  • Lally, Mike, and Alison Moore, eds. (Re)thinking the Little Ancestor: New Perspectives on the Archaeology of Infancy and Childhood. British Archaeological Reports International Series 2271. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapters address categorizing children; the potential of the osteology of infancy and childhood; analyses of child burials of Etruscans, prehistoric Austrians, and bog bodies; Roman Egypt; the Bronze Age; and Anglo-Saxon, medieval, and post-medieval Britons, as well as childhood identity and community in Neolithic England, the divine power of childhood in ancient Mesoamerica, and ideology and ancient Pueblo children in the southwestern United States.

    Find this resource:

  • Romanowicz, Paulina, ed. Child and Childhood in the Light of Archaeology: Studies. Wrocław, Poland: Wydawnictwo Chronicon, 2013.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapters include an overview of the subfield of the archaeology of childhood; experimental archaeology of Paleolithic children’s flintknapping; perceptions of children in the Villanovan culture of Tuscany (Italy), in Iron Age Willenberg culture (Prussia), and in Mid– to Late Iron Age Latvia; a comparison of gender identities in child burials in complex societies; toys as indicators of social status; and toys in medieval Silesia and late medieval towns.

    Find this resource:

  • Roveland, Blythe E. “Archaeological Approaches to the Study of Prehistoric Children: Past Trends and Future Directions.” In Children and Anthropology: Perspectives for the 21st Century. Edited by Helen B. Schwartzman, 39–56. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, 2001.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781444390537.ch1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A survey of articles and reports in the journal American Antiquity from 1935 to 1999 found that research on prehistoric children has been underrepresented and unproblematized. A few articles compared children’s and adults’ grave goods or looked at skeletal evidence of malnutrition, disease, and cannibalization of children. Others discussed whether miniature artifacts and depictions of children were toys or symbolic ritual materials. Roveland argues that researching children is important because they made up at least 50 percent of prehistoric societies.

    Find this resource:

  • Scott, Eleanor. The Archaeology of Infancy and Infant Death. British Archaeological Reports International Series 819. Oxford: Archaeopress, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Includes feminist critiques of the Western devaluation of infancy as unworthy of research, and addresses increasing the archaeological visibility of women and children, the importance of infancy and parenting in early evolution, cultural constructions of childbirth from the prehistoric agricultural “baby boom” to medieval practices, and archaeological detection of infanticide or child sacrifice. Summarizes research on infant burials from Neanderthal to medieval periods.

    Find this resource:

  • Wileman, Julie. Hide and Seek: The Archaeology of Childhood. Stroud, UK: Tempus, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Introductory critique of neglect of children, and discussion of difficulties of archaeological evidence. Worldwide overview ranges from Neanderthal burials through modern diversity in children’s experiences. More on Old World than New World. Organized by topics: childbirth, upbringing practices, toys, domestic spaces, education, work, burial practices, children as warriors, deities, divineness and sacrifice, abuse, slavery, prostitution, massacres in war, and rites of passage through age grades.

    Find this resource:

The Bioarchaeology of Children and Childhood

Bioarchaeological overviews address methodological issues in analyses of skeletal remains, connecting these to aspects of the cultural construction of childhood, usually identified from grave goods marking cultural stages of childhood. Agarwal and Glencross 2011 provides a short history of the development of social bioarchaeology. Biocultural models developed in the 1980s to interpret skeletal indicators of health and disease in populations as adaptations to large-scale cultural changes in areas such as subsistence (often the adoption of agriculture), colonization, or other political or economic changes. Since the 1990s, technological advances have furthered analyses of growth, health, lifestyle, diet, migration, and heterogeneity in susceptibility to illnesses. In the 21st century, social bioarchaeology is developing to gain insights into lived experiences and to contribute to our understanding of social processes and life in the past. Integrated biological, behavioral, ecological, and social research is increasingly conducted with archaeological, historical, and ethnographic data to contextualize skeletal remains. Perry 2005 discusses preservation and sampling biases in cemetery samples of skeletal remains, followed by discussion of biological indicators of age and culturally defined cultural stages, such as pregnancy of malnourished mothers and weaning, both of which often leave markers of stress in the bones and teeth of agricultural groups. Perry points out that physical markers of puberty are related to cultural-environmental factors such as malnutrition. Bone effects of childhood and adolescent victims of warfare, abuse, sacrifice, infanticide, and cannibalism are also discussed. A short case study is presented of childhood in the Byzantine Near East, where marriage in early adolescence is correlated with markers of skeletal stress. This article could be used to introduce the bioarchaeology of childhood in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses. Lewis 2007 comprehensively covers the bioarchaeology of children in the theoretical context of the marginalization of research on children, and it also presents a short history of historical and archaeological research on childhood. Biological ages are contrasted with the diversity in cultural constructions of childhood, and with problems in identifying toys. Methodological issues in bioarchaeology are covered, including preservation, identification, and sampling biases, followed by methods of aging and sexing skeletal remains. Osteological evidence is discussed for obstetric deaths, birth trauma, infant and child mortality, infanticide, cultural weaning practices, malnutrition, illness, and abuse. Humphrey 2000 provides a short, nontechnical introduction to bioarchaeology that is suitable for high school and college courses on the archaeology of childhood. Thompson, et al. 2014 relates health status to economic activities and social identities, with chapters on research at sites across Europe and the Americas, showing cross-cultural similarities as well as differences in children’s experiences.

  • Agarwal, Sabrina C., and Bonnie A. Glencross. “Building a Social Bioarchaeology.” In Social Bioarchaeology. Edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 1–13. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology 14. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781444390537.ch1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The introduction to this edited volume provides a short history of the development of the field, beginning with 1980s biocultural models relating population differences in growth and health and covering the adoption of agriculture and colonization; new technologies of the 1990s that furthered analyses of diet, migration, and heterogeneity in frailty; and 21st-century social bioarchaeology that aims to understand lived experiences and social processes through interdisciplinary research. Also summarizes book chapters in the volume.

    Find this resource:

  • Gowland, Rebecca L., and Andrew T. Chamberlain. “A Bayesian Approach to Ageing Perinatal Skeletal Material from Archaeological Sites: Implications for the Evidence of Infanticide in Roman-Britain.” Journal of Archaeological Science 29.6 (2002): 677–685.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that previous traditional regression methods used by Simon Mays inaccurately led to the conclusion that the evidence suggested infanticide. Instead, Bayesian analysis of similar data suggested that the distribution of ages at death was similar to a natural mortality profile.

    Find this resource:

  • Humphrey, Louise. “Interpretation of the Growth of Past Populations.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 193–205. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Short introduction to methods for researching skeletal growth and health, sexing and aging of skeletons, temporal comparisons, and comparisons among sites. Suitable overview for undergraduate courses without practice (not detailed enough for lab exercises).

    Find this resource:

  • Lewis, Mary E. The Bioarchaeology of Children: Perspectives from Biological and Forensic Anthropology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comprehensive coverage of issues, including critiques of marginalization of children in research, and a short history of historical and archaeological research on childhood. Contrasts biological ages and diversity in cultural constructions of childhood, and problems in identifying toys. Covers issues of infant bone preservation, obstetric deaths, skeletal aging and sexing, growth evidence, infant and child mortality, infanticide, cultural weaning practices, and osteological evidence of malnutrition, pathology, and trauma from birth and abuse.

    Find this resource:

  • Perry, Megan A. “Redefining Childhood through Bioarchaeology: Toward an Archaeological and Biological Understanding of Children in Antiquity.” In Special Issue: Children in Action: Perspectives on the Archaeology of Childhoods. Edited by Jane Eva Baxter. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 15.1 (2005): 89–115.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A short, comprehensive overview of the theoretical and methodological issues in the bioarchaeology of children, including issues of skeletal aging and evidence of malnutrition and diseases, and the separation of biological stages of development from culturally constructed age grades distinguished by different types of grave goods.

    Find this resource:

  • Thompson, Jennifer L., Marta P. Alfonso-Durruty, and John J. Crandall, eds. Tracing Childhood: Bioarchaeological Investigations of Early Lives in Antiquity. Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Human Past. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Beyond population data–driven topics such as mortality rates and growth and morbidity patterns, this volume explores new questions about aspects of children’s lives, including economic activities, social identities, and health status compared to their historical or prehistoric communities. Comparative research at sites across Europe and the Americas found that children have both unique experiences and cross-culturally similar daily challenges.

    Find this resource:

Textbooks

While there are no books on this subject specifically labeled as textbooks, three books that provide overviews of cultural and biological aspects of the field could be used as textbooks: Baxter 2005 and Wileman 2005 (both also cited under General Overviews) and Lewis 2007 (cited under the Bioarchaeology of Children and Childhood). Lewis 2007 offers the most comprehensive review of the literature in bioarchaeology, addressing issues of preservation, recovery, and samples size. It connects cultural childrearing and nutritional practices to biological markers they leave on skeletal remains, and contextualizes bioarchaeology within a short history of cultural and biological approaches to the archaeology of childhood. Wileman 2005 was inspired by the excellent participation in the author’s excavations in England by children in the Surrey Young Archaeologists Clubs. It is written at the high-school level and is limited to archaeology. This book could be used in courses from middle school through college. Baxter 2005, published from the author’s dissertation, could be used in upper-level or graduate college classes, and it provides more context for the development of the archaeology of childhood, including not only feminist archaeology but also nonfeminist archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, ethnography, and experimental archaeology that includes children, as well as research on children in cultural anthropology, including Margaret Mead’s call for an anthropology of childhood in the 1950s. Baxter 2005 provides a broader geographical range of examples of archaeology research on children and childhood, including historical archaeology to some extent, while Wileman 2005 emphasizes Europe and the Mediterranean but also provides an earlier temporal range extending to Neanderthals, with more-detailed summaries of research from these areas as well as the Americas. Wileman 2005 covers the widest range of topics, while Baxter 2005 focuses mainly on socialization, including children’s active participation and negotiation of socialization through play and work. Short sections address symbolic representations of children and the use of mortuary remains to identify social-status systems, age grades, childhood health, nutrition, and mortality. Jane Eva Baxter provides a much more comprehensive bibliography than does Wileman, who uses endnotes that include an error (chapter 4, note 25: Sillar 1974 is actually 1994). Wileman provides an index covering particular civilizations and specific topics. Baxter’s index is methodological, providing general topics but not geographical areas or civilizations.

  • Baxter, Jane Eva. The Archaeology of Childhood: Children, Gender and Material Culture. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Useful for undergraduate or graduate college courses concerned with socialization. Covers the Mesolithic to historical archaeology, contextualized in cultural anthropology. Focuses on children’s social agency in socialization and creating “the child’s world.” Includes definitions, development of the field, theoretical approaches, material culture, spatial patterns, adult representations of children, and mortuary and skeletal analyses. The conclusion argues that children need to be researched as social actors at all sites.

    Find this resource:

  • Wileman, Janet. Hide and Seek: The Archaeology of Childhood. Stroud, UK: Tempus, 2005.

    DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1330200309Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Worldwide overview of cultural aspects of the archaeology of childhood. Emphasizes the Old World but also provides detailed examples from the New World. Suitable for middle school, high school, and undergraduate higher education.

    Find this resource:

Professional Organizations

Only one professional organization substantially deals with research on the archaeology of children and childhood. The Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past (SSCIP) is an interdisciplinary organization that holds an annual conference to encourage research in the field through presentations on the subject.

Journals

There is only one journal focused on childhood that includes a significant number of articles on archaeology. Childhood in the Past: An International Journal is interdisciplinary but includes the most articles in archaeology, while also including articles analyzing art as well as documentary or literary sources.

Early Publications

Early studies often dealt with the identification of the presence of children from skeletons or miniature objects, or identifying social structure and childhood mortuary rituals from archaeological remains in children’s graves. For instance, social structure was analyzed at the Late Archaic Indian Knoll site in Kentucky by analyzing skeletons from burials to determine the population’s age mortality profile. The burial practices of adults sacrificing children were analyzed at the Wandelbury Iron Age Hill Fort in England (Hartley 1956: p. 15; see Child Sacrifice). An egalitarian society with achieved status is usually interpreted from the presence of grave goods only in adult burials, and Rothchild 1979 makes this interpretation although some artifacts were excavated from children’s burials at the Indian Knoll site in Kentucky. A hierarchical society with ascribed status was interpreted from exotic decorative items deposited in children’s graves by adult kin. However, Vinsrygg 1979 (pp. 31–32) reports a late Roman child’s burial in Norway included regular adult equipment, as well as toys. In reporting on excavations of two historical Arikara cemeteries in South Dakota, O’Shea 1981 interprets a temporal spread of gun parts as a shift from ritual to economic family ranking. In some early research the presence of children was inferred from miniature artifacts that were considered toys, often in grave goods. One of the earliest publications was an ethnoarchaeological study of toys made by a Navaho child (see Fewkes 1923, cited under Ethnoarchaeology of Children); Weber 1982 discusses the possibility that miniaturized artifacts in Viking site assemblages could be toys. In a Viking cemetery at the town of Birka, Sweden, Gräslund 1973 identifies children’s burials from toys. At historical domestic sites, children’s toys have been easily identified (see Historical Archaeology of Children and Childhood). But Cohn 1983 is an early example of reinterpreting military sites in the northeastern United States, where toys and dice were originally assumed to be used by adult soldiers. Cohn argues that the toys were used by children, on the basis of inaccurate numbers on a die and a wooden doll head carved by an adult from a bedpost. Excavations at the Late Archaic Indian Knoll site in Kentucky recovered one of the largest, best-preserved prehistoric skeletal samples from 880 burials, with 55,000 artifacts, resulting in several early publications. Rothchild 1979 was the first study to compare grave goods in children’s and adults’ burials, concluding that the mortuary evidence does not indicate ascribed status, a conclusion that has held despite error inherent in original field assessments (see Agarwal and Glencross 2011, p. 397, cited under the Bioarchaeology of Children and Childhood). Marquardt 1985 interprets the grave goods to conclude that women, children, and men all worked together in subsistence activities and ritual life, while a few adult male graves of traders were interpreted from their exotic grave goods. Johnston 1962 was the earliest study devoted to analyzing long-bone growth in infants and young children buried at the Indian Knoll site.

  • Cohn, Michael. “Evidence of Children at Revolutionary War Sites.” Northeast Historical Archaeology 12.1 (1983): 40–43.

    DOI: 10.2307/279105Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses excavated children’s toys at British military camps that were neglected or misinterpreted as used by soldiers. These toys include marbles, whizzers, whistles, and a die with incorrect numbers made from a bullet, probably used by boys, and earthenware sheep, doll parts and play tea sets used by girls, which have been excavated on many domestic sites. Some dolls’ heads were handcarved from a bedpost or chairpost.

    Find this resource:

  • Gräslund, Anne-Sofie “Barn i Birka.” Tor 15 (1973): 161–179.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This early publication focuses on child burials in the large Viking cemetery at the Swedish early medieval town of Birka and analyzes toys such as musical objects and noisemakers such as rattles.

    Find this resource:

  • Johnston, Francis E. “Growth of the Long Bones of Infants and Young Children at Indian Knoll.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 20.3 (1962): 249–254.

    DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1330200309Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the aging of children’s skeletons excavated from burials at the Late Archaic (5500–1500 BCE) shell midden site of Indian Knoll, Kentucky. An early study of growth processes in the long bones, permitting identification of ages of infants and young children, compared to the usual method of determining chronological age from the known sequence of tooth eruption.

    Find this resource:

  • Marquardt, William H. “Complexity and Scale in the Study of Fisher-Gatherer-Hunters: An Example from the Eastern United States.” In Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers: The Emergence of Cultural Complexity. Edited by T. Douglas Price and James A. Brown, 59–98. Orlando, FL: Academic Press, 1985.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Interprets technomic grave goods at the Kentucky site of Indian Knoll, a Late Archaic (5500–1500 BCE) shell midden, as evidence that women, children, and men worked together in subsistence activities and ritual life. Interprets exotic grave goods such as copper and marine shell as symbolic of individuals belonging to a group of traders-travelers.

    Find this resource:

  • O’Shea, John. “Social Configurations and the Archaeological Study of Mortuary Practices: A Case Study.” In The Archaeology of Death. Edited by Robert Chapman, Ian Kinnes, and Klavs Randsborg, 39–52. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Temporal interpretation of distribution of grave goods in two Arikara cemeteries along the Missouri River in South Dakota: the mid-18th-century Larson cemetery and the 19th-century Leavenworth cemetery. Notes a change over time in the deposition of gun parts in a few subadult graves, interpreted as symbolizing their social rank, to a less restricted distribution, interpreted as expressing family wealth. Critiqued in Sofaer Derevenski 2000, p. 6 (cited under Theory and Method) for not interpreting children as powerful.

    Find this resource:

  • Rothchild, Nan A. “Mortuary Behavior and Social Organization at Indian Knoll and Dickson Mounds.” American Antiquity 44.4 (1979): 658–675.

    DOI: 10.2307/279105Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The first research to analyze status and social organization at the Kentucky Late Archaic (5500–1500 BCE) shell midden of Indian Knoll from burials and grave goods. Concludes that the mortuary evidence does not support ascribed status. Multivariate analyses found age to weakly discriminate clusters of adults buried with technomic artifacts, while sex weakly discriminated clusters of adult males and children buried with multiple artifacts.

    Find this resource:

  • Vinsrygg, Synnøve. “Våre ‘eldste’ barn.” Ottar 115 (1979): 30–34.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Excavation of a late Roman Age burial of a two-year-old child from northern Norway found that most of the grave goods were similar to those in adult graves, including a bone comb, bronze brooches and needles, an iron knife, fragments of pottery, and bears’ claws. However, some could have been toys, including a spinning top, a carved bone fish, two figurines from whalebone, shells, and snails.

    Find this resource:

  • Weber, Birthe. “Leker eller-?” Viking 4 (1982): 81–92.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses the issues involved in the possibility of identifying toys among artifacts in an archaeological assemblage.

    Find this resource:

Theory and Method

Feminist theory has been extended to (1) critique Western conceptions of children as domestic, passive, and invisible in the past; (2) theorize and analyze the diversity of cultural constructions of childhood and children’s experiences in material economic and cultural production; and (3) theorize and analyze children as active social agents in socialization, innovation, and inter- and intragenerational transmission of materially embodied cultural practices and knowledge, creating cultural change. Cited by many as the founder of the archaeology of childhood, Grete Lillehammer was inspired by realizing partially made tool preforms could be produced by children. She earned a PhD developing relevant theory and methods, and she connected research on children to feminist research on women, first publishing in the journal KAN (Women in Archaeology in Norway) in 1986 (see Dommasnes 2008, p. xiv; Schwartzman 2005, p. 124). Lillehammer 1989 theorizes concepts of the “child’s world” created by children actively involved in intergenerational cultural transference through learning, play, and work. Lillehammer notes how research questions shape archaeological findings, and she advocates focusing on children’s lives and historical changes in social constructions of childhood. Lillehammer 2000 reconceptualizes the “child’s world” as the “world of children,” elaborating her previous theorizing concerning the diversity, fluidity, and complexity in children’s relationships that create change not considered in age-grade conceptions of childhood. Sofaer Derevenski 1994 (p. 9) critiques the projection of Western concepts of childhood onto the past by archaeologists, including in Lillehammer 1989, and extends feminist theorizing of diversity to address the neglect of children in archaeology. Sofaer Derevenski suggests a restructuring of the concepts of division of labor, production, cultural reproduction, and processes of change to include children’s contributions. She critiques ethnoarchaeological interpretations of children as factors randomizing the orderly adult archaeological record, similar to post-depositional disturbance. Sofaer Derevenski 2000 argues for a culturally contingent epistemology to differentiate Western discourse on the passivity of childhood from diversity in cultural constructions of childhood and children’s active material constructions of their individual experiences. Kamp 2005 theorizes children as active social agents constantly negotiating with adults and peers to create lived experiences that often differ from ideal or “normal” childhoods, but who are constrained by adult gendered discourse constructing childhood stages. Baxter 2005 (cited under General Overviews) summarizes theorizing about childhood (chapters 1–3, pp. 1–38). Schwartzman 2005 outlines the assumptions in childhood research and critiques the gap between theorizing children’s agency and their “oversocialization” in research. Dommasnes 2008 describes the feminist origins of archaeological research on childhood by Lillehammer and others and theorizes processes of children’s identity formation. Pawleta 2009 compares the similar reasons for the exclusion of gender and children from archaeological discourse and the similar developmental trajectories and issues in the archaeologies of childhood and gender. Myths and anachronistic statements shaping dominant archaeological interpretations and images of prehistoric childhood are discussed along with problems in the development of the field. Lillehammer 2010 reviews the development of the archaeology of childhood and proposes phenomenological theorizing of the diversity of children’s worlds, experiences, perspectives, and material culture in a long-term archaeological perspective.

  • Dommasnes, Liv Helga. “Introduction: The Past-Worlds of Children and for Children?” In Children, Identity and the Past. Edited by Liv Helga Dommasnes and Melanie Wrigglesworth, xi–xxx. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes feminist origins of the archaeology of childhood. Argues that children have identities as much as adults. In prehistory, identities were more often collective than individual. Dommasnes argues that identity formation begins in childhood through learning about the past of one’s culture. Since children were about half of the people in prehistoric societies, they were social agents performing important cultural roles earlier than modern children. Children produced many if not most prehistoric artifacts.

    Find this resource:

  • Kamp, Kathryn A. “Dominant Discourses; Lived Experiences: Studying the Archaeology of Children and Childhood. In Special Issue: Children in Action: Perspectives on the Archaeology of Childhoods. Edited by Jane Eva Baxter. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 15.1 (2005): 115–123.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques archaeological disinterest in children, who are considered as simply distorting adult site-formation processes. Discusses growth of the archaeology of childhood in conjunction with interest in gender, identity, agency, diversity in cultural constructions of childhood stages, and lived experiences of children that may differ from the cultural norm. Discusses gendered socialization by adults constraining children’s agency, adult play with toys, and historically changing discourses about the nature of children.

    Find this resource:

  • Lillehammer, Grete. “A Child Is Born: The Child’s World in an Archaeological Perspective.” Norwegian Archaeological Review 22.2 (1989): 89–105.

    DOI: 10.1080/00293652.1989.9965496Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Conceptualizes children as actively creating “the child’s world” of materially complex interactions between children and adults, other children, and the environment. Takes a critical approach to modern social models, questions the interpretation of all miniatures as toys, and advocates direct methods of analyzing burials and indirect analogical methods relating archaeological data to historical, medical, and ethnographic knowledge of children’s learning, health, play activities, work, and intergenerational cultural transference.

    Find this resource:

  • Lillehammer, Grete. “The World of Children.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 17–27. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques the marginal, peripheral, and optional position of children in archaeology, due to the Western view of children as passive appendages of women. Argues that new theory and methods are needed for research centered on the “world of children,” distinguished by spatiality, individuality, diversity, innovation, and cultural change actively created by children in fluid, complex interactions with adults, other children, and the environment. Contrasted to constructions of childhood in homogenous temporal age grades.

    Find this resource:

  • Lillehammer, Grete. “Archaeology of Children.” Complutum 21.2 (2010): 15–45.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Overview of the development of this new subfield and theoretical and methodological approaches to the concepts of childhood and children. Proposes a child-centered phenomenological theorizing of the worlds of children and children’s worlds and material culture from the child’s perspective. Children are active social agents contributing to past societies and their archaeological records. Nature-culture relationships, spatiality, diversity of children, and theorizing the archaeology of children are explained within a long-term perspective.

    Find this resource:

  • Pawleta, Michał. “An Archaeology of Childhood.” Sprawozdania Archeologiczne 61 (2009): 9–38.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Compares the similar reasons for the long history of exclusion of gender and children from archaeological discourse, and the similar developmental trajectories and issues in the archaeologies of childhood and gender. Reasons for marginalization of children and childhood in archaeology include myths and anachronistic statements that shape dominant archaeological interpretations and images of prehistoric childhood. The heuristic potential of the concepts of child and childhood is discussed.

    Find this resource:

  • Schwartzman, Helen B. “Materializing Children: Challenges for the Archaeology of Childhood.” In Special Issue: Children in Action: Perspectives on the Archaeology of Childhoods. Edited by Jane Eva Baxter. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 15.1 (2005): 123–131.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Summarizes selected publications, predominantly in the same publication. Outlines major assumptions involved in archaeological research on children, including that children are active, socialization as a negotiation, relating the local and global, interdisciplinary research, and awareness of Western and personal biases. Criticizes disparities between theoretical statements about the importance of children and childhood research that tends to oversocialize children’s behaviors as simple imitation and preparation for adult life.

    Find this resource:

  • Sofaer Derevenski, Joanna. “Where Are the Children? Accessing Children in the Past.” Archaeological Review from Cambridge 13.2 (1994): 7–20.

    DOI: 10.1525/tran.1998.7.1.53Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques the projection into the past of Western conceptions of childhood, previous descriptive publications about children, the assumption that miniature artifacts are toys, and considering children as just randomizing important adult archaeological records. Advocates analyzing objects and children both as actively constructing social structures and values. Suggests analyzing children’s active contributions to production, cultural reproduction, and change, which requires restructuring these concepts and that of the gendered division of labor.

    Find this resource:

  • Sofaer Derevenski, Joanna. “Material Culture Shock: Confronting Expectations in the Material Culture of Children.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 3–17. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781444390537Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues for culturally contingent epistemology to differentiate Western discourse on children’s passivity, and reductionist physical or culturally constructed age categories, from children’s active material constructions of their diverse individual experiences.

    Find this resource:

Theorizing Gendering Childhood and Children

These publications focus on theorizing how childhood stages are materially gendered and how children gender material culture, as well as further analyzing the impact of androcentric biases in making children invisible in archaeology. Strong theorizing in these areas was undertaken in some chapters of the edited volume Invisible People and Processes (Baker 1997, Chamberlain 1997, Scott 1997, Sofaer Derevenski 1997), which focuses on gender and includes a section on children and childhood. The volume combines two 1993 conference sessions: Jenny Moore’s Neolithic Studies Group day meeting on “Women and Children in the Neolithic,” and Eleanor Scott’s session on “Ideologies of Gender” at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference in Durham, United Kingdom. Gordon Barclay of the Neolithic Studies Group suggested the inclusion of children in the volume, and many other colleagues contributed to the development of the collaborative publication. Scott 1997 is the volume introduction, which compares the passive view of children and their invisibility in archaeology with the recognition of women’s social agency and the importance of gender constructions and processes resulting from feminist archaeology. The section of the volume on children and childhood includes three theoretical chapters. Baker 1997 explains how children disappear either in the feminine or masculine categories in the asymmetrical gender dichotomy. Sofaer Derevenski 1997 discusses the importance of gendering children to gender archaeology. Sofaer Derevenski explores reasons for the neglect of children, and she summarizes how children progress from learning to distinguish appropriate male versus female material culture, but also thinking gender is flexibly assigned, to thinking gender is temporally stable by age three to four and constant across situations by age five. Chamberlain 1997 discusses how archaeologists are influenced to construct the past to conform to deeply embedded cognitive and social models of gender and age in asymmetrical dichotomies that privilege adult men. Chamberlain is often quoted for stating “children contribute to the archaeological record whether or not we are competent to recognize them” [sic] (Chamberlain 1997, p. 249). He also pointed out that child mortality of at least 50 percent in prehistoric societies implies that at least half the individuals in these societies were children under the age of eighteen.

  • Baker, Mary. “Invisibility as a Symptom of Gender Categories in Archaeology.” In Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood into European Archaeology. Edited by Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott, 183–192. London: Leicester University Press, 1997.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781444390537Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Gender-neutral texts universalize maleness and assume active-powerful, cultural-public men are there, in binary opposition to a lack of maleness assigned to women, children, the elderly, and the sick, who are considered passive-powerless and natural-domestic in the dichotomy constructed between masculine and feminine. Children become invisible by being grouped (usually) with women, or with men when doing “male work.” Men are assumed to be present, while the presence of women and children must be proved with evidence such as toys and jewelry.

    Find this resource:

  • Chamberlain, Andrew T. “Commentary: Missing Stages of Life—towards the Perception of Children in Archaeology.” In Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood into European Archaeology. Edited by Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott, 248–250. London: Leicester University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Academics have the authority to privilege certain classes of evidence and to make others insignificant or invisible, whether consciously or due to deep cognitive and social structures, including Western asymmetrical gender and age dichotomies. According to Chamberlain, “children contribute to the archaeological record whether or not we are competent to recognize them” [sic]. The approximately 50 percent childhood mortality in prehistoric societies implies that approximately 50 percent of the people in these societies were children under eighteen years of age.

    Find this resource:

  • Scott, Eleanor. “Introduction: On the Incompleteness of Archaeological Narratives.” In Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood into European Archaeology. Edited by Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott, 1–15. London: Leicester University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Connects the neglect of women and children in archaeology to androcentric biases. Discusses age groups, gender, rank/class, and race as near-universal, though highly variable, socially constructed structuring principles involving not only intersecting categories but processes. Scott contrasts theorizing about women with a lack of theorizing about children’s agency, identities, status, work, and cultures that change intra- and intergenerational cultural preferences. She notes the lack of evidence for an assumed widespread preferential female infanticide.

    Find this resource:

  • Sofaer Derevenski, Joanna. “Engendering Children, Engendering Archaeology.” In Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood into European Archaeology. Edited by Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott, 192–203. London: Leicester University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses reasons for the neglect of children in archaeology, including the surprising failure to extend the project of finding women to finding children, the lack of archaeological evidence, and the projection into the past of Western conceptions about childhood. Critiques the concept of socialization for association with Freudian suppression. Discusses the importance of material culture in children’s learning of gender stability at age three to four, and gender constancy around age five, followed by increasing flexibility in recognizing gender identities.

    Find this resource:

Methods

Methods are suggested in a few theoretical publications, particularly Lillehammer 1989 (cited under Theory and Method) and Baxter 2005 (pp. 57–80, cited under General Overviews), the latter of which offers a case study of spatial modeling and analysis of the meaning of distributions of remains of children’s activities at sites. Theory and method are often briefly included in case studies, which usually focus on results. See Bioarchaeology: Children’s Development and Health for publications on methods for researching children’s skeletal remains. Bioarchaeological methods are different from methods for researching cultural aspects of childhood. Hutson 2006 discusses changes needed in theoretical assumptions in order to recognize and analyze distributions of children’s cultural-activity patterns that are often overlooked as accidental and insignificant. This article shows how making the assumption that children actively created innovative play worlds that shaped the archaeological record can result in significantly different interpretations concerning how children’s actions affect distributions of artifacts on sites.

  • Hutson, Scott R. “Children Not at Chuncucmil: A Relational Approach to Young Subjects.” In The Social Experience of Childhood in Ancient Mesoamerica. Edited by Traci Ardren and Scott R. Hutson, 103–133. Mesoamerican Worlds. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques the view of children as passive recipients of socialization by adults and views children as actively creating their own innovative play worlds, hypothesized from broken shells left in the center of abandoned houses, in contrast to adult sweeping of remains into building corners. Although house lot walls constrained small children, and older children had work duties, playing in abandoned houses is argued on the basis of ethnographic data in Britain and the United States.

    Find this resource:

Bioarchaeology: Children’s Development and Health

The most frequent bioarchaeological analyses of children’s skeletal remains are studies of biological growth and development, such as differences among ancient hominids or the skeletal effects of malnutrition, often due to adoption of agriculture, and weaning practices. Biocultural models developed in the 1980s. Skeletal pathologies have been identified that are caused by some illnesses or trauma from birth, child abuse, or sacrifice (see Infancy and Child Sacrifice). Age differences in mortality sometimes have been related to cultural practices. Bioarchaeology not only includes natural skeletal life-cycle changes but also considers cultural practices that produce osteological effects visible in skeletal remains. The development of social bioarchaeology since the late 20th century considers effects of cultural constructions of childhood. Halcrow and Tayles 2011 outlines the rise of archaeology of childhood from 1970s feminism, discusses theoretical and methodological issues in the development of bioarchaeology of subadults since the 1960s, and advocates new theoretical approaches for understanding body and skeletal changes as hybrid products of the body’s interactions with its social, cultural, and natural milieu. Saunders and Barrans 1999 reviews potentials and problems in analyzing infant skeletal samples, defined as deaths within the first year of life. Manifold 2010 investigates the issue of underrepresentation of nonadult skeletal remains due to lack of preservation, recovery, and ancient cultural beliefs at five archaeological sites in different regions of Great Britain. Nelson and Thompson 1999 compares growth in two juvenile Neanderthal skeletons to apes and modern humans. Waterman and Thomas 2011 compares the percentage of children and adolescents from the initial development of collective burials in megalithic tombs and caves (c. 5000 BCE), to Late Neolithic (3500–2500 BCE) tombs in southwestern Iberia. Sobolik 2002 compares 7,300 excavated skeletal remains from several Pueblo sites in the US Southwest dating between 1 CE and the Protohistoric, finding that the adoption of maize agriculture in the unstable environment of Pueblo I times resulted in increased infant mortality, malnutrition, and illnesses. Littleton 2011 analyzes the environmental and sociocultural risks of childhood death from multiple indicators of skeletal stress in a sample of burials in Hellenistic Bahrain. Littleton discusses the challenges of tackling the issue of individual heterogeneity in health and disease, finding that local ecology could place children at risk or protect them. Blakey 1998 shows through analysis of skeletons from the New York African Burial Ground that slave children in the 17th and 18th centuries suffered from malnutrition, diseases, growth retardation of about two years, and premature closing of skull sutures in some cases, which all resulted in high mortality.

  • Blakey, Michael L. “The New York African Burial Ground Project: An Examination of Enslaved Lives, a Construction of Ancestral Ties.” Transforming Anthropology 7.1 (1998): 53–58.

    DOI: 10.1525/tran.1998.7.1.53Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Children’s malnutrition produced enamel hypoplasia lines close to the tops of the teeth, and Harris lines in long bones. Children had high mortality, often from severe anemia due to malnutrition, sickle-cell disease, or other conditions. Childhood malnutrition or disease also resulted in growth retardation of about two years, and some skulls had fused sutures, preventing normal skull or brain growth. Half the population had yaws, syphilis, or infectious meningitis.

    Find this resource:

  • Halcrow, Sian E., and Nancy Tayles. “The Bioarchaeological Investigation of Children and Childhood.” In Social Bioarchaeology. Edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 333–361. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology 14. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781444390537Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Outlines the rise of archaeology of childhood from 1970s feminism, and the development of bioarchaeology of subadults in the 1960s. Discusses skeletal measures of health and disease, sample bias, social theory for identifying social age as distinct from biological age, and issues of integrating them. Advocates new theoretical approaches for understanding the body and skeletal changes as hybrid products of the body’s interactions with its social, cultural, and natural milieu.

    Find this resource:

  • Littleton, Judith. “Moving from the Canary in the Coalmine: Modeling Childhood in Bahrain.” In Social Bioarchaeology. Edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 361–390. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology 14. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781444390537Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive view of growing up in Hellenistic Bahrain, from analyses of multiple indicators of skeletal stress due to environmental and sociocultural influences on the risk of childhood death. Analyzes periods of higher risk of childhood death at the local level and indicates challenges of tackling the issue of individual heterogeneity in health and disease. Littleton found that local ecology could place children at risk or protect them.

    Find this resource:

  • Manifold, Bernadette M. “The Representation of Non-adult Skeletal Elements Recovered from British Archaeological Sites.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 3.1 (2010): 43–62.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Investigation of the issue of underrepresentation of nonadult skeletal remains at archaeological sites due to lack of preservation, recovery, and ancient cultural beliefs. Analysis of nonadult bones from five sites in different regions of the United Kingdom. Comparison of location and age found a pattern of very good preservation of skull and long bones, while facial, hand, and foot bones were less represented in the archaeological remains.

    Find this resource:

  • Nelson, Andrew J., and Jennifer L. Thompson. “Growth and Development in Neandertals and Other Fossil Hominids: Implications for the Evolution of Hominid Ontogeny.” In Human Growth in the Past: Studies from Bones and Teeth. Edited by Robert D. Hoppa and Charles M. Fitzgerald, 88–111. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes two juvenile Neanderthal skeletons (Teshik-Tash 1 and Le Moustier 1) to assess if they experienced an extended period of slow childhood growth and a rapid adolescent growth spurt. Compared with other cold-adapted populations, their dental ages exceed their proportional estimated height ages, indicating they did not follow an apelike pattern of growth and development, or a modern human pattern.

    Find this resource:

  • Saunders, Shelley R., and Lisa Barrans. “What Can Be Done about the Infant Category in Skeletal Samples?” In Human Growth in the Past: Studies from Bones and Teeth. Edited by Robert D. Hoppa and Charles M. Fitzgerald, 183–210. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Review of potentials and problems in analyzing infant skeletal samples, defined as deaths within the first year of life. Addresses issues in determination of sex, variation in mortality, identification of feeding practices, dietary reconstruction, causes of death, and seasonality in mortality.

    Find this resource:

  • Sobolik, Kristin D. “Children’s Health in the Prehistoric Southwest.” In Children in the Prehistoric Puebloan Southwest. Edited by Kathryn A. Kamp, 125–152. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Multisite comparative analysis of 7,300 excavated skeletal remains from 1 CE to the Protohistoric. The adoption of maize agriculture in the unstable environment of Pueblo I times resulted in increased infant mortality, evidence of child malnutrition in enamel hypoplasias and long-bone Harris lines, porotic hyperostosis caused by dietary iron-deficiency anemia, periosteal bone infections from increased diseases such as tuberculosis, and mastoiditis from ear infection.

    Find this resource:

  • Waterman, Anna J., and Jonathan T. Thomas. “When the Bough Breaks: Childhood Mortality and Burial Practice in Late Neolithic Atlantic Europe.” Oxford Journal of Archaeology 30.2 (2011): 165–183.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0092.2011.00363.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Around 5000 BCE, the development of megalithic tombs and caves for collective burial of the dead included a significant percentage of children and adolescents, compared with Late Neolithic (3500–2500 BCE) tombs in southwestern Iberia. Waterman and Thomas argue that reconsidering the impact of childhood mortality on burial and grave visitation practices will provide phenomenological information allowing for a “more robust, multi-vocal interpretive approach.”

    Find this resource:

Bioarchaeological Methods

Methodological issues in the bioarchaeology of children include difficulties in preservation, recovery, sampling, identification, and aging and sexing skeletons. Saunders 1992 reviews archaeological research on infant and child mortality, mortuary practices, processes of growth and development, possible methods for determining sex from immature bones, improvements in methods for estimating age at death, and methods of evaluating health status. It stresses the need to better understand the nature of mortality bias. King and Ulijaszek 1999 provides an overview of bioarchaeological studies of skeletal growth, and it suggests a reconsideration of some interpretations by comparing skeletal growth profiles of archaeological groups and modern populations to provide information on the age and extent of growth faltering. In contrast, Konigsberg, et al. 1997 notes that the “maximum likelihood method” for age estimation provides better age estimates than traditional methods of comparing archaeological and modern population samples. Konigsberg and Holman 1999 offers to correct methodological biases that have produced many observed differences in skeletal growth profiles, using a technique that accounts for uncertainty in age estimates to produce relatively unbiased estimates of growth from larger skeletal samples of prehistoric populations. Gowland and Chamberlain 2002 uses a Bayesian analysis to reveal a normal population growth profile, indicating inaccuracies in traditional regression methods that led Simon Mays to an incorrect interpretation of infanticide. Goodman and Song 1999 recommends methods to correct or minimize several sources of variation in estimating the age of formation of linear enamel hypoplasias on teeth. Simpson 1999 advocates methodological modifications to improve the analysis of two types of tooth defect and the accuracy of age estimates, on the basis of analysis of a large sample of Native American mandibular canines from 1–1704 CE. The frequency of microdefects is related to changes in subsistence.

  • Goodman, Alan H., and Rhan-Ju Song. “Sources of Variation in Estimated Ages at Formation of Linear Enamel Hypoplasias.” In Human Growth in the Past: Studies from Bones and Teeth. Edited by Robert D. Hoppa and Charles M. Fitzgerald, 210–241. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A brief historical survey of studies using linear enamel hypoplasias (LEH), and discussion of issues of accuracy in methods used to estimate their age of formation. After assessing the impact of several possible sources of variation between estimated and true ages of formation of LEH, a number of important recommendations are made regarding methods to correct or minimize variations in estimating age of formation of LEH.

    Find this resource:

  • Gowland, Rebecca, and Andrew T. Chamberlain. “A Bayesian Approach to Aging Perinatal Skeletal Material from Archaeological Sites: Implications for the Evidence of Infanticide in Roman Britain.” Journal of Archaeological Science 29.6 (2002): 677–685.

    DOI: 10.1006/jasc.2001.0776Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that previous traditional regression methods used by Mays inaccurately led to the conclusion that the evidence suggested infanticide. Instead, Bayesian analysis of similar data suggests that the distribution of ages at death was similar to a natural mortality profile.

    Find this resource:

  • King, Sarah E., and Stanley J. Ulijaszek. “Invisible Insults during Growth and Development: Contemporary Theories and Past Populations.” In Human Growth in the Past: Studies from Bones and Teeth. Edited by Robert D. Hoppa and Charles M. Fitzgerald, 161–183. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides an overview of bioarchaeological studies of skeletal growth and suggests reconsideration of some interpretations. Despite some problems inherent to archaeological material, comparisons of skeletal growth profiles between different archaeological groups and/or modern populations can provide information on the age and extent of growth faltering.

    Find this resource:

  • Konigsberg, Lyle W., Susan R. Frankenberg, and Renee B. Walker. “Regress What on What? Paleodemographic Age Estimation as a Calibration Problem.” In Integrating Archaeological Demography: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Prehistoric Population. Edited by Richard R. Paine, 64–89. Center for Archaeological Investigations Occasional Paper 24. Carbondale: Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comparison shows that using a modern reference sample with known ages at death to calibrate a method for determining ages at death in archaeological material, involving regression of age on an indicator, produces biased estimates for most paleodemographic samples. Regression of indicator on age, followed by solving for age, leads to unbiased but inefficient estimates. The maximum likelihood method for age estimation follows the spirit of classical calibration while providing more-efficient estimates.

    Find this resource:

  • Konigsberg, Lyle, and Darryl Holman. “Estimation of Age at Death from Dental Emergence and Implications for Studies of Prehistoric Somatic Growth.” In Human Growth in the Past: Studies from Bones and Teeth. Edited by Robert D. Hoppa and Charles M. Fitzgerald, 264–290. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that most studies of growth in the past do not adequately address the error in age estimation, such that many observed differences in skeletal growth profiles are probably methodological biases. A technique that accounts for the uncertainty in age estimates is presented, with the possibility of producing relatively unbiased estimates of growth from larger skeletal samples of prehistoric populations.

    Find this resource:

  • Saunders, Shelley R. “Subadult Skeletons and Growth Related Studies.” In Skeletal Biology of Past Peoples: Research Methods. Edited by Shelley R. Saunders and M. Anne Katzenberg, 1–20. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews archaeological research on infant and child mortality, mortuary practices, processes of growth and development, possible methods for determining sex from immature bones, improvements in methods for estimating age at death, and methods of evaluating health status. Stresses the need to better understand the nature of mortality bias, and the degree to which subadult mortality samples are skeletally different than if they had survived to adulthood.

    Find this resource:

  • Simpson, Scott W. “Reconstructing Patterns of Growth Disruption from Enamel Microstructure.” In Human Growth in the Past: Studies from Bones and Teeth. Edited by Robert D. Hoppa and Charles M. Fitzgerald, 241–264. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines two types of structural defects in teeth: linear enamel hypoplasias and pathological striae (Wilson bands). Simpson advocates methodological modifications to improve the analysis both of types of defect and accurate age estimates, on the basis of analysis of a large sample of Native American mandibular canines from 1–1704 CE. The frequency of microdefects is related to changes in subsistence.

    Find this resource:

Life Course Paradigm

Examines the continuum of human life trajectories and transitions between stages of childhood and adulthood. The term “life course” is used instead of life cycle, which has been used in biological and cross-cultural studies. Infancy and childhood are important parts of individual life courses, from birth to death. The life course perspective in archaeology emerged from the archaeology of childhood life stages. Life course is a recent perspective in bioarchaeology that developed out of the long history of comparing subadult and adult skeletal remains. The life course perspective has enlarged the number of life stages to at least include the elderly as a separate group, and often also to distinguish infants from juveniles, and sometimes from an additional category of young children between infants and juveniles. Sofaer 2011 argues for the importance of considering culturally constructed age grades because the tripartite model in bioarchaeology overweights biological age and physical changes that can be inaccurate in defining categories of chronological age. Argarwal and Beauchesne 2011 advocates developmental systems theory and life course theory to combine social and biological aspects in the construction of human development, plasticity, and adaptation. Gilchrist 2004 argues for the term “life course” rather than life cycle and critiques the neglect of cultural aspects in aging and gendering skeletons. The author argues that childhood research developed from feminist research on mothering and that life course studies developed from third-wave feminism on diversity in transitions from childhood to adulthood. In a case study, Prowse 2011 analyzes a Roman Imperial skeletal sample from Isola Sacra, Italy, to relate differences in dental health to gender and age differences in diets that suggest tighter cultural controls throughout the life course on female bodies and behaviors than on males. Glencross 2011 analyzes Indian Knoll mortuary data to relate cultural context, social identity, and social agency to skeletal fracture risks and injury accumulation from adolescence through adulthood. Crandall, et al. 2013 takes a life course approach to analyze variability in grave goods in infant burials across the region of Postclassic/historical Mesoamerica.

  • Argarwal, Sabrina C., and Patrick Beauchesne. “It Is Not Carved in Bone: Development and Plasticity of the Aged Skeleton.” In Social Bioarchaeology. Edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 312–333. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology 14. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides overview of the history and limitations of the concepts of plasticity and adaptation in bioarchaeology. Explores alternative approaches to human morphology in development and plasticity, drawing on developmental systems theory (DST) and life course theory. Integration of biological and social theory suggests new directions in research on bone maintenance and aging. Calls for focus on ontogenetic processes and embodied lived experience in the construction of the healthy and aged skeleton.

    Find this resource:

  • Crandall, John J., Debra L. Martin, and Jennifer L. Thompson. “Illness, Identity, and the Mesoamerican Infant: A Regional Perspective.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 150.S56 (2013): 105.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A life course approach is used to analyze variability found by comparing infant burial practices across the region of Postclassic/historical Mesoamerica. Infants with bone lesions indicative of scurvy were buried with unusual grave goods, such as shrouds, pillows, and clay architecture. These special burial contexts suggest social effects of disease for different age groups, and cultural roles played by sick infants in society.

    Find this resource:

  • Gilchrist, Roberta. “Archaeology and the Life Course: A Time and Age for Gender.” In A Companion to Social Archaeology. Edited by Lynn Meskell and Robert W. Preucel, 142–160. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1080/00438243.1989.9980103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques neglect of cultural aspects of aging in skeletal aging and research on gender and the body. Notes archaeology of childhood is most developed, followed by archaeology of social identities that include age. Argues childhood research developed out of feminist research on mothering. Life course studies developed from studies of transitions from childhood to adulthood, third-wave feminism, and theorizing of the body. Argues for the term “life course” rather than life cycle.

    Find this resource:

  • Glencross, Bonnie A. “Skeletal Injury across the Life Course: Towards Understanding Social Agency.” In Social Bioarchaeology. Edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 390–410. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology 14. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Relates fracture risk frequencies at adolescence, at middle age, and among the elderly to gender and to individual behavior in social relations across the life course. Viewing skeletal fractures as accumulated pathology increases understanding of injury as a lifelong process. Argues skeletal injury in cultural context can make significant contributions to understanding social identity, cultural age, and social agency across the life course. Relates Indian Knoll mortuary data to cultural value systems.

    Find this resource:

  • Prowse, Tracy L. “Diet and Dental Health through the Life Course in Roman Italy.” In Social Bioarchaeology. Edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 410–438. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology 14. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Uses life course theory in analyzing diet and dental health in Roman Imperial (1st–3rd centuries CE) skeletal sample from Isola Sacra, Italy. Relates stable isotopes and dental pathology to literary and archaeological evidence of dietary food choices. Found gender and age differences in diets, suggesting tighter cultural control of female bodies and behaviors compared to those of males throughout the life course.

    Find this resource:

  • Sofaer, Joanna. “Towards a Social Bioarchaeology of Age.” In Social Bioarchaeology. Edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 285–312. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology 14. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues the tripartite model in bioarchaeology overweights biological age because it includes (1) physical aging of the body through human growth, maturity, and senescence, (2) chronological age, and (3) social age. Notes inaccuracies in using physical changes to define chronological ages and age categories due to problems of different methods and variability owing to malnutrition, disease, etc. Argues for the importance of considering culturally constructed age grades and sets.

    Find this resource:

Infancy

Infancy is usually identified as the period from birth to weaning, which may vary from eighteen months to two or three years. Some authors consider infancy as the period up to five years. Beausang 2000 expands Grete Lillehammer’s theory of childhood to incorporate concepts and practices of childbirth in the past, recognized from excavated birthing artifacts. Scott 1999 (see General Overviews) summarizes and builds on the author’s previous articles in the early 1990s, arguing that archaeological narratives are incomplete unless infants are fully included in constructions of the past. Eleanor Scott includes a feminist critique of the devaluation of infancy as unworthy of research due to the association of infants with women and the domestic sphere. She also argues for recognition of the effects on archaeological interpretation of powerful modern symbolic valuations of infancy in contradictory dichotomies, such as innocent/sinful, clean/unclean, passive/manipulative, helpless/powerful, nature/culture, and female/male. Scott addresses increasing the visibility of women and children in the past. She analyzes theory, ethnographies, and artistic representations, providing evidence of diversity in conceptualizations and valuations of infancy in the past, from Egyptian depictions of infant gods as miniature adults, to Roman cupids and pudgy infant gods, to medieval depictions of infants as miniature adults. Scott presents a research design analyzing the diversity of meanings of infant burials in ethnographies and symbolic cultural images of infants, especially in relation to women. She summarizes the research on infancy and parenting in early evolution, cultural constructions of childbirth from prehistoric agriculture through medieval practices, infant burials from Neanderthals to Anglo-Saxons, and issues in the detection of infanticide and child sacrifice among the Phoenicians, Inca, Moche, and Roman Britons. She critiques interpretations of infant burials as infanticide at Romano-British villas, and she offers an alternative interpretation of women’s power in burying newborns in symbolically important places within agricultural buildings, houses, and yards. Moore 2009 builds on Scott’s publications in interpreting symbolic meanings from neonate and infant burials in association with Romano-British domestic structures such as hearths, doorways, and hypocausts. Piper 2002 analyzes how cranial deformation in Pueblo I times on the US Colorado Plateau resulted from changes in the placement of cradleboards during the shift to agriculture and sedentism. Lally and Ardren 2009 compares the cultural constitution of liminal and objectified infant bodies in Iron Age southern England and the Classic-period Maya lowlands.

  • Beausang, Elisabeth. “Childbirth in Prehistory: An Introduction.” European Journal of Archaeology 3.1 (2000): 69–87.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Expands Lillehammer’s theory of childhood to incorporate concepts and practices of childbirth in the past, with the recognition of birthing artifacts in the archaeological record. Criticized for passive view of children in Wilkie 2000 (cited under Historical Archaeology of Children and Childhood), and use of the category “child” to construct the category “adult” (Sofaer Derevenski 2000, cited under Theory and Method).

    Find this resource:

  • Lally, Mike, and Traci Ardren. “Little Artefacts: Rethinking the Constitution of the Archaeological Infant.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 1.1 (2009): 62–77.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    While recognizing the importance of biology, the authors argue that bodies are also always culturally constituted. The treatment of liminal and objectified infant bodies is compared in Iron Age southern England and the Classic-period Maya lowlands. Draws on archaeology, anthropology, child development theory, and the social sciences.

    Find this resource:

  • Moore, Alison. “Hearth and Home: The Burial of Infants within Romano-British Domestic Contexts.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 2.1 (2009): 33–54.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines neonate and infant burial practices in association with specific features in domestic structures, including hearths, doorways, and hypocausts. Symbolic concepts embodied in the presence of an infant can be better understood through analysis of the material culture and immediate environment associated with the placement of infant burials. Argues for a critical approach to the archaeology of infants as social agents.

    Find this resource:

  • Piper, Claudette. “The Morphology of Prehispanic Cradleboards: Form Follows Function.” In Children in the Prehistoric Puebloan Southwest. Edited by Kathryn A. Kamp, 41–71. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002.

    DOI: 10.2307/971789Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Cradleboards and skulls from archaeological sites on the Colorado Plateau show how the adoption of agriculture and sedentism in Pueblo I times led to changes in childcare practices that produced cranial deformations. Earlier cradleboards were carried on mothers’ backs as they gathered, and did not deform skulls. Agriculture increased mothers’ workload in villages, resulting in placing babies in flatter positions in cradleboards without footrests, flattening the back of skulls.

    Find this resource:

Infanticide

Infanticide of females or males can be interpreted from evidence of different unequal adult sex ratios in a population. If more than about 50 percent of adult burials are male, it indicates preferential female infanticide. If more than 50 percent of adult burials are female, preferential male infanticide is indicated. Infanticide and child sacrifice are related because the sacrifice of infants is a form of infanticide. Infanticide is usually associated with low social status, while child sacrifice more often indicates that children are highly valued or even considered to be divine or close to divine. Scott 1999 includes chapters on infanticide and sacrifice that critique the widespread archaeological assumption of universal preferential female infanticide, and that address issues in identifying archaeological evidence of infanticide. Other chapters summarize evidence of preferential male infanticide at the Bronze Age cemetery near Belgrade, in Phoenician and some Greek and Roman texts, and in the Bible; lack of preference in Spartan, Moche, and Inca sacrifices; and preferential female infanticide in Egypt, Athens, Rome, India, China, and Viking Scandinavia. Aside from documents, populations with greater survival of one gender indicate preferential infanticide, neglect, or sacrifice of the other gender. Eleanor Scott summarizes her 1990 and 1991 articles critiquing the archaeological tendency to automatically interpret infant burials as infanticide by powerless women, and instead she interprets infant burials in Romano-British villas, yards, and agricultural buildings as an arena of women’s power. Scott 2001 critiques overgeneralizations that infanticide is universally female, with examples of civilizations that preferentially practiced male infanticide or did not select by gender. An early publication, Penn 1960, identifies ritual sacrifices from two decapitated infant burials out of four deposited in the corners of a Roman temple in England. One that was decapitated and one that was not were buried in two different time periods. At another temple, babies were ritually placed with horse skulls in pits where posts were placed in a straight line (possibly totem poles). Lee 1994 argues that Carthaginian public infanticide in a sacred ceremony that was memorialized with cremation graves and inscribed stone markers was more honorable than the private hidden infanticide in the Roman Empire and modern Western cultures. Alexandra Lee also discusses how private infanticide by Romans was ignored, even as they argued for war against the Carthaginians for their supposed murdering of children. Benson and Cook 2001 addresses ritual sacrifice in infants and children in ancient civilizations of Peru.

  • Benson, Elizabeth P., and Anita G. Cook, eds. Ritual Sacrifice in Ancient Peru. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapters cover the sacrifice of infants in a pit beneath tortured male captives who were sacrificed later at the Moche site of Huaca de la Luna; sacrifices of children with burials of leaders, such as the elaborate huaca burial of the Moche Lord of Sipan; and Inca sacrifices of children on sacred mountains.

    Find this resource:

  • Lee, Alexandra K. “Attitudes and Prejudices toward Infanticide: Carthage, Rome and Today.” Archaeological Review from Cambridge 13.2 (1994): 65–79.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Points to contradictions between modern and Roman warmongering against cultures for killing children, versus documented practices of modern disposal of babies in dumpsters and Roman fathers exposing unwanted babies. In contrast, the Carthaginian public sacred ceremonial sacrifice of babies (and sometimes older children or animals) to the gods Tanit and Ba’al were marked with inscribed monuments and cremations that differed from ordinary inhumation burials of children.

    Find this resource:

  • Penn, W. S. “Springhead: Temples III and IV.” Archaeologia Cantiaca 74 (1960): 113–140.

    DOI: 10.1080/00438240009696933Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Roman infant burials at Springhead, Kent, suggest sacrifices. Bodies of babies, cattle, and horse skulls were placed in pits dug to hold timber posts that were set in a free-standing line in the 2nd century CE. In Temple IV, a small cult shrine with a statue base in the center, four infant burials were found in the corners of the building—two decapitated, from two different time periods.

    Find this resource:

  • Scott, Eleanor. The Archaeology of Infancy and Infant Death. British Archaeological Reports International Series 819. Oxford: Archaeopress, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Includes chapters on infanticide and sacrifice that challenge the overgeneralization of universal female preference in infanticide, with evidence of male preferential infanticide/neglect at the Bronze Age cemetery in Mokrin, Serbia, and male infanticide documented by Phoenicians, in some Greek and Roman texts, and in the Bible. While the Spartans, Moche, and Inca sacrificed both genders equally, preferential female infanticide was practiced in Egypt, Athens, Rome, China, India, and Viking Scandinavia.

    Find this resource:

  • Scott, Eleanor. “Killing the Female? Archaeological Narratives of Infanticide.” In Gender and the Archaeology of Death. Edited by Bettina Arnold and Nancy L. Wicker, 1–23. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques cross-cultural overgeneralizations that infanticide is universally female, on the basis of data from India, China, and the Inuit, as well as one Roman quote. Evidence of preferential male infanticide or neglect comes from the Bronze Age Mokrin site, Athens, Phoenician Tophet cemeteries of child sacrifices, and biblical passages on state male infanticide. Economic systems determine preference for male or female infanticide; the Moche and Inca sacrificed children of both genders. Infanticide often involves cultural ideology.

    Find this resource:

Infant Feeding and Weaning

In the past, the age of weaning from breastfeeding varied from as old as five years to as young as eighteen months. In historical periods, elite women often used wet nurses for their infants, generally using slave or poor women who had recently given birth, resulting in increased child mortality. Cow’s milk and formulas (beginning in the 19th century) were sometimes substituted for breast milk, occasionally causing death. Cultural weaning practices and selections of solid foods often resulted in malnutrition and high mortality rates for infants after weaning. Jay 2009 provides an overview of the importance of understanding infant diets in the past through analyses of isotope ratios in teeth and comparison of dental and bone data to more precisely date weaning. Lillie 1997 provides evidence of dental-weaning stress in burials of two- to four-year-olds in a hunter-fisher-gatherer cemetery at the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in the Ukraine. Calculus indicates a high-protein diet, while no caries indicates the diet included few cereals, seeds, or roots. Hillman 1989 analyzes infant feces from late Paleolithic Wadi Kubbaniya in Upper Egypt, finding a broad range of pulped and mashed vegetable foods and sand ingested by crawling infants. Mays, et al. 2002 gives isotopic evidence that infants in an Iron Age cemetery at Wetwang, Yorkshire, England, were fed cow’s milk at an early age due to cultural factors, while most adult diets were rich in animal protein. Bourbou and Garvie-Lok 2009 analyzes stable nitrogen isotopes in skeletal populations to confirm that the weaning age of three, recommended by Byzantine physicians, was practiced in the later Roman Empire, in contrast to weaning by age two in some European medieval groups. Mays 2010 analyzes medieval skeletal data from Wharram Percy, England, and finds rapid growth during breastfeeding that faltered after weaning at about eighteen months. Poor female nutrition and a physically demanding lifestyle are suggested by permanent loss of bone mineral density in women due to breastfeeding. Goodman and Armelagos 1989 shows that weaning onto corn following the onset of intensive agriculture in Illinois around 950–1200 CE resulted in malnutrition, iron-deficiency anemia, and infections visible on bones and teeth.

  • Bourbou, Chryssi, and Sandra J. Garvie-Lok. “Breastfeeding and Weaning Patterns in Byzantine Times: Evidence from Human Remains and Written Sources.” In Becoming Byzantine: Children and Childhood in Byzantium. Edited by Arietta Papaconstantinou and Alice-Mary Talbot, 65–85. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Stable nitrogen isotopes in preserved skeletal populations of Greek Byzantium suggest weaning around the age of three, as recommended by ancient and early Byzantine physicians, and consistent with isotopic data for larger imperial and late Roman samples from Italy, Egypt, and Britain. In contrast, the data for some western European medieval groups suggest more-rapid weaning—by the age of two. Further testing is needed regarding these differences.

    Find this resource:

  • Goodman, Alan H., and George J. Armelagos. “Infant and Childhood Morbidity and Mortality Risks in Archaeological Populations.” World Archaeology 21.2 (1989): 225–243.

    DOI: 10.1080/00438243.1989.9980103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    From 950 to 1200 CE near Lewiston, Illinois, increasingly intensive agriculture and weaning onto corn at age two to four resulted in malnutrition, decreased long-bone growth, dental hypoplasias (80 percent), Harris lines, Wilson bands, and iron-deficiency anemia, which produced a fourfold increase in cranial porotic hyperostosis and an increase from 6 to 40 percent in infectious lesions. Malnutrition weakened resistance to infectious diseases. The health of farmers was far worse than foragers.

    Find this resource:

  • Hillman, G. C. “Late Paleolithic Plant Foods from Wadi Kubbaniya in Upper Egypt: Dietary Diversity, Infant Weaning and Seasonality in the Riverine Environment.” In Foraging and Farming. Edited by David R. Harris and Gordon C. Hillman, 207–237. London: Unwin Hyman, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that feces that included sand resulted from crawling infants picking up and ingesting it. Weaning evidence in feces included a broad range of pulped and mashed vegetable foods, made using grinding stones excavated at the site.

    Find this resource:

  • Jay, Mandy. “Breastfeeding and Weaning Behaviour in Archaeological Populations: Evidence from the Isotopic Analysis of Skeletal Materials.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 2.1 (2009): 163–178.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An overview of the importance of understanding infant diet in the past, and a summary of analyses of isotope ratios in teeth that are indicative of diet. Nitrogen isotopes are commonly used, but increasing evidence suggests other chemical elements, and comparison of dental and bone data can more precisely delineate weaning chronologies. The possibilities of this type of research are discussed in general, rather than providing detailed descriptions of techniques.

    Find this resource:

  • Lillie, M. C. “Women and Children in Prehistory: Resource Sharing and Social Stratification at the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in Ukraine.” In Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood into European Archaeology. Edited by Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott, 213–228. London: Leicester University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An analysis of the distribution of dental disease and artifacts in hunter-fisher-gatherer cemetery burials found enamel hypoplasias in 72 percent of two- to four-year-olds, suggesting weaning stress. No caries shows few dietary cereals, roots, and seeds, while calculus indicates a high-protein diet. Ascribed status was indicated by similar kinds of artifacts buried with children and adults, such as deer and Cyprinidae teeth, and beads.

    Find this resource:

  • Mays, Simon A. “The Effects of Infant Feeding Practices on Infant and Maternal Health in a Medieval Community.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 3.1 (2010): 63–78.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1016088722473Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines skeletal data excavated at Wharram Percy, England. Infant health was analyzed from bone growth. Duration of breastfeeding was assessed from nitrogen 15 stable isotope analysis, showing weaning at about eighteen months. Rapid growth during breastfeeding faltered after weaning. Loss of bone mineral density in women due to breastfeeding continued after weaning, suggesting that women had poor nutrition and a physically demanding lifestyle.

    Find this resource:

  • Mays, Simon A., Margaret P. Richards, and Benjamin T. Fuller. “Bone Stable Isotope Evidence for Infant Feeding in Mediaeval England.” Antiquity 76.293 (2002): 654–656.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in bone collagen of skeletons buried in an Iron Age cemetery at Wetwang in Yorkshire, England, indicated that while most adult diets were rich in animal protein, infants were fed cow’s milk at an early stage, possibly raising the level of infant mortality. Conformity in breastfeeding duration at Wharram Percy suggests it was constrained by community-wide cultural factors rather than by individual circumstances.

    Find this resource:

Childhood Stages, Initiation Rites, and Rituals

These publications analyze evidence of different cultural constructions of childhood and material culture that can be connected with initiation rites or rituals. The approach is usually structuralist in analyzing how childhood stages were culturally constructed. The viewpoint is usually that of the adults who constructed the age-grade stages and usually conducted the initiation rites and rituals with children. Fahlander 2012 analyzes Mesolithic burials in southernmost Sweden to find spatial arrangements and differences in grave goods distinguishing infants under one year from those up to seven years and older children up to thirteen years, after which burials were indistinguishable from adults. Strangely, no burials were found that date between the ages of eight and fourteen. Cyphers Guillén 1993 argues that female figurines excavated at Chalcatzingo, Mexico, represent female stages of life and may have been used in initiation ceremonies to teach girls gender roles. Joyce 2000 describes Aztec age-grade initiations and life-cycle rituals, primarily using the drawings and writings in the Codex Mendoza and the Florentine Codex as sources. The birth ritual included use of miniature gendered equipment. Rituals at age four, age eight, marriage, and first child involved different body piercings and scarifications, hairstyles, clothing, and ornaments such as ear spools or labrets. Formative grave goods (1500–400 BCE) differed only in earspool restriction to adults. Formative figurines and children’s graves, which contained the greatest number and diversity of goods but lacked earspools, were interpreted as symbolizing lack of completion of life-cycle transitions. Beaumont 1994 argues that Athenian age grades were more flexible, overlapping, and materially variable than the rigid year classes for training Spartan boys for the military. In contrast, Meskell 1994 states that Egyptian grave goods at Dier el Medina were similar for children and adults, while infants lacked grave goods, indicating a lack of material markers for childhood. Gowland 2001 argues that excavated grave goods from sites in Roman Britain were used in initiation rituals to mark the transition from childhood to adulthood. Hays-Gilpin 2002 discusses ethnographic and archaeological evidence for a continuing 1,500-year-old traditional hairstyle marking the transition from girlhood to postpubertal unmarried maidenhood. Sofaer Derevenski 1997 shows that grave goods and locations in a Copper Age cemetery in Hungary distinguished male from female burials, while sudden changes in grave goods were associated with different age groups, suggesting possible rites of passage. Thedéen 2008 notes that grave goods distinguished infants up to five years old from girls and women, who were buried in similar dresses, but girls were given the most-elaborate bead sets.

  • Beaumont, Lesley A. “Constructing a Methodology for Interpretation of Childhood Age in Classical Athenian Iconography.” Archaeological Review from Cambridge 13.2 (1994): 81–96.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Aspects of sculpted and painted representations of children are related to documented social stages and initiation ceremonies, 500–300 BCE. Three gendered age grades—infancy, childhood, and puberty—are materially differentiated by dress style, hair, and artifacts. Poor children’s age grades are not marked. Wealthier children are represented as miniature adults until the later 5th century, when the representations developed more realism. Slaves are depicted as smaller, with short hair. Males are depicted naked, while respectable females are clothed.

    Find this resource:

  • Cyphers Guillén, Ann. “Women, Rituals, and Social Dynamics in Ancient Chalcatzingo.” Latin American Antiquity 4.3 (1993): 209–224.

    DOI: 10.2307/971789Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Female figurines excavated at Chalcatzingo, Mexico, are argued to represent the stages in a female’s life and may have been used in initiation rituals for teaching girls appropriate gender roles.

    Find this resource:

  • Fahlander, Fredrik. “Mesolithic Childhoods: Growing Up and Dying as a Hunter-Fisher in South Scandinavia.” Journal of Childhood in the Past 5 (2012): 20–34.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of child burials at the site of Skateholm on the southernmost coast of Sweden found spatial arrangement and differences in grave goods distinguished infants under one year from children up to seven years and older children to thirteen years. Artifacts indicate involvement in adult lifeways by the age of seven or eight. Then, no children’s graves were found that date between the ages of eight and fourteen, when graves are indistinguishable from adult graves.

    Find this resource:

  • Gowland, Rebecca. “Playing Dead: Implications of Mortuary Evidence for the Social Construction of Childhood in Roman Britain.” Paper presented at conference held at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 6–7 April 2000. In TRAC 2000: Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. Edited by Gwyn Davies, Andrew Gardner, and Kris Lockyer, 152–168. Oxford: Oxbow, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes how grave goods were used in initiation rites to mark the threshold and transition from childhood to adulthood.

    Find this resource:

  • Hays-Gilpin, Kelley. “Wearing a Butterfly, Coming of Age: A 1,500-Year-Old Pueblo Tradition.” In Children in the Prehistoric Puebloan Southwest. Edited by Kathryn A. Kamp, 196–211. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes archaeological and ethnographic data to interpret social age grades of young Hopi women. A distinctive hairstyle of two spiral whorls, one above each ear, has marked the age class of adult premarital women from today to ancient depictions in pottery and rock art. Rock art suggests prehistoric sexual practices and identities of such postpubertal “maidens.” Other depictions of women represent life-cycle gendered and aged social and ceremonial relationships.

    Find this resource:

  • Joyce, Rosemary A. “Girling the Girl and Boying the Boy: The Production of Adulthood in Ancient Mesoamerica.” World Archaeology 31.3 (2000): 473–483.

    DOI: 10.1080/00438240009696933Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Compares material culture and bodily modifications involved in age-grade initiations and life-cycle rituals as depicted in two Aztec codices, compared with excavated evidence. Excavated Formative-period (1500–400 BCE) figurines and children’s graves, which contained the greatest number and diversity of goods but lacked earspools, were interpreted as symbolizing lack of completion of the life-cycle transitions in the codices.

    Find this resource:

  • Meskell, Lynn. “Dying Young: The Experience of Death at Deir el Medina.” Archaeological Review from Cambridge 13.2 (1994): 35–46.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In New Kingdom Egypt, burials of children show much less ostentatious display and class variability than adult burials. Age affected the spatial location of the burial and treatment of the body, and few infants were buried with grave goods. The objects in children’s graves were not toys or other special objects but were similar to grave goods found in adult graves to provide for the afterlife.

    Find this resource:

  • Sofaer Derevenski, Joanna. “Age and Gender at the Site of Tiszapolgár-Basatanya, Hungary.” Antiquity 71.264 (1997): 875–889.

    DOI: 10.2307/2694281Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Interprets material representations of intersecting sex, gender, and life-stage identities from differences in burial treatments by age and sex. Identifies culturally constructed gendered age grades in a Copper Age cemetery. First, male and female burials were distinguished through unique artifacts and burial locations. Then, sudden changes in grave goods were associated with different age groups, suggesting possible rites of passage to new culturally constructed gendered age grades.

    Find this resource:

  • Thedéen, Susanne. “Who’s That Girl? The Cultural Construction of Girlhood and the Transition to Womanhood in Viking Age Gotland.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 1.1 (2008): 78–93.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of burials dated to 800–1050 CE distinguished girls’ age grades from differences in grave goods. Children up to five years of age were buried with few beads and an arm ring. From five to fifteen years, girls were buried in similar dress to adult females, but with more-elaborate bead sets and wearing an arm ring. Thedéen argues that the number of beads and arm rings were important in creating age-based identities and indicate social age more than status.

    Find this resource:

Socialization: Mothering, Parenting, and Education

These publications focus on the activities of mothers and fathers in socializing their own children, or on the activities of adults, such as schoolteachers, in socializing other people’s children. The publications are predominantly focused on parenting actions, only hinting at possible actions by children. Different research questions, theoretical approaches, assumptions, and historical context at sites affect the parenting interpretations of similar children’s toys, particularly white dolls. Brighton 2001 interprets children’s artifacts such as alphabet plates, children’s mugs with names, and doll parts excavated at 19th-century sites in Five Points, a poor area of New York City, as parental acquisitions emulating a respectable middle-class parenting style. Yamin 2002 analyzes working-class parenting from 19th-century documents, and artifacts excavated at house sites in New Jersey and New York City, concluding from slate pencils and writing-slate fragments that parents were teaching children to write. Documents recorded working-class objections to public schools teaching their children middle-class values. De Cunzo 2004 analyzes the socialization of white and African American sons into two different masculinities, indicated by different toys excavated at farm sites of elite, middle-class, and tenant farmers in northern Delaware. Lu Ann De Cunzo also interprets musical instruments as evidence of parents playing with children. Wilkie 2003 discusses the ideology of motherhood developed among slaves, who were often captured from matrilineal African societies. The author analyzes community mothering by an African American midwife, from equipment such as jars of Vaseline, bottles of cod liver oil, and perfume bottles excavated from the yard and well at the Perryman house site in Mobile, Alabama. Infant medicine and formula bottles show that white, middle-class, scientific mothering products were adopted by poor African Americans. Remains of four white dolls and a toy tea set are interpreted as expressing a belief in the sanctity of motherhood and the family’s desire for upward mobility, rather than the emulation of whites. Spencer-Wood 1991 analyzes material culture involved in reform women’s movements, which transformed women’s mothering roles into socialized childcare and education in public cooperative housekeeping institutions, including day nurseries, kindergartens, and kitchen gardens. The probability is considered that reformers permitted children the social agency of playing with ordinary toys as well as the ideal Montessori objects or Froebelian kindergarten “gifts.” Hughes 1992 describes the excavation of plain white ceramics inscribed “Infant Orphan Asylum HALL,” which Barry Hughes interprets as intended to remind inmates of their institutionalization at this 19th-century London orphanage. The lack of physical mothering resulted in high child-mortality rates at many orphanages.

  • Brighton, Stephen A. “Prices That Suit the Times: Shopping for Ceramics at the Five Points.” Historical Archaeology 35.3 (2001): 16–31.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In the context of parental shopping, Brighton interprets children’s artifacts found at 19th-century sites in a poor area of New York City called Five Points, such as children’s mugs with names, doll parts, and cloth remnants, as indicating an upwardly mobile parenting style that emulated middle-class respectability and gentility.

    Find this resource:

  • De Cunzo, Lu Ann. A Historical Archaeology of Delaware: People, Contexts and the Cultures of Agriculture. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Interpretations of children’s toys, such as dolls, marbles, toy fire trucks, toy pistols, and musical instruments, were included in analyses of excavated deposits at farm sites of elite, middle-class, and tenant farmers. Socialization of white and African American sons into two different masculinities was indicated by different toys. Dolls may have been used for dressmaking models by a seamstress instead of for play by her daughters.

    Find this resource:

  • Hughes, Barry. “Infant Orphan Asylum Hall” Crockery from Eagle Pond, Snaresbrook.” London Archaeologist 6.14 (1992): 382–387.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Excavations at an infant orphan asylum in Wanstead, near London, revealed a high level of institutionalization and a lack of mothering, with plain white ceramics all inscribed “Infant Orphan Asylum HALL,” which reminded inmates of their institutional status. Lack of physical mothering led to high rates of infant mortality at many orphanages.

    Find this resource:

  • Spencer-Wood, Suzanne M. “Toward an Historical Archaeology of Materialistic Domestic Reform.” In The Archaeology of Inequality. Edited by Randall H. McGuire and Robert Paynter, 231–287. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Overview of the archaeology of domestic reform, including the transformation of women’s family-mothering roles into socialized childcare and education in public cooperative housekeeping institutions, including day nurseries, kindergartens, and kitchen gardens. The probability is considered that reformers permitted children the social agency of playing with ordinary toys as well as with the ideal Froebelian kindergarten “gifts.” The architecture and material culture of industrial schools for girls is also analyzed.

    Find this resource:

  • Yamin, Rebecca. “Children’s Strikes, Parents’ Rights: Paterson and Five Points.” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 6.2 (2002): 113–127.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1016088722473Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes working-class parenting from 19th-century artifacts excavated at house sites in New Jersey and New York City. Concludes from slate pencils and writing-slate fragments that parents were teaching children to write. Documents recorded working-class objections to public schools teaching their children middle-class values. Considers the working class and reformers as monolithically opposed groups.

    Find this resource:

  • Wilkie, Laurie A. The Archaeology of Mothering: An African-American Midwife’s Tale. New York and London: Routledge, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the ideology of motherhood developed among slaves, who were often captured from matrilineal African societies. Excavation of the well and yard at the Perryman house site in Mobile, Alabama, found equipment from a community-mothering midwifery business. It is argued that remains of four white dolls/figurines, white ceramics, and a toy tea set show the family’s desire for upward mobility as well as the sanctity of motherhood, rather than the emulation of whites.

    Find this resource:

Children as Social Agents/Actors in Their Socialization

These studies on socialization include analyses of material resistance or negotiations by children being socialized. Children create their own play worlds out of view of parental surveillance. Lindauer 2009 analyzes how Native American children materially attempted to retain their culture and resisted their forced Americanization and Christianization in the Phoenix Indian School. Spencer-Wood 1996 brings to light reform women’s institutions, many founded with programs for children, and argues that children were not passive recipients of reformers’ programs but were active social agents who negotiated with reform women for inclusion in some programs, and sometimes for material changes in programs. Reformers’ reports show how they responded to children’s actions and voices, which they sometimes quoted, by materially modifying some programs and eliminating others. Also see Hutson 2006, cited under Methods; Smith 2005 and the other citations under Children Learning Crafts and Subsistence Activities; Spencer-Wood 2003, under Children as Social Agents in Play; and Wilkie 2000, under Historical Archaeology of Children and Childhood.

  • Lindauer, Owen. “Individual Struggles and Institutional Goals: Small Voices from the Phoenix Indian School Track Site.” In The Archaeology of Institutional Life. Edited by April M. Beisaw and James G. Gibb, 86–105. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2010.01279.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents material evidence of attempted Americanization of Hopi children to use individual items such as plates and toothbrushes, and material evidence of their resistant activities, including flaking of plates, a nonlocal stone tool, and symbolic items.

    Find this resource:

  • Spencer-Wood, Suzanne M. “Feminist Historical Archaeology and the Transformation of American Culture by Domestic Reform Movements, 1840–1925.” Paper presented at the 1991 Winterthur Conference, Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE. In Historical Archaeology and the Study of American Culture. Edited by Lu Ann De Cunzo and Bernard L. Herman, 397–446. Winterthur, DE: Winterthur Museum, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Over 120 women’s institutions and programs, many for socializing children, were mapped on Boston’s landscape, and the meanings of their distinctive material culture are discussed. Includes documented cases of negotiations between children and reformers over the material content of classes for teaching domestic and occupational skills. Reformers also symbolically sanctified motherhood and home by designing Gothic houses, furniture, and conservatories to bring children in contact with God’s morally reforming nature.

    Find this resource:

Children Learning Crafts and Subsistence Activities

Research on crafted artifacts, particularly lithics and ceramics, has identified partial or deviant completion of artifacts as a sign of less skillful processes used by child apprentices or novices to produce such artifacts. It is assumed that adults would be accomplished in cultural craft skills. However, Kamp 2005 (cited under Theory and Method) points out that elders crippled with arthritis or poor eyesight might also produce low-quality crafted items. Children’s apprenticeship status is also identified from miniature tools and craft products. Some researchers have pointed out that the miniature tools found in burial sites might have been used in children’s socialization or for finer work, could symbolize future roles, might be toys, or might substitute for full-size items needed in the afterlife (see Kamp 2005 [p. 20] and Lillehammer 1989 [p. 100], both cited under Theory and Method). Finlay 1997 analyzes crude flintknapping and associates it with child learning that is not differentiated from play. Grimm 2000 provides a more detailed analysis, with drawings of reconstructed cores and flakes showing the step fractures and large bulbs of percussion produced by apprentice flintknappers. The authors of Custer, et al. 1990 excavated a flintknapping toolkit in a child’s burial, suggesting craft learning if not production by the child. Shea 2006 argues for consideration of unskilled flintknapping in middle-range theory and models of stone tool variability and formation processes, as well as ethnographies, pointing out that student learners produce at least twice as much debitage as skilled knappers. Bagwell 2002 identifies children’s early attempts at forming pots, on the basis of high ranges of variability in finished pottery at Pecos Pueblo, New Mexico. Crown 2002 analyzes 845 pots in US museums to identify children’s painted designs from types of imperfections associated with cognitive and motor-coordination immaturity, learning by imitation, and cooperative production with adults. Kamp 2001 argues that adults in the prehistoric US Southwest structured children’s learning processes so that children would begin producing figurines and miniature pots used as toys at ages two to five. Older children produced small usable vessels, and finally full-sized pottery at around age ten. Kamp, et al. 1999 examines fingerprints impressed on fifty-seven prehistoric Sinagua ceramics in Arizona, and finds that small, crude figurines of quadrupeds were made by four-year-olds, while better-made full-sized vessels were made by people aged ten and above. Smith 2005 analyzes prehistoric Huron pottery from the Great Lakes region to interpret children’s social agency in copying decorative motifs used on larger pots, predominantly by their mothers but also some used by their grandmothers, and further creating new motifs copied among children. Intergenerational style transmission combined traditional and new designs, interpreted as children’s dialectical identity negotiation during socialization.

  • Bagwell, Elizabeth A. “Ceramic Form and Skill: Attempting to Identify Child Producers at Pecos Pueblo, New Mexico.” In Children in the Prehistoric Puebloan Southwest. Edited by Kathryn A. Kamp, 90–108. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Children’s early attempts at forming pots were identified from high ranges of variability and lack of standardization in finished products. Bagwell discusses the definition of skill levels by age, due to developmental abilities, amount of practice, and cultural age-grade ideas of appropriate abilities, and she identifies the criteria for assessing the competence of vessel form manufacture.

    Find this resource:

  • Crown, Patricia L. “Learning and Teaching in the Prehispanic American Southwest.” In Children in the Prehistoric Puebloan Southwest. Edited by Kathryn A. Kamp, 108–125. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    On 845 pots from the US Southwest in museums, children’s painted designs were identified from the types of imperfections associated with cognitive and motor-coordination immaturity. Tests of modern children suggest an increasing ability to form and paint pottery, starting at age four. The pots show learning by imitation and by cooperative production with adults. Many black-on-white designs were made by children, but few polychrome designs. Many children’s pots also show wear, indicating use.

    Find this resource:

  • Custer, Jay F., Karen R. Rosenberg, Glenn Mellin, and Arthur Washburn. “A Re-examination of the Island Field Site (7K-F-17), Kent County, Delaware.” Archaeology of Eastern North America 18 (1990): 145–212.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A flintknapping toolkit excavated in a child’s burial suggests that the child was at least learning the craft and possibly already capable of producing flint tools. The authors did not speculate about the possibility of child flintknappers, but the grave goods included artifacts of the same type that were recovered from graves of adults identified as flintknappers.

    Find this resource:

  • Finlay, Nyree. “Kid Knapping: The Missing Children in Lithic Analysis.” In Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood into European Archaeology. Edited by Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott, 203–213. London: Leicester University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques the “add children and stir” approach, which does not change the stereotypic assumption that child flintknappers are exclusively boys. Reviews archaeological and experimental identifications of poorly knapped cores and flakes with children or novices. Suggests the concept of “knapscape” for variation in knapping abilities across time, space, and lifecycle, after Tim Ingold’s taskscape, temporally analyzing actions of agents in landscapes. Includes Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic sites.

    Find this resource:

  • Grimm, Linda. “Apprentice Flintknapping: Relating Material Culture and Social Practice in the Upper Paleolithic.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 53–72. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Identifies children’s efforts at lithic production from tentatively or poorly executed hard-hammer percussion, resulting in larger bulbs of percussion and characteristic hinge and step fractures. Provides drawings of flakes and reconstructed flaked cores.

    Find this resource:

  • Kamp, Kathryn A. “Prehistoric Children Working and Playing: A Southwestern Case Study in Learning Ceramics.” Journal of Anthropological Research 57.4 (2001): 427–450.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that adults structured children’s learning process beginning as early as ages two to five to familiarize children with the properties of clay and processes of pottery manufacture, through play activities and the production of figurines and miniature pots used as toys. As they grew older, children produced small but usable vessels, and finally full-sized pottery at around age ten. Many children’s pots show wear, indicating they were used.

    Find this resource:

  • Kamp, Kathryn A., Nichole Timmerman, Gregg Lind, Jules Graybill, and Ian Natowsky. “Discovering Childhood: Using Fingerprints to Find Children in the Archaeological Record.” American Antiquity 64.2 (1999): 309–315.

    DOI: 10.2307/2694281Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Measurements of fingerprints impressed on fifty-seven prehistoric Sinagua ceramics in Arizona, correcting for clay shrinkage, predicted the average age of a group of ceramic manufacturers, with a 95 percent level of confidence. Small, crude Sinagua figurines of quadrupeds were made, on average, by four-year-olds, but some better-made full-sized figurines were by adults or teens with adult-sized fingerprints. Full-sized vessels were made by people aged ten years and above.

    Find this resource:

  • Shea, John J. “Child’s Play: Reflections on the Invisibility of Children in the Paleolithic Record.” Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews 15.6 (2006): 212–216.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Archaeological middle-range theory and models of stone tool variability and formation processes need to consider that learners produce much more varied and less skillful debitage than competent adult flintknappers. Children’s tools are expected to be small, expedient, less used, and more often broken and lost. Finer analysis of products of student learners, and more ethnographic studies of children’s flintknapping, are needed.

    Find this resource:

  • Smith, Patricia E. “Children and Ceramic Innovation: A Study in the Archaeology of Children.” In Special Issue: Children in Action: Perspectives on the Archaeology of Childhoods. Edited by Jane Eva Baxter. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 15.1 (2005): 65–76.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Among prehistoric matrilineal Huron communities in the Great Lakes region, small, poorly made ceramics were interpreted as made by children. Archaeological evidence indicates children’s selective social agency in copying decorative motifs used on larger pots, predominantly by their mothers but also some used by their grandmothers, and further creating new motifs copied among children. Intergenerational style transmission combined the traditional and the new, interpreted as children’s dialectical identity negotiation during socialization.

    Find this resource:

Children’s Economic Contributions

These publications detail contributions to subsistence, family economies, and economic exchange by children. Some of the publications on socialization concern children learning to perform economic tasks such as pottery production, which are assumed to have contributed to family economies. Janssen and Janssen 1990 analyzes tomb paintings depicting a gendered division of labor in contributions to household economies, though both girls and boys are shown gleaning fields and taking care of younger children. See also the section Children Learning Crafts and Subsistence Activities.

  • Janssen, Rosalind, and Jac J. Janssen. Growing Up in Ancient Egypt. London: Rubicon, 1990.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Saqqara Egyptian tomb paintings depict boys’ and girls’ tasks. Girls and boys both glean fields and take care of younger children. Only girls are depicted making beds, and only boys are depicted tending cattle, sowing, plowing, and chasing birds away from crops. Boys are depicted with sidelocks until circumcision ritual at age ten to twelve.

    Find this resource:

Children as Social Agents in Play

The active social agency of children in their play activities has been interpreted from depictions of them playing, or from toys that are interpreted as made by children because of their crudeness or errors in them. Small items and miniatures are often identified as toys, but Park 2005 points out that Inuit miniature harpoons could be used by shamans or to hunt game, while Lillehammer 1989 (cited under Theory and Method) argues miniatures in burials could be ritual or functional in purpose (pp. 99–100). Play, in children’s perceptions, can include economic, subsistence, social, or ritual activities that might have significance in their culture beyond play, such as involving socialization or providing food. Children often creatively play with everyday household objects (Sofaer Derevenski 1994, p. 10; cited under Theory and Method), and natural objects such as stones or sticks. In addition, adults might also play with toys and games. Pearce 1978 is an early report arguing that miniature pots were used as toys by children at the prehistoric Draper site in Ontario, on the basis of the crudeness of the pottery and the simple “pinch pot” technique used to make them. Golden 1993 analyzes depictions in Classical Athenian frescoes and vase paintings of children actively using a variety of material culture in different kinds of gendered play. Kohut 2011 concludes from ethnohistorical and archaeological research that grave goods in child burials at the Postclassic site of Mayapán in the northern Yucatán were not only playthings, but also instruments for socializing children into productive, valued members of society. Park 2005 analyzes Arctic Dorset and Thule prehistoric miniature artifacts, using descendant ethnographies with a direct historical approach to distinguish those used by children in play subsistence activities versus those used by adults in small-scale activities. Spencer-Wood 2003 relates American women’s development of supervised playgrounds to the Western shift from considering children as little workers to reformers’ conceptualization of childhood as a set of developmental stages requiring education. Suzanne Spencer-Wood provides documented cases of negotiations between children and reform women over the uses of playgrounds and the design of separate playgrounds for different stages of childhood.

  • Golden, Mark. Children and Childhood in Classical Athens. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Classical Greek frescoes and vase paintings show children playing with rattles, swinging on swings, playing school, and playing ball. These sources provide information about children actively using types of material culture in play contexts, often including the gender of the children involved in different kinds of play.

    Find this resource:

  • Kohut, Betsy M. “Buried with Children: Reinterpreting Ancient Maya ‘Toys.’” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 4.1 (2011): 146–161.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Archaeologists have begun to address the absence of children in models of ancient societies, by incorporating the roles of children into analyses of archaeological data. Current ethnohistorical and archaeological research on children’s roles has led to the conclusion that grave goods in child burials at the Postclassic site of Mayapán in the northern Yucatán were not only playthings, but also instruments for socializing children into productive, valued members of society.

    Find this resource:

  • Park, Robert W. “Growing Up North: Exploring the Archeology of Childhood in the Thule and Dorset Cultures of Arctic Canada.” In Special Issue: Children in Action: Perspectives on the Archaeology of Childhoods. Edited by Jane Eva Baxter. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 15.1 (2005): 53–65.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes miniature artifacts by using descendant ethnographies with a direct historical approach to distinguish those used by children in play subsistence activities versus those used by adults in small-scale activities. Critiques the common assumption that miniature artifacts were used by children only for play, proposing that these artifacts could also be functional in learning skills for adulthood.

    Find this resource:

  • Pearce, Robert J. A Description of Juvenile Ceramics Recovered during the 1975 Season at the Draper Site. Research Report 3. London, ON: Museum of Indian Archaeology at the University of Western Ontario, 1978.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that miniature pots were used as toys by children at the Draper site in Ontario, on the basis of the crudity of the pottery and the simple “pinch pot” technique used to make them.

    Find this resource:

  • Spencer-Wood, Suzanne M. “Gendering the Creation of Green Urban Landscapes in America at the Turn of the Century.” In Shared Spaces and Divided Places: Material Dimensions of Gender Relations and the American Historical Landscape. Edited by Deborah L. Rotman and Ellen-Rose Savulis, 24–62. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques publications neglecting women’s leadership in the playground and school garden movements. Relates American women’s development of supervised playgrounds to the Western shift from considering children as little workers to reformers’ conceptualization of childhood as a set of developmental stages requiring education. Provides documented cases of negotiations between children and reform women over the uses of playgrounds, and the design of separate playgrounds for different stages of childhood.

    Find this resource:

Children’s Identities

The theoretical framework of multiple intersecting identities of age, gender, class, ethnicity, and other factors is applied in these studies of the materialization of one or more childhood identities. Class or status identities are often analyzed from grave goods. Dommasnes and Wrigglesworth 2008 covers theoretical and methodological issues of conceptualizing children’s multiple identities, experiences, and actions in past cultures, from ancient Greece, Roman and the early Middle Ages to Bronze Age Spain, the Vikings, historical Ireland, and the early medieval period. Lucy 2005 critiques the assumption that adults are present at sites, while the presence of children and the elderly must be materially proven through bones or artifacts such as toys. Sam Lucy summarizes research on children’s agency and cultural constructions of intertwined age-grade and gender identities. Rega 1997 identifies female children’s burials at a Bronze Age cemetery near Belgrade, Serbia, through shared characteristics with women’s burials, and argues that broken and nonfunctional needles found with very young children who could not have sewn probably symbolized female identity. The lack of infant burials suggests their identity as nonpersons. Higham 2012 interprets a child’s identity as a potter from burial with miniature pottery-making tools and well-made miniature pots; the child was buried next to her potter mother at the Khok Phanom Di burial mound in Thailand, dating from 2000 to 1500 BCE. De Lucia 2010 argues for reconceptualizing house sites as places where children were essential to daily practice, the construction and transmission of social identity, and household economic success. Research is presented using multiple lines of evidence from the Early Postclassic site of Xaltocan, Mexico, including ethnohistory, burials, and figurines to reconstruct the social roles and identities of children and to problematize our understanding of households. Härke 1992 argues that weapons both in child and adult Anglo-Saxon warrior graves of the 5th to 7th centuries primarily symbolized the social or ideological hereditary warrior status or identity of the individual, rather than any ability or experience in fighting. Length of spears and knives appear to be related to age at death. King 2006 finds that Early Postclassic coastal Oaxacan burials at the site of Rio Viejo were not differentiated by sex, but rather through location reflecting different age identities of children and adults. Smith 2011 identifies regional ideologies and depositional practices relating to very young children in the early Helladic Peloponnese. Studies that do not use the term “identity” are cited under Mortuary Analyses of Social Status and Cultural Practices.

  • De Lucia, Kristin. “A Child’s House: Social Memory, Identity, and the Construction of Childhood in Early Postclassic Mexican Households.” American Anthropologist 112.4 (2010): 607–624.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2010.01279.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques analyzing households only as adult sites. Argues for reconceptualizing house sites as places where children were essential to daily practice, the construction and transmission of social identity, and household economic success. Research is presented using multiple lines of evidence from the Early Postclassic site of Xaltocan, Mexico, including ethnohistory, burials, and figurines to reconstruct the social roles and identities of children and to problematize our understanding of households.

    Find this resource:

  • Dommasnes, Liv Helga, and Melanie Wrigglesworth, eds. Children, Identity and the Past. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Covers theoretical and methodological issues of conceptualizing children’s multiple identities, experiences, and actions in past cultures, from ancient Greece, Roman and early medieval periods, Bronze Age Spain, and the Vikings, to historical Ireland and the early Middle Ages. Addresses socialization, play, education, visual learning, and children’s economic, artistic, and ritual contributions to societies. Considers modern children’s identity formation through Norway’s Sami ethnic museum and androcentric books on the Paleolithic.

    Find this resource:

  • Härke, Heinrich. Angelsächsische Waffengräber des 5. bis 7. Jahrhunderts. Cologne: Rheinland-Verlag, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Anglo-Saxon warrior graves of the 5th to 7th centuries suggest that weapons both in child and adult burials primarily symbolized the social or ideological hereditary warrior status or identity of the individual, rather than any ability or experience in fighting. More adult than child graves contained weapons. The length of spears and knives appears to be related to age at death.

    Find this resource:

  • Higham, Charles. “A Prehistoric Mystery.” Current World Archaeology 53.5 (2012): 12–13.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A child’s identity as a potter is interpreted from its burial with miniature pottery-making tools and well-made miniature pots at Khok Phanom Di, Thailand. The neighboring grave of an adult female potter that included full-size pottery-making tools, including an anvil and paddles, as well as full-size pots, is interpreted as the mother, who was teaching her daughter to become a potter.

    Find this resource:

  • King, Stacie M. “The Marking of Age in Ancient Coastal Oaxaca.” In The Social Experience of Childhood in Ancient Mesoamerica. Edited by Traci Ardren and Scott R. Hutson, 169–200. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    At the Early Postclassic site of Rio Viejo, figurines depict children intimately connected with adults and integral to daily life. In contrast, the newer practice of separating adults from children in burials indicates the development of different age-related identities. Adult burials inside houses indicate house membership, identity, and ownership. In contrast, children were buried in nonhouse spaces such as plazas, indicating bilateral identification with more than one house.

    Find this resource:

  • Lucy, Sam. “The Archaeology of Age.” In The Archaeology of Identity: Approaches to Gender, Age, Status, Ethnicity, and Religion. Edited by Margarita Días-Andreu, Sam Lucy, Staša Babić, and David N. Edwards, 43–67. London: Routledge, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In a life-cycle context, Lucy critiques projections into the past of Western conceptions and marginalization both of children and the elderly, through biases toward adults in analyzing both bones and cultural identities. While the presence of adults is assumed, the presence of children and the elderly must be materially proven through bones or artifacts such as toys. Lucy summarizes research on children’s agency and cultural constructions of intertwined age-grade and gender identities.

    Find this resource:

  • Rega, Elizabeth. “Age, Gender, and Biological Reality in the Early Bronze Age Cemetery at Mokrin.” In Invisible People and Processes. Edited by Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott, 229–247. London: Leicester University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this cemetery in Serbia, the majority of grave goods, including metal objects (63 percent), were buried with females, including one gold-sheet crown, suggesting women’s control of trade. Some children’s, and all women’s, burials shared a southern orientation and bone needles. Since half the needles were broken or nonfunctional, and some were found with very young children, they probably symbolized female identity. Lack of infants suggests their status as nonpersons.

    Find this resource:

  • Smith, David Michael. “Reconciling Identities in Life and Death: The Social Child in the Early Helladic Peloponnese.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 4.1 (2011): 46–62.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Bioarchaeological and archaeological characteristics permit the identification of regional and interregional ideologies and depositional practices specifically relating to the very young, which may permit the identification of infant burials even in the absence of skeletal remains.

    Find this resource:

Spatial Distribution of Children’s Artifacts and Activities

These studies analyze and interpret the meanings of the distributions of children’s artifacts across domestic sites, schools, orphanages, and bordellos. Children are often interpreted as active and purposeful in the production of these artifact distributions. Distributions of children’s artifacts are not viewed as random, or as disrupting adult patterns of artifact distribution. Baxter 2005 elaborates on Joanna Sofaer Derevenski’s critiques of experimental and ethnoarchaeological studies for constructing two cautionary tales that interpreted children’s activities as (1) distorting the adult archaeological record or (2) creating atypical, unexpected uses of material culture, and thus defying interpretation (see Sofaer Derevenski 1994, cited under Theory and Method). Crawford 2009 argues that the use of any object as a toy can become visible by recovering and reassessing the depositional pathway of objects into the archaeological record within a child-centered theoretical framework. Hadley and Hemer 2011 provides documentary and archaeological evidence of older children migrating with Viking armies. Allison 2003 reveals evidence under floorboards of an Australian sheep station household of women’s and children’s uses of different rooms, verandas, and outbuildings. Ketz, et al. 2005 differentiates artifacts in the backyard of a brothel, which reveal the hidden lives of prostitutes and their children, from those in the frontyard that pertain to the business of prostitution. Rotman 2009 identifies evidence of gender-segregated activities and Hopi children’s resistance to attempted Americanization and Christianization at the Wea View Schoolhouse No. 8, Wabash Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Feister 2009 examines an orphanage excavation and finds that gendered artifacts distinguish play areas for girls and boys. See also Methods and Spencer-Wood 2003, cited under Children as Social Agents in Play.

  • Allison, Penelope M. “The Old Kinchega Homestead: Doing Household Archaeology in Outback New South Wales, Australia.” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 7.3 (2003): 161–194.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1027417332638Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An excavation of an Australian sheep station household found evidence under floorboards of women’s and children’s uses of different rooms, verandas, and outbuildings, including a shift from a separate kitchen building to a kitchen in the main house, with the loss of servants. In the summer, women had tea and coffee on the veranda and also sewed there, as they watched their children playing with dolls.

    Find this resource:

  • Baxter, Jane Eva. “Making Space for Children in Archaeological Interpretations.” In Special Issue: Children in Action: Perspectives on the Archaeology of Childhoods. Edited by Jane Eva Baxter. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 15.1 (2005): 77–89.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Detailed critique of ethnoarchaeological research that views children’s artifact distributions as random scatters distorting meaningful distribution patterns of adult artifacts. Idealized model of ranges of children’s domestic play was used in understanding statistically significant, meaningful patterning of children’s artifacts at four out of five historical sites. Provides detailed, ungendered interpretations of patterns of children’s artifacts at the Felton farm in Michigan.

    Find this resource:

  • Crawford, Sally. “The Archaeology of Play Things: Theorising a Toy Stage in the ‘Biography’ of Objects.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 2.1 (2009): 55–70.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Notes that in the settlement archaeology of most prehistoric and protohistoric periods, toys are not recognized through specific associations with children or by comparison with objects identified as toys in other periods. Crawford argues that the use of any object as a toy can become visible by recovering and reassessing the depositional pathway of objects into the archaeological record within a child-centered theoretical framework.

    Find this resource:

  • Feister, Lois M. “The Orphanage at Schuyler Mansion.” In The Archaeology of Institutional Life. Edited by April M. Beisaw and James G. Gibb, 105–117. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of documentary and archaeological data concerning lifeways in the orphanage, including toys provided to children and the intended purpose of dolls and tea sets to train girls in respectable mothering and domesticity. Excavated toys indicate that girls played with dolls and toy tea sets near the south wall of the orphanage, while boys’ toys, such as marbles and a pocketknife, show a wider range of play area.

    Find this resource:

  • Hadley, Dawn M., and Katie A. Hemer. “Microcosms of Migration: Children in Early Medieval Population Movement.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 4.1 (2011): 63–78.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Looks at documentary and archaeological evidence of older children migrating with Viking armies. Documents indicating the importance of this stage of the life cycle in acculturation and migration are supported by burials of older children, and by stable isotope analysis of teeth indicating migration, sometimes on multiple occasions.

    Find this resource:

  • Ketz, Anne K., Elizabeth J. Abel, and Andrew J. Schmidt. “Public Image and Private Reality: An Analysis of Differentiation in a Nineteenth-Century St. Paul Bordello.” Historical Archaeology 39.1 (2005): 74–88.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Excavations in the bordello’s backyard revealed remains of the hidden lives of prostitutes and their children, including toys, patent medicines for venereal diseases, clay pipes, and undecorated ceramics for ordinary meals. In contrast, artifacts discarded in front of the building pertained to the business of prostitution, such as ostentatious tableware used to serve alcoholic beverages and exotic foods, perfume bottles, and fashionable furnishings of the bordello, such as figurines.

    Find this resource:

  • Rotman, Deborah L. “Rural Education and Community Social Relations: Historical Archaeology of the Wea View Schoolhouse No. 8, Wabash Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana.” In The Archaeology of Institutional Life. Edited by April M. Beisaw and James G. Gibb, 69–86. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents evidence of Hopi children’s resistance to attempted Americanization and Christianization, as well as evidence of socialization in writing, toys, and clothing artifacts. Evidence of gender-segregated activities comes from two privies, and from the association of females with domestic artifacts and the association of males with toys. A concentration of sewing artifacts in the northeast corner of the school building could be evidence of the teaching of domestic science, or of community sewing bees.

    Find this resource:

Mortuary Analyses of Social Status and Cultural Practices

Grave goods and mortuary monuments can be analyzed for evidence of children’s social status within society. In societies with achieved status systems, young children are usually buried with few if any grave goods because they are too young to have achieved much status. In societies with ascribed status, children inherit the social position of their parents, who usually deposit more grave goods with their dead children to indicate the social and economic status of their family. Lillie 1997 looks at excavations of a cemetery at the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in the Ukraine and finds that the same kinds of status objects were buried in adults’ and children’s graves, suggesting a lack of cultural construction of childhood as a stage of life separate from adulthood. Soren and Soren 1997 records the excavation of forty-seven late Roman-period infant skeletons in an abandoned Roman villa near Lugnano, Teverina, Italy. The burials, often in pots, included grave goods for curing illness. Talbot 2009 analyzes Byzantine grave monument inscriptions and documents that indicate expressions of grief and a belief that children went to paradise, despite high infant mortality due to disease. This evidence contradicts the general inference that parents defended themselves psychologically from a high frequency of childhood deaths by not identifying children as persons and not caring about them. Crawford 2000 analyzes over one thousand early Anglo-Saxon English burials to identify culturally constructed status differences between age groups. Nonadult status was indicated by fewer grave goods than adults, except for three young girls, who were interpreted as buried with inherited bride wealth at betrothal, since the documented age of adulthood was ten. Lucy 1994 compares children’s burials in pre-Christian and Christian cemeteries in Yorkshire, England. Christians distinguished children only through burial in a separate area. In most pre-Christian cemeteries, children under twelve (the documented age of majority in the 10th century) were underrepresented, but they were provided more jewelry than adults, indicating ascribed status. Palkovitch 1980 looks at the meaning of children’s burials with distinctive but not exotic grave goods at the Arroyo Hondo site outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1250–1370 CE. McKerr, et al. 2009 discusses wealth differences in elaborateness or lack of children’s gravestones in early modern northern Ireland.

  • Crawford, Sally. “Children, Grave Goods, and Social Status in Early Anglo-Saxon England. In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 169–179. New York and London: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of over one thousand burials from the 5th to 7th centuries, looking at the culturally constructed status differences between age groups. Younger children were given fewer grave goods than adults, most often small knives, beads, or small containers, indicating nonadult status. However, rich grave goods were buried with three young girls, possibly representing their inherited bride wealth at betrothal. Adulthood was identified as age ten in laws and in burials with adult grave goods.

    Find this resource:

  • Lillie, M. C. “Women and Children in Prehistory: Resource Sharing and Social Stratification at the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in Ukraine.” In Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood into European Archaeology. Edited by Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott, 213–229. London: Leicester University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Children and adults were buried in identical ways. This lack of age-grade status differences in burials is interpreted to indicate that children played active roles in fishing-gathering-hunting subsistence and in social networks. The same kinds of status objects in adults’ and children’s graves suggest a lack of cultural construction of childhood as a stage of life separate from adulthood.

    Find this resource:

  • Lucy, Sam. “Children in Early Medieval Cemeteries.” Archaeological Review from Cambridge 13.2 (1994): 21–34.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comparison of children’s burials in pre-Christian and Christian cemeteries in Yorkshire, England. Christians distinguished children only through burial in a separate area. In most pre-Christian cemeteries, children under twelve (the documented age of majority in the 10th century) were underrepresented but were provided more jewelry than adults. Variety was found in distinctions between social groups, but few adult burials contained swords, suggesting high status.

    Find this resource:

  • McKerr, Lynne, Eileen Murphy, and Colm Donnelly. “‘I Am Not Dead, but Do Sleep Here’: The Representation of Children in Early Modern Burial Grounds in the North of Ireland.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 2.1 (2009): 109–131.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Although seldom researched, a substantial number of the gravestones reference children’s deaths. Wealthy children might have elaborately inscribed memorials, while the less wealthy families would just note a child’s death on a family stone. Victims of epidemics or famines were buried together in pits, while unbaptized children were denied burial in consecrated ground and were instead found in the local children’s burial ground.

    Find this resource:

  • Palkovitch, Ann M. Pueblo Population and Society: The Arroyo Hondo Skeletal and Mortuary Remains. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press, 1980.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A statistically significant association was found between children ages zero to six and hide blankets and yucca fiber mats, on the one hand, and a lack of rare artifacts, on the other. The lack of variation in grave goods suggests that age six represented a change in status. In adult graves, unusual and possibly ceremonial items such as body paint or remains of headdresses are interpreted as evidence of initiation into social or religious organizations.

    Find this resource:

  • Soren, David, and Noelle Soren, eds. A Roman Villa and a Late Roman Infant Cemetery: Excavation at Poggio Gramignano Lugnano in Teverina. Bibliotheca Archaeologica 23. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Excavations found forty-seven infant skeletons buried in a short period around 450 CE, after the villa had been abandoned for two hundred years. DNA evidence and a documented Roman malarial zone support a hypothesized epidemic. Burial goods included cures such as honeysuckle flowers and a toad, as well as evidence of pagan magic rituals outlawed by Christian Rome, such as fourteen decapitated puppies, a raven’s claw, and upside-down pots.

    Find this resource:

  • Talbot, Alice-Mary. “The Death and Commemoration of Byzantine Children.” In Becoming Byzantine: Children and Childhood in Byzantium. Edited by Arietta Papaconstantinou and Alice-Mary Talbot, 283–309. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Excavated burials and documentary records revealed 40–50 percent mortality of infants due to many diseases, and also deaths of adults who cared for them, resulting in a high proportion of orphans. Documents and inscriptions on grave monuments and icons show that parents and siblings grieved and believed the children had gone to paradise.

    Find this resource:

Child Sacrifice

Sacrifices of children are interpreted from burials within foundations (called “foundation sacrifices”), skeletal evidence of trauma or dismemberment, a pattern of separate child burials associated with high-status burials, or documentation. Child burials with animal bones have also been interpreted as sacrifices. However, children who died of illness were also sometimes buried with bones of animals due to curing beliefs. Chapter 4 (“The Divine Child”) of Wileman 2005 (cited under General Overviews) notes that in some cultures, child sacrifices were accompanied by the belief that children, having recently arrived on Earth, could communicate directly with gods or were symbolic of child gods. In contrast, Hartley 1956 identifies a dismembered six-year-old boy buried in disused storage pits as a sacrifice (p. 15). Barber, et al. 1989 describes an Iron Age foundation sacrifice of a twelve-year-old boy whose body was cut into quarters and placed in pits with the butchered remains of two calves and two sheep. Ó Flóinn 1995 includes descriptions of two child bog bodies that both appear to be sacrifices. Niblett 1999 records the excavation of the head of a teenage boy that was defleshed with knives and then placed in a pit outside a Roman temple in Britain. Brown 1991 discusses the documentary and mortuary evidence for child sacrifice in the Tophet cemetery at Carthage, North Africa, in the context of Tophet cemeteries of child sacrifices at other Phoenician sites around the Mediterranean. Crandall and Thompson 2014 identifies osteobiographical evidence of ritual sacrifice on skeletal remains of nineteen out of thirty-one infants and children excavated from a cave site in Durango, Mexico, dating to 571–1168 CE. Regional and historical diversity in children’s treatment and social roles is researched along with the effects of ideologies of victimization on children’s personhood. Lillehammer 2009 relates archaeological and documentary evidence in Norse sagas, indicating an ideology viewing children as powerful, the Norwegian Odal law of sacrificing the firstborn, and a tradition of burying them alive because of their access to the origin of the cosmological order. Ardren 2011 argues that although it has been largely overlooked, evidence from several Mayan sources and sites suggests child sacrifice was one of the most precious offerings to the gods, because their young age and recent arrival on Earth gave children a closeness to the ancestors and the gods. Berrelleza and Balderas 2006 analyzes documents, including Aztec codices, conceptualizing children as most pure, and therefore most able to communicate with the gods, justifying their sacrifice as powerful in adult attempts to gain favors from gods. Analysis revealed preferential male sacrifice and ill children sacrificed to the temple of the god believed to cause those illnesses.

  • Ardren, Traci. “Empowered Children in Classic Maya Sacrificial Rites.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 4.1 (2011): 133–145.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Mayan child sacrifice has been largely overlooked despite evidence from several sources and sites, especially Chichen Itza. Ardren argues that children were sacrificed because it was believed their young age and recent arrival on Earth gave them a closeness to the ancestors and the gods. Child sacrifice was one of the most precious offerings, involving profound emotion and loss consistent with the spiritual contract of the Maya.

    Find this resource:

  • Barber, John, Paul Halstead, Heather James, and Frances Lee. “An Unusual Iron Age Burial at Hornish Point, South Uist.” Antiquity 63.241 (1989): 773–778.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Foundation sacrifice interpreted from burial of a twelve-year-old boy cut into quarters and placed in pits with butchered remains of two calves and two sheep, under a house being built in Hornish Point, South Uist, in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland.

    Find this resource:

  • Berrelleza, Juan Alberto Román, and Ximena Chávez Balderas. “The Role of Children in the Ritual Practices of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan and the Great Temple of Tlatelolco.” In The Social Experience of Childhood in Ancient Mesoamerica. Edited by Traci Ardren and Scott R. Hutson, 233–249. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Documents, including codices, indicated conceptualization of children as most pure, and therefore most able to communicate with the gods, justifying their sacrifice as powerful in adult attempts to gain favors from gods. DNA analysis revealed preferential male sacrifice. Archaeological and osteological data revealed children with illnesses were sacrificed at temples to the god of rain (Tlaloc), who was the patron believed to cause certain illnesses.

    Find this resource:

  • Brown, Susanna Shelby. Late Carthaginian Child Sacrifice and Sacrificial Monuments in Their Mediterranean Context. Sheffield, UK: JSOT Press, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses the documentary and mortuary evidence for child sacrifice in the Tophet cemetery at Carthage, North Africa, in the context of Tophet cemeteries of child sacrifices at other Phoenician sites around the Mediterranean. Monuments contain inscriptions about keeping vows to gods and include bas-reliefs, such as one interpreted as a priest carrying an infant. Cremated remains were buried with childhood artifacts interpreted as deposited by parents.

    Find this resource:

  • Crandall, John J., and Jennifer L. Thompson. “Beyond Victims: Exploring the Identity of Sacrificed Infants and Children at La Cueva de Los Muertos Chiquitos, Durango, Mexico (AD 571–1168).” In Tracing Childhood: Bioarchaeological Investigations of Early Lives in Antiquity. Edited by Jennifer L. Thompson, Marta P. Alfonso-Durruty, and John J. Crandall, 36–57. Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Human Past. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Ritual sacrifice in the Gabriel San Loma culture was suggested from burnt and intentionally sequenced burials of nineteen out of thirty-one infants and children and two adult females reanalyzed from excavations at a cave site. All the children had bone diseases. Large quantities of corn and beans may have been ritual offerings. Diversity in children’s treatment and social roles is investigated in regional and historical contexts.

    Find this resource:

  • Hartley, B. R. “The Wandlebury Iron Age Hill-Fort: Excavations of 1955–6.” Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society 50 (1956): 1–27.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discussion on p. 15 of human bones in disused storage pits, including a six-year-old boy who had been dismembered by having his legs hacked off with an ax or axes.

    Find this resource:

  • Lillehammer, Grete. “Transforming Images: Exploring Powerful Children.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 1.1 (2009): 94–105.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Relates archaeological finds to ideology and attitudes toward children as powerful in Norse sagas, folklore, folk medicine, and comparative studies of religion. The tradition of burying children alive is related to their access to the origin of a cosmological order, the Norwegian Odal law of the firstborn, and pre-Christian practices concerning the treatment of children.

    Find this resource:

  • Niblett, Rosalind. The Excavation of a Ceremonial Site at Folly Lane, Verulamium. Britannia Monograph Series 14. London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The head of a teenage boy was defleshed with knives and then placed in a pit outside a temple in Verulamium (Roman St. Albans, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom).

    Find this resource:

  • Ó Flóinn, R. “Recent Research into Irish Bog Bodies.” In Bog Bodies: New Discoveries and New Perspectives. Edited by R. C. Turner and R. G. Scaife. London: British Museum, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Includes descriptions of two child bog bodies that appear to be sacrifices of a girl and boy who both had scoliosis, although other bog bodies killed in similar ways are not disabled. Both the sixteen-year-old girl (who lived sometime between 54 BCE and 128 CE) from Yde in the Netherlands, and the boy, between eight and fourteen years old (400–300 BCE), from Kayhausen in southern Germany, had been garroted with fabric, though in different ways.

    Find this resource:

Processes of Cultural Change

These studies analyze the change over time in cultural definitions of motherhood, childhood, or constructions of childhood structures such as stages of development or methods of socialization or education. Some studies analyze changes in burial practices as expressing changes in social structure or the status of children. Mizoguchi 2000 diachronically compares burial locations of infants and children in early and later Yayoi-period Japanese cemeteries. Early corporate burial of children into adult burials, with a view of previous burials, was replaced with selective burials of a few children who were probably lineage leaders, in seven sets of rows. Lagia 2007 analyzes changes in identities of Greek children from the Late Archaic through Early Roman periods, expressed in different burial treatments. Houby-Nielsen 2000 discusses changes in burial location and memorials in ancient Athens, from clustering around men’s burials to clustering around women’s burials, corresponding to the later promotion of the ideal woman as mother or kin of legitimate children, who were the only children who could become future citizens. Wicks 2002 notes there are few publications on children in Chinese art. The earliest depiction of a child was on an engraved Jade plaque from a 4th-century BC tomb in Hebei Province. Representations of children increase in the Han dynasty (260 BCE–220 CE) and are prominent in art of the Song period (960–1279 CE). Children were depicted to encourage the birth of sons and to reinforce social values. (See also Janik 2000, cited under Paleolithic and Holocene Children’s Lives; Smith 2005, under Children Learning Crafts and Subsistence Activities; Spencer-Wood 2003, under Children as Social Agents in Play; Calvert 1992, under Historical Archaeology of Children and Childhood; and Greenfield 2000, under Ethnoarchaeology of Children.)

  • Houby-Nielsen, Sanne. “Child Burials in Ancient Athens.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 151–166. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the shift from early clustering of young children’s burials around men’s burials to clustering them around women’s burials, related to later promotion of the ideal woman as mother or kin to legitimate children, who were the only future citizens. Burials of young children decreased in the early 300s, replaced with relief-decorated gravestones that developed as part of the refinement of portraying babies and small children in art and literature.

    Find this resource:

  • Lagia, Anna. “Notions of Childhood in the Classical Polis: Evidence from the Bioarchaeological Record.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 293–308. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Changes in identities of children in Greek populations were expressed in different burial treatments that changed from the Late Archaic through Early Roman periods. Until the Early Classic period, cemeteries include children, with high mortality among those under five years old, buried in pots. Children are very underrepresented in later cemeteries, with a small increase, in multiple burials, starting in the Late Hellenistic period.

    Find this resource:

  • Mizoguchi, Koji. “The Child as a Node of Past, Present and Future.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 141–150. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Diachronic comparison of burials of infants (under four years) and children (three to twelve years) in Yayoi-period Japanese cemeteries. The early community, fighting with others for land, followed a leader to corporately bury children (52.5 percent of burials) inserted into adult burials, with a view of previous burials. The fewer children (18.2 percent) individually buried in seven spatially discrete linear series in the later cemetery suggests burial only of future leaders of lineages.

    Find this resource:

  • Wicks, Ann Elizabeth B., ed. Children in Chinese Art. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Notes little discussion in documents and few publications. Engraved Jade plaque from a 4th-century BCE tomb in Hebei Province is earliest depiction of a child, wearing the same checked skirt as in three plaques of women. Representations of children increase in the Han dynasty (260 BCE–220 CE) and are prominent in art of the Song period (960–1279 CE). Children were depicted to encourage the birth of sons and to reinforce social values.

    Find this resource:

Paleolithic and Holocene Children’s Lives

These studies analyze children’s activities and roles in societies of Paleolithic and Holocene fisher-gatherer-hunters, on the basis of artifacts and their distributions on burial sites. Roveland 2000 summarizes research comparing grave goods in child and adult burials in the Upper Paleolithic. Roveland critiques archaeological interpretations of children’s footprints in caves as representing only initiation rites, arguing that children produced some cave art. Hawcroft and Dennell 2000 explains conservatism in the Neanderthal toolkit as resulting from a shorter biological childhood, and especially a shorter juvenile period of growth, compared with Homo sapiens sapiens. Shorter Neanderthal childhoods suggest more rote instruction and less time for innovation prior to adulthood, resulting in greater cultural conservatism than change. Janik 2000 looks at a Mesolithic Latvian site where children were buried with more economic and social grave goods than adults, and compares it with Scandinavian children’s burials that lacked grave goods unless buried with an adult. Georgiadis 2011 compares burial treatments of children and adults in Mesolithic and Neolithic Greece, analyzing changes in regional and sometimes local beliefs and practices that indicate social and conceptual changes in the symbolic emphasis on social roles and the importance of infants and children. See also Finlay 1997 and Grimm 2000, cited under Children Learning Crafts and Subsistence Activities.

  • Georgiadis, Mercourious. “Child Burials in Mesolithic and Neolithic Greece: A Synthesis.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 4.1 (2011): 31–45.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Diachronic comparison of burial treatments of children and adults to analyze changes in regional and sometimes local beliefs and practices indicating social and conceptual changes in the role of children. Age differentiations in social practices are analyzed. Changes in degree of symbolic emphasis on the social roles and importance of children and infants in local communities were connected to broader socioeconomic changes.

    Find this resource:

  • Hawcroft, Jennie, and Robin Dennell. “Neanderthal Cognitive Life History and Its Implications for Material Culture.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 89–99. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explains conservatism in the Neanderthal toolkit as resulting from a shorter biological childhood and juvenile period of growth compared with Homo sapiens sapiens. Experiments with modern children showed that skills involved in flintknapping, including accuracy, 3-D visualization, and adaptation to errors, all increased in children of seven to eleven years old. The shorter Neanderthal childhood suggests more rote instruction and less time for innovation prior to adulthood, resulting in greater cultural conservatism than change.

    Find this resource:

  • Janik, Liliana. “The Construction of the Individual among North European Fisher-Gatherer-Hunters in the Early and Mid-Holocene.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 117–131. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    At the Zvejnieki site in Latvia, subadults were buried as important individuals, with more economic and social grave goods than adults. The most grave goods were deposited with children in the Late Mesolithic. At the Vedbaek and Skateholm sites in Scandinavia, nonadults buried alone had no grave goods, which was interpreted as lack of significance as individuals and dependence on elders. Infants and younger children buried with adults most often had grave goods.

    Find this resource:

  • Roveland, Blythe. “Footprints in the Clay: Upper Palaeolithic Children in Ritual and Secular Contexts.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 29–39. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critical review of children’s books about the Paleolithic that don’t include children or that use gender stereotypes. Summarizes ethnographic studies of variation in children’s contributions to hunter-gatherer diets. Critique of archaeological interpretation of children’s footprints in caves only as initiation rites. Argues that children produced some cave art. Summarizes research on children’s grave goods, noting little difference from adults, and on some children’s graves with substantial goods, indicating ascribed status.

    Find this resource:

Children in Preclassical Mediterranean Cultures

Publications on childhood in the Preclassical Mediterranean area have materially identified age grades and have sometimes been able to gender them. The author of Skeates 1991 found child burials in or near houses and in caves rather than in adult Neolithic cemeteries in central Italy. Two caves contained ritual arrangements of rock circles with partly burnt bones of infants, children, and juveniles. Becker 2007 analyzes Etruscan mortuary programs at Tarquinia, Italy, as indicators of the transition to adult status. Until the early 7th century BC, infants were buried “under the eaves” of buildings, and later in separate cemeteries, while children over 5.5 years were buried in adult cemeteries in the 6th century BC. Chapin 2007 analyzes the age grades of boys and adolescents on the basis of physique and hairstyles in Akrotiri wall paintings, revising previous age estimates based only on hairstyles. Anne Chapin argues that Akrotiri paintings are more realistic and less schematic than Egyptian or Minoan art. Rehak 2007 discusses wall paintings at Akrotiri, Thera, showing several girls’ age grades distinguished physically in open bodices, as well as through dress and hair differences from adults. Girls are depicted in similar ritual contexts at shrines and sanctuary sites on Crete and Mycenae. Lebegyev 2009 identifies three major age grades in Mycenaean childhood that were somewhat fluid and changed over time. Muskett 2009 identifies Mycenaean rites of passage and ceremonies commemorating significant stages in childhood that can plausibly be compared with landmarks in the lives of Athenian children in the Classical period. Langdon 2007 analyzes changes in depictions of boys’ and girls’ maturation rites from the Bronze Age Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations to Early Iron Age Geometric periods in Greece. Abduction scenes are interpreted as civilizing women by separating them from nature. Romero 2009 analyzes relationships between objects and bodies from the funerary record of Bronze Age societies in southern Spain to identify how childhood age and gender categories, identities, and experiences were constructed through specific costumes, ornaments, and practices of body modification.

  • Becker, Marshall Joseph. “Childhood among the Etruscans: Mortuary Programs at Tarquinia as Indicators of the Transition to Adult Status.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 281–292. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sixth-century BCE adult cemeteries include children over 5.5 years old. The absence of younger children, when about 50 percent infant mortality (mostly perinatal) was common in ancient societies, indicates separate burial places for infants and young children, some of whom died from weaning stress. Excavations found inhumations of perinatals “under the eaves” of buildings until the early 7th century, when separate cemeteries developed, a pattern continued in Rome.

    Find this resource:

  • Chapin, Anne P. “Boys Will Be Boys: Youth and Gender Identity in the Theran Frescoes.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 229–255. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of age grades of boys and adolescents from physique and hairstyles in Akrotiri wall paintings. Argues that Akrotiri paintings are more realistic and less schematic than Egyptian or Minoan art. Revises previous age estimates of boys and youths that were based only on hairstyles.

    Find this resource:

  • Langdon, Susan. “The Awkward Age: Art and Maturation in Early Greece.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 173–191. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes change in depictions of maturation rites from Bronze Age Minoan and Mycenaean wilderness trials for boys and fertility-focused rites for girls, to Early Iron Age depictions of boys’ maturation as heroes fighting supernatural forces for a desirable female prize. Grave goods and depictions of girls change from Early to Late Geometric, interpreted as symbolic preparations for marriage. Abduction scenes interpreted as civilizing women by separating them from nature.

    Find this resource:

  • Lebegyev, Judit. “Phases of Childhood in Early Mycenaean Greece.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 2.1 (2009): 15–32.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of burial evidence from the core area of the Argolid permitted identification of three major age grades in childhood that were somewhat fluid and changed over time: up to one to two years, one to two to five to six years, and children older than five to six years.

    Find this resource:

  • Muskett, Georgina. “Rites of Passage for Young Children in Mycenaean Greece.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 1.1 (2009): 38–48.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Despite a comparative scarcity of evidence, Mycenaean rites of passage / ceremonies commemorating significant stages in childhood were identified that can plausibly be compared with landmarks in the lives of Athenian children in the Classical period.

    Find this resource:

  • Rehak, Paul. “Children’s Work: Girls as Acolytes in Aegean Ritual and Cult.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 205–228. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Frescoes at Akrotiri, Thera, show several girls’ age grades indicated by breast development in open bodices, short skirts, and shaved heads with partially grown hair. Bejeweled barefoot girls are shown gathering crocus blossoms and bringing them to a girl goddess seated on a stack of yellow folded cloth. Similar girls’ rituals are depicted in paintings, clay sealings, and ivory carvings at shrines and sanctuary sites on Crete and Mycenae.

    Find this resource:

  • Romero, Margarita S. “Childhood and the Construction of Gender Identities through Material Culture.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 1.1 (2009): 17–37.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis from a phenomenological perspective of relationships between objects and bodies from the funerary record of Bronze Age societies south of Spain, to identify how childhood age and gender categories, identities, and experiences were constructed through specific costumes, ornaments, and practices of body modification. Tries to understand how the process of social reproduction affects children’s lives and gender identity.

    Find this resource:

  • Skeates, Robin. “Caves, Cults and Children in Neolithic Abruzzo, Central Italy.” In Sacred and Profane: Proceedings of a Conference on Archaeology, Ritual and Religion, Oxford, 1989. Edited by Paul Garwood, David Jennings, Robin Skeates, and Judith Toms, 122–134. Oxford University Committee for Archaeology Monograph 32. Oxford: Oxford University Committee for Archaeology, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Most child burials occurred within or near houses and not in adult cemeteries that were near settlements. In several caves, bones of children and adults were excavated together. Two caves contained only scattered or carefully arranged, partly burnt bones of infants, children, and juveniles, in burials or ritually arranged with rock circles.

    Find this resource:

Childhood in Classical Greece and Rome

Comparisons of classical Greece and Rome reveal similarities between them due to cultural exchanges. Romans borrowed Greek gods and goddesses and copied Greek art that they admired. Cohen and Rutter 2007 covers representations of children in all types of art, analyzed for gendered age grades and childhood stages, socialization, education, life transitions and maturation, rituals for health, identities, abduction, burial rituals, and commemoration. Cohen 2007 provides an overview of previous research on ancient conceptions of childhood, including sexuality, compared with 18th- and 19th-century conceptions and Philippe Ariès’s generalizations about premodern conceptions of children as miniature adults.

  • Cohen, Ada. “Introduction: Childhood between Past and Present.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 1–25. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Overview of previous research on ancient conceptions of childhood, including sexuality, compared with 18th- and 19th-century conceptions and Philippe Ariès’s generalizations. Discusses evidence of Classical-period parental valuations of children and feelings of loss in conditions of high child mortality. Questions the sexual-symbolic interpretations of depictions of birds with children, with a short parental account of including a child’s pets in its burial, and excavations of bird bones in child burials.

    Find this resource:

  • Cohen, Ada, and Jeremy B. Rutter, eds. Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Most chapters combine documentary information with aboveground or excavated material culture. A few only analyze documents. Chapters cover representations of children in art of all types, including bas-reliefs, votive terra-cottas, mosaics, vase paintings, frescoes, funerary monuments, sculpture, and sarcophagi—and in burial remains. Topics include Roman versus conquered families, concepts of childhood stages, socialization, education, life transitions and maturation, rituals for health, identities, abduction, burial rituals, and commemoration.

    Find this resource:

Classical Greece

These publications identify gender differences in childhood and adolescent age grades depicted through differences in clothing and gestures, analyze rare floor mosaics depicting an elite male’s life-stage experiences, and analyze gendered and aged depictions of abduction and the transformation of a mythic youthful satyr into a human boy. Grossman 2007 analyzes the status of children on classical Attic funerary monuments, comparing elites and slaves in their relationships to each other and their families. Lawton 2007 analyzes formulaic classical Attic votive bas-reliefs depicting children participating in rituals, in an effort to discern socially constructed Greek gendered childhood categories depicted through clothing, or its lack in young boys. McNiven 2007 analyzes Athenian vase painting to discern beliefs about childhood stages from an increasing number and specificity of gestures with age, compared by gender. Beaumont 2000 analyzes gender differences in 5th-century Athenian depictions distinguishing adolescents from adults, finding many more documented age classes for adolescent males, who were not considered mature until age thirty, while postpubescent girls were depicted as marriageable maidens. Marinescu, et al. 2007 analyzes how a rare group of 5th-century CE Greek floor mosaics depict episodes in the life of a wealthy boy named Kimbros, including his birth, early childhood in the home, primary education, punishments, and later formal schooling. Textual comparisons aided this interpretation. Smith 2007 analyzes Red-figure vases of the High Classical period (450–400 BCE) that picture a boy at various ages from three to twenty years. May Smith focuses on the transition from a mythic youthful satyr in the retinue of Dionysos to a human boy conducting normal youthful activities in the human world. Cohen 2007 analyzes depictions of abduction in 7th–5th-century BCE Greek art that accurately depict boys but always depict female children as miniature adults and older men as young adults, expressing Greek discomfort with sexuality among children and the elderly. See also Houby-Nielsen 2000 and Lagia 2007, cited under Processes of Cultural Change.

  • Beaumont, Lesley. “The Social Status and Artistic Presentation of ‘Adolescence’ in Fifth Century Athens.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 39–51. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Vase paintings and bas-reliefs depicted gender differences in conceptions of adolescence. Postpubertal girls were depicted in a standard form of iconography that differs from depictions of adult women. Depictions reflected the large number of documented age classes of adolescent males, who were not considered fully mature until they turned thirty. Further, adolescent males were depicted in different stages for dramatic effect—attackers were depicted as being older and larger than victims.

    Find this resource:

  • Cohen, Ada. “Gendering the Age Gap: Boys, Girls, and Abduction in Ancient Greek Art.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 257–278. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Depictions of myths from the 7th through 5th centuries BCE show gods growing from babies to adults, but goddesses are always shown as adults, just small at birth. Contrasts myths of the abduction of Helen, age seven to twelve, by fifty-year-old Theseus, with depictions showing both as young adults. However, boys are accurately depicted in abductions. Representations of Helen as adult are interpreted as expressing Greek discomfort with sexuality among children and the elderly.

    Find this resource:

  • Grossman, Janet Burnett. “Forever Young: An Investigation of the Depictions of Children on Classical Attic Funerary Monuments.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 309–322. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Hundreds of Greek gravestones depict elite children three ways: a child alone, often with pets and toys, and/or with a same-sex slave depicted in miniature; a child within a family; and child slaves. In depictions, boys are nude but girls are dressed and sometimes hold dolls. Most children depicted in families are girl slaves. Boy slaves are common in the numerous gravestones of young men. Inscriptions and depictions express parental grief.

    Find this resource:

  • Lawton, Carol L. “Children in Classical Attic Votive Reliefs.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 41–61. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes formulaic bas-reliefs for socially constructed Greek gendered childhood categories depicted through clothing: babies in draperies, except for bare male chests; toddlers (males nude, females clothed) with nurses; prepubescent girls and boys and postpubescent male youths and maidens in adult dress (males in togas, females in dresses). Children are depicted participating in rituals: animal sacrifices, family worship, or family presentation of older boy or girl to Herakles or a goddess, respectively.

    Find this resource:

  • Marinescu, Constantin A., Sarah E. Cox, and Rudolf Wachter. “Paideia’s Children: Childhood Education on a Group of Late Antique Mosaics.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 101–115. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    There are few images of children’s education. Analyzes a group of 5th-century CE Greek floor mosaics depicting episodes in the life of a wealthy boy named Kimbros, including his birth, early childhood in the home, primary education, punishments, and later formal schooling. Textual comparisons aided interpretation. Mentions that sarcophagi sometimes show, in vignettes of the life of the dead, a student recitation to a teacher.

    Find this resource:

  • McNiven, Timothy J. “Behaving Like a Child: Immature Gestures in Athenian Vase Painting.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 85–101. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes beliefs about childhood stages from the increasing number and specificity of gestures with age, compared by gender. Baby gestures are the most limited and generic. Gestures of boys, girls, and women show fear, alarm, despair, supplication, weakness, and cowardice. Gestures of male youths increasingly show male self-control and courage. Homosexual courting scenes by adult men show a shift from enthusiastic boys to reserve or even rejection by young men.

    Find this resource:

  • Smith, May C. “Komos Growing Up among Satyrs and Children.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 153–171. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Red-figure vases of the High Classical period, 450–400 BCE, picture a boy at various ages from three to twenty years. Komos is unusual in appearing both in mythical and human genre contexts, moving between divine satyr and mortal. Komos means “the Carouse.” Focuses on transition from a youthful satyr in the retinue of Dionysus, to a human boy conducting normal youthful activities in the human world. Satyr depiction distances humans from negative behaviors induced by too-much wine in the symposium.

    Find this resource:

Italy and the Roman Empire

Publications on Italy include Etrusco-Italic elements in the Greek colony of Paestum, followed by Roman official art depicting patriarchal families of father and children, stereotypic adult gender roles depicted on children’s grave monuments and sarcophagi, emotional inscriptions and grave goods for both genders, and equal evidence of childhood health in Rome and London. Ammerman 2007 shows that 6th–4th-century BCE figurines blending Greek and Etrusco-Italic elements were deposited mostly at Italic Temples in Paestum, representing an Etrusco-Italic practice, probably by local wives, of rituals for fertility and infant welfare in a society with high child mortality. Uzzi 2007 analyzes public monumental “official art” sanctioned by the Roman ruling elite. Private, powerless women were excluded from Roman patriarchal family portraits but were prominent in depictions of conquered ethnic families as often separated from their children, with husbands in the background. Huskinson 2007 analyzes Roman children’s funerary monuments and finds a predominance of boys depicted to portray family status on freedmen’s family tomb reliefs, while more-individual emotional expressions about the premature death of children are inscribed on altars equally for girls and boys. Reliefs on sarcophagi depicted girls as Venus or playing music at home, while boys are shown in public roles ranging from play and education to serving as soldiers and orators. Derks 2006 challenges the traditional interpretation of a “Celtic” healing cult from votive inscriptions and stone statues of children in the sanctuary of Lenus Mars, just outside the Roman city of Treves, Germany. The author reinterprets the iconography of statues of children playing with pets, for example, in the classical Roman context of emblematic genre representation of childhood rites of passage. D’Ambra 2007 analyzes the popularity of depictions on sarcophagi of chariot races involving cupids, noting that the symbolism of cupids, who live forever as children, softens death in the race of life. Curse tablets that people used to magically affect the outcome of races were sometimes deposited in graves of children because of their power to rise from the dead and to intervene in the races. Holes in horses’ manes and hooves were thought to hold good luck charms of bronze, gilt, or jewels. Gowland and Redfern 2010 provides osteological evidence of comparable childhood health in Rome and London, which is contrary to expectations. London was found to be anomalous in a comparison with other urban and rural sites in Roman Britain, while Rome was comparable to other sites in Italy. These findings are explained in terms of childrearing practices, the local living environment, and high levels of migration to Roman London from Mediterranean regions. Pitarakis 2009 critiques Philippe Ariès’s overgeneralizations about the lack of a childhood for ancient children and gives evidence of Byzantine artifacts designed especially for children, including toys, as well as clothing and miniature jewelry for the early betrothal of girls.

  • Ammerman, Rebecca M. “Children at Risk: Votive Terracottas and the Welfare of Infants at Paestum.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 131–151. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Thousands of figurines excavated from eighteen 6th–4th-century BCE sanctuaries include, most commonly, modeled uteri and swaddled infants, and sometimes goddesses. Figurines blending Greek and Etrusco-Italic elements were deposited mostly at Italic temples to goddesses Hera, Aphrodite, and “Iova,” representing the introduction of an Etrusco-Italic practice, probably by local wives, of depositing figurines used in rituals for fertility and infant welfare in a society with high child mortality.

    Find this resource:

  • D’Ambra, Eve. “Racing with Death: Circus Sarcophagi and the Commemoration of Children in Roman Italy.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 339–351. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Peaking around 150–175 CE, the cupids’ chariot race was a very popular relief on children’s sarcophagi. Depictions of cupids, who live forever as children, softened the death shown in the race. Images of charioteers or their horses were good luck charms. Curse tablets inscribed by people trying to magically affect races were sometimes deposited in graves of children, who were thought to have power to intervene in races.

    Find this resource:

  • Derks, Ton. “Le grand sanctuaire de Lenus Mars à Trèves et ses dédicaces privées: Une reinterpretation.” In Sanctuaires, pratiques cultuelles et territoires civiques dans l’Occident Romain. Edited by Monique Dondin-Payre and Marie-Thérèse Raepsaet-Charlier, 239–270. Brussels: Le Livre Timperman, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Derks challenges the accepted interpretation of a “Celtic” healing cult from votive inscriptions and stone statues of children from the sanctuary of Lenus Mars, just outside the Roman city of Treves, Germany. He suggests a reinterpretation of the meaning of the iconography of statues of children playing with pets, for instance, in the context of classical Roman emblematic genre representations of childhood rites of passage connected with coming of age.

    Find this resource:

  • Gowland, Rebecca, and Rebecca Redfern. “Childhood Health in the Roman World: Perspectives from the Centre and Margin of the Empire.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 3.1 (2010): 15–42.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of osteological data revealed comparable evidence of childhood health in Rome and London, contrary to expectations. However, London was found to be anomalous in a comparison with other urban and rural sites in Roman Britain, while Rome was comparable to other sites in Italy. These findings were explained in terms of childrearing practices, the local living environment, and high levels of migration to Roman London from Mediterranean regions.

    Find this resource:

  • Huskinson, Janet. “Constructing Childhood on Roman Funerary Memorials.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 323–338. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comparative analysis of family reliefs on tomb buildings, individual busts or figures in altars, and bas-reliefs on sarcophagi. Freedmen predominantly bought tomb reliefs to express family status, especially the freeborn status of their children (usually symbolized with one male child), and also altars for more-emotional expressions in inscriptions and bas-reliefs of individual children of both genders. Sarcophagi reliefs depicted active children in life biographies, including play, education, etc.

    Find this resource:

  • Pitarakis, Brigitte. “The Material Culture of Childhood in Byzantium.” In Becoming Byzantine: Children and Childhood in Byzantium. Edited by Arietta Papaconstantinou and Alice-Mary Talbot, 167–252. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques Philippe Ariès’s contention that premodern children lived in a world materially identical, in miniature, to that of adults, with evidence of Byzantine artifacts designed for children: toys, clothes, and jewels due to early betrothal. Argues that such special artifacts resulted from strong feelings of affection for children.

    Find this resource:

  • Uzzi, Jeanine Diddle. “The Power of Parenthood in Official Roman Art.” In Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. Edited by Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, 61–85. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In bas-reliefs, families are portrayed as children with fathers, sometimes with goddesses, but very rarely with mothers, symbolizing the importance of the paternal lineage and the responsibility and power of fathers for children, as well as the private, powerless roles of mothers. The non-Roman family unit of children and mother is depicted as conquered and often separated, with fathers in the background or absent.

    Find this resource:

Children in Ancient Mesoamerican Cultures

These studies analyze material culture, and documents that can be translated, to reconstruct cultural constructions of childhood stages, socialization and education, and children’s material culture, roles, experiences, and social agency. Many studies critique the projection of modern conceptions of children as passive consumers back onto past cultures. Ardren and Hutson 2006 is an edited volume that covers critiques and a great diversity of children’s roles, from the Olmecs through the Aztecs. Ardren 2006 argues children are significant social agents in cultural innovation and transmission. Traci Ardren argues that childhood does not exist in all cultures, and that archaeologists identify state-defined characteristics of age grades, including economic and social roles. She also argues that infant sacrifice was a form of widespread systematic violence normalized within a complex cultural framework of interdependency between human and divine, individual and state, adult and child. Follensbee 2006 analyzes Olmec art and grave goods to argue that children held high ascribed status in the highly stratified society of the Formative period. Rich burials of elite adolescents indicate they were powerful autonomous individuals, while other boys and girls were powerless and subject to ritual sacrifices. Storey and McAnany 2006 analyzes mortuary patterns that reveal age differentiation in the Formative-period Maya village of K’Axob. Infants and toddlers were usually buried with adults, but older children’s burials were increasingly elaborate with age, including miniature pots not found with adults. Joyce 1999 shows that Preclassic juvenile graves tended to contain the greatest number and diversity of artifacts, indicating more-elaborate mortuary ceremony, to reinforce the ties between the parents’ two families that were weakened by a child’s death. Trachman and Valdez 2006 identifies in the San Bartolo mural (100 BCE) Mayan symbolization of girlhood in the form of a spondylus shell hung from the waist, which was deposited in graves of young females at least as far back as the Terminal Classic period. Other female gender-symbolic ornaments buried in graves of two- to nine-year-olds with these shells further confirm them as female markers. McCafferty and McCafferty 2006 analyzes mortuary evidence of children from Postclassic Cholula, Puebla, Mexico, finding infant burials without grave goods, possibly indicating they were nonpersons, while children’s burials varied greatly in wealth of grave goods, including toys, figurines indicating socialization, and more beads than adult graves (indicating ascribed status). Tiesler 2011 analyzes the symbolic and multifaceted roles of pre-Hispanic head shaping in expressing identity, status, ethnicity, and upbringing within Mesoamerican biosocial and ideological schemes.

  • Ardren, Traci. “Setting the Table: Why Children and Childhood Are Important in an Understanding of Ancient Mesoamerica.” In The Social Experience of Childhood in Ancient Mesoamerica. Edited by Traci Ardren and Scott R. Hutson, 3–22. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques assumption of Western conceptions of childhood. Argues that children are significant social agents in cultural innovation and transmission. Notes that childhood doesn’t exist in all cultures, and that archaeologists identify state-defined characteristics of age grades, including economic and social roles. Normalized state violence of infant sacrifice was widespread—tears of dying children were thought to be magically effective in drawing rain, and weeping of parents was essential to the ceremony. Examines culturally constructed interdependencies: human-divine, individual-state, adult-child.

    Find this resource:

  • Ardren, Traci, and Scott R. Hutson, eds. The Social Experience of Childhood in Ancient Mesoamerica. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Aims to advance discourse about a culturally specific definition of childhood, and to uncover fundamental life experiences overlooked in Western conceptions of children as passive, domestic, and cared for only by mothers. Covers children’s roles from kings to agricultural laborers, child rearers, and domestic craft producers and examines ritual purity in infant sacrifices. Burials reveal interrupted socialization, along with age, gender, and class differences in grave goods and bodily ornaments. Olmec child sculptures are reinterpreted.

    Find this resource:

  • Follensbee, Billie. “The Child and the Childlike in Olmec Art and Archaeology.” In The Social Experience of Childhood in Ancient Mesoamerica. Edited by Traci Ardren and Scott R. Hutson, 249–281. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1006/jaar.2000.0367Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Stone sculptures, carvings, offerings, deposits, and burials reveal the importance of children in society. The rich burials of elite adolescents indicate they were powerful, autonomous individuals. Stone sculptures and elaborate burials of elite children of both sexes indicate high ascribed status and significant social stratification in the Formative period. Sculptures and archaeological evidence indicate some boys and girls were ritual sacrifices, who are interpreted as powerless.

    Find this resource:

  • Joyce, Rosemary A. “Social Dimensions of Pre-Classic Burials.” In Social Patterns in Pre-Classic Mesoamerica: A Symposium at Dumbarton Oaks, 9 and 10 October 1993. Edited by David C. Grove and Rosemary A. Joyce, 15–47. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Preclassic Mesoamerican juvenile graves tend to contain the greatest number and diversity of artifacts, indicating a more elaborate mortuary ceremony, to reinforce the ties between the parents’ two families that were weakened by a child’s death. Juveniles were buried wearing only incomplete versions of standardized costumes indicating status, suggesting that only adults could wear the full costume.

    Find this resource:

  • McCafferty, Geoffrey G., and Sharisse D. McCafferty. “Boys and Girls Interrupted: Mortuary Evidence of Children from Postclassic Cholula, Puebla.” In The Social Experience of Childhood in Ancient Mesoamerica. Edited by Traci Ardren and Scott R. Hutson, 25–52. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    More age-related than sex-related variation was found in grave goods. Compared with adults, more variation in children’s burial orientation may relate to the belief in a separate paradise for young children. Infants without grave goods may have been nonpersons. Children’s burials included toys, and more beads than in adult graves. Figurines and other artifacts indicated socialization into adult gender roles. Children’s burials varied greatly in wealth of grave goods. Adult burials more often included pottery.

    Find this resource:

  • Storey, Rebecca, and Patricia A. McAnany. “Children of K’Axob: Premature Death in a Formative Maya Village.” In The Social Experience of Childhood in Ancient Mesoamerica. Edited by Traci Ardren and Scott R. Hutson, 53–72. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Mortuary patterns reveal age differentiation. Neonates, infants, and toddlers were usually buried with adults. Older children’s burials were increasingly elaborate with age, often including small bowls rarely found with adults, while only adult burials included certain large pots. Some children were curated for burial later, with other individuals, interpreted as family members. This variability suggests a lack of strictly prescribed burial practices for children in this period.

    Find this resource:

  • Tiesler, Vera. “Becoming Maya: Infancy and Upbringing through the Lens of Pre-Hispanic Head Shaping.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 4.1 (2011): 117–132.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes two thousand skulls in conjunction with iconographic depictions and ethnohistorical information about Maya practices of cranial deformation. Discusses the symbolic and multifaceted roles of head shaping in expressing identity, status, ethnicity, and upbringing within Mesoamerican biosocial and ideological schemes. Explores the possibility that head shaping was an active method of female caretakers to reproduce ideology and gender.

    Find this resource:

  • Trachman, Rissa M., and Fred Valdez Jr. “Identifying Childhood among the Ancient Maya: Evidence toward Social Reproduction at the Dancer Household Group in Northwestern Belize.” In The Social Experience of Childhood in Ancient Mesoamerica. Edited by Traci Ardren and Scott R. Hutson, 73–103. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The San Bartolo mural (100 BCE) indicates long-term continuity in girls wearing a spondylus shell hanging from the waist, since such shells were deposited in graves of young females as far back as the Terminal Classic and possibly the Preclassic, when only a few graves included these shells. Other ornaments symbolic of female gender that were buried in graves of two- to nine-year-olds with these shells further confirm them as female markers.

    Find this resource:

Children in Ancient North American Cultures

Classen 2002 analyzes bioarchaeological data from the Middle Woodland period of the American Midwest and finds evidence that the transition from foraging to agriculture involved a markedly increased workload for women and small children. Mensforth, et al. 1978 is the first study focused on the health of children in the past, finding a prevalence of anemia and infection in 452 infants and children from a Late Woodland ossuary in Ohio. Kamp 2002 is an edited volume that originated in a symposium on the US Southwest at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Philadelphia in 2000. The book provides an introduction linking the neglect of children and women to the weaker end of the dichotomies of male/female and adult/child. It argues against projecting into the past the Western conceptions of children as incomplete, childhood as a separate stage of life without work, and the limitation of toys to children, since these are recent historical developments. Instead, children are considered social agents who actively negotiate the construction of their own lives; they may have high-status grave goods. The volume chapters cover the increase in cranial deformation with agriculture due to changes in infant cradle practices, evidence of children learning to create ceramics by making miniatures, depictions indicating a long-term practice of hairstyles visually marking postpubertal unmarried girls, and evidence of health and mortuary practices. Whittlesey 2002 temporally compares three pueblos connecting high population densities with increasingly depleted farmland and gendered dietary differences leading to maternal maize malnutrition, very high fetal and infant mortality, and subadult skeletal evidence of dietary anemia and malnutrition. Children’s subfloor burials included increasing numbers of painted pots related to increasing age after infancy. Variations in burials suggest multiple ethnic or social subgroups. Lowest mortality was among ten- to fifteen-year-olds. Women and children held a similar nonritual status, compared to the ritual status of men. Kamp 2009 analyzes how increasing levels of violence in the Northern Sinagua area near modern Flagstaff, Arizona, led to the abandonment of dispersed field houses and aggregation into larger and increasingly fortified settlements where children had larger peer groups, fewer tasks that took them far away from their settlement, and less participation in ceramic manufacture, reducing children’s preparation for adult tasks. Bradley 2002 links ideology to childrearing practices visible in skeletal remains and their location in the ritual center and residential site of Sand Canyon Pueblo in the US Southwest. Unburied adolescents and adults with evidence of trauma causing death indicate an attack on the relatively well-nourished pueblo just prior to its abandonment. In an analysis of long-bone lengths and gestational age distributions of colonial-period Arikara perinatal infant skeletons, Owsley and Jantz 1985 finds evidence of malnutrition and maternal stress resulting from European colonization.

  • Bradley, Cynthia S. “Thoughts Count: Ideology and the Children of Sand Canyon Pueblo.” In Children in the Prehistoric Puebloan Southwest. Edited by Kathryn A. Kamp, 125–152. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002.

    DOI: 10.1525/aa.1923.25.4.02a00080Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Ideology is linked to childrearing practices visible in skeletal remains and their location in this ritual center and residential site. Burials show the population was relatively well nourished, possibly due to ritual feasting. Nine of twenty adolescents between twelve and twenty years of age, and five adults, were unburied and show some evidence of trauma causing death, apparently during an attack on the pueblo just before its abandonment.

    Find this resource:

  • Classen, Cheryl. “Mother’s Workloads and Children’s Labor during the Woodland Period.” In Pursuit of Gender: Worldwide Archaeological Approaches. Edited by Sarah Milledge Nelson and Myriam Rosen-Ayalon, 225–238. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of bioarchaeological data from the Middle Woodland period of the American Midwest found evidence that the transition from foraging to agriculture involved a markedly increased workload for women and small children.

    Find this resource:

  • Kamp, Kathryn A., ed. Children in the Prehistoric Puebloan Southwest. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Archaeological neglect of children is connected to the devaluation of women in the modern gender dichotomy. The book argues that children are social agents, and that age grades are culturally and materially constructed. Analyses of burials show that high infant mortality, child malnutrition, and disease increased with agriculture. The low quantity and variability of grave goods suggest that children held a different status from adults. Cranial deformation is linked to agriculture. Analyses of crude pottery provide evidence of children’s activities, socialization, and learning.

    Find this resource:

  • Kamp, Kathryn A. “Children in an Increasingly Violent Social Landscape: A Case Study from the American Southwest.” Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 2.1 (2009): 71–85.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Considers how children’s experiences changed due to increasing levels of violence in the Northern Sinagua area near modern Flagstaff, Arizona, which led to the abandonment of dispersed field houses and aggregation into larger and increasingly fortified settlements, where children had larger peer groups, fewer tasks that took them far away from their settlement, and less participation in ceramic manufacture, reducing children’s preparation for adult tasks.

    Find this resource:

  • Mensforth, Robert P., C. Owen Lovejoy, John W. Lallo, and George J. Armelagos. “Part Two: The Role of Constitutional Factors, Diet, and Infectious Disease in the Etiology of Porotic Hyperostosis and Periosteal Reactions in Prehistoric Infants and Children.” Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness 2.1 (1978): 1–59.

    DOI: 10.1080/01459740.1978.9986939Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Earliest study focused on the health of children in the past. Examines the prevalence of anemia and infection in 452 infants and children from the Late Woodland ossuary sample from the Libben site in Ottawa County, Ohio.

    Find this resource:

  • Owsley, Douglas W., and Richard L. Jantz. “Long Bone Lengths and Gestational Age Distributions of Post-contact Period Arikara Perinatal Infant Skeletons.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 68.3 (1985): 321–328.

    DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1330680303Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Found evidence of changes in child health between 1600 and 1835 CE as a result of malnutrition and maternal stress resulting from colonization by European settlers.

    Find this resource:

  • Whittlesey, Stephanie M. “The Cradle of Death: Mortuary Practices, Bioarchaeology, and the Children of Grasshopper Pueblo.” In Children in the Prehistoric Puebloan Southwest. Edited by Kathryn A. Kamp, 152–169. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Temporal comparison of three pueblos indicates high population densities with increasingly depleted farmland and gendered dietary differences leading to maternal maize malnutrition, very high fetal and infant mortality, and subadult skeletal evidence of dietary anemia and malnutrition. Lowest mortality in ten- to fifteen-year-olds. Children’s subfloor burials included more painted pots with age after infancy. Variations in burials suggest multiple ethnic or social subgroups. Only men had ritual status.

    Find this resource:

Children in Ancient South American Cultures

Many children’s burials excavated in South America offer unusual preservation due to (1) the extreme dryness of Peruvian coastal deserts and (2) frozen mountain burials. Sillar 1994 interprets the meaning of Incan child sacrificial burials frozen in high mountain glaciers with miniature silver and gold animals and people, from ethnographic and documentary records of children’s perceived powerful ability in prayer and communication with gods through play, as well as the high honor attached to sacrifice. Ethnographic observations show that miniatures were made for play by children but were also used by adults in household rituals, in curings, in burnt offerings, and at shrines for good fortune in the future.

  • Sillar, Bill “Playing with God: Cultural Perceptions of Children, Play and Miniatures in the Andes.” Archaeological Review from Cambridge 13.2 (1994): 47–64.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Mostly ethnographic evidence of children’s roles in household economies, and learning through imitation to make small pots, figurines, and stone houses used in play. Miniatures are used by adults in household rituals, curings, and burnt offerings, and at shrines. Children’s perceived powerful ability in prayer and communication with gods through play explains their sacrifice on mountains, which was considered an honor. Miniature animal and human figures were included in their graves.

    Find this resource:

Historical Archaeology of Children and Childhood

Most research on children in historical archaeology is integrated into broader research topics, such as a society’s social-status structure, mothering, parenting, socialization, education, and household activities, as well as children’s lives and activities in orphanages, schools, brothels, the military, prisons, and socializing institutions. The few publications focused on children and childhood include such words in their titles. Whelan 1991 argues that Dakota Native American children were akin to a separate gender, on the basis of distinctive grave goods compared with those in women’s and men’s graves in an 1830s graveyard in Minnesota. Calvert 1992 analyzes temporal changes in Euro-American conceptions of childhood from 1600 to 1900, as represented in portraits, artifacts, clothing, and childrearing devices. Barrett and Blakey 2011 discusses the bioarchaeology in life histories of enslaved Africans on the basis of excavated interments in the New York African Burial Ground, comparing social causes of enamel hypoplasias and Harris lines due to childhood malnutrition with adult arthritis and rickets. Danforth 2004 analyzes cemetery records in Natchez, Mississippi, and finds a decrease in child and maternal mortality after the US Civil War, but an increase in tuberculosis. The records also reveal differences in causes of death due to boys’ and girls’ work. Lindauer 2009 analyzes archaeological evidence from the 19th-century Phoenix Indian School indicating the attempted Americanization of Hopi children, as well as evidence of the children’s resistant activities. Casella 2012 reports on excavations at the Ross “female factory” prison that opened in 1847 in Tasmania, where mothers were separated from their children at nine months. Analysis of the prison layout showed that mothers would suffer from being able to hear but not see their children hidden behind the nursery ward walls. Lack of child-specific artifacts excavated from the nursery led to the interpretation of large serving spoons as possible toys because they were found under floors where food was not prepared. Wilkie 2000 critiques the focus in historical archaeology on adult intentions in providing toys to children, rather than on children’s actions. It mostly interprets African American children’s possible roles in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as their play in spaces hidden from parental surveillance. Broken white dolls and discarded miniature teawares are interpreted as African American girls’ resistance to socialization as servants for their white mistresses. Highly fragmented doll heads excavated at a middle-class white domestic site were interpreted as evidence of an older daughter acting out distress over the loss of parental attention at the birth of a younger sister. Moore 2009 relates toys excavated from family tents of striking Colorado coal miners to their creation and maintenance of American, Victorian, and ethnic identities. Bunow 2009 relates an increase in the number and diversity of children’s materials after the Civil War in upstate New York to Victorian discourses on specific children’s material culture required for successful middle-class families. Spencer-Wood 1991 includes analyses of probable archaeological remains such as toys and equipment from American reform women’s institutions for children around the turn of the 20th century. See also Ketz, et al. 2005, cited under Spatial Distribution of Children’s Artifacts and Activities; Spencer-Wood 2003, under Children as Social Agents in Play; and Spencer-Wood 1996, under Children as Social Agents/Actors in Their Socialization.

  • Barrett, Autumn R., and Michael L. Blakey. “Life Histories of Enslaved Africans in Colonial New York: A Bioarchaeological Study of the New York African Burial Ground.” In Social Bioarchaeology. Edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 212–251. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology 14. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781444390537Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Detailed analysis of enamel hypoplasias and Harris lines due to childhood malnutrition. Adult enlarged muscle attachments, early arthritis, and rickets are discussed. Historical context is provided, including stresses of transportation of slaves from Africa, and slave owners’ lack of desire to care for children or elderly slaves.

    Find this resource:

  • Bunow, Miriam J. “The Archaeology of Childhood: Toys in 19th Century Upstate New York”. MA thesis, State University of New York at Binghamton, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    US Victorian discourses on childhood were written by and for the urban middle class, and they emphasized certain attributes and specific children’s materials for successful middle-class families. The similarity in children’s toys and other material culture at rural and urban sites, including a similar increase in the number and diversity of children’s toys and materials after the Civil War, suggests possible lower-class upward social mobility through acquiring middle-class childrearing materials.

    Find this resource:

  • Calvert, Karin. Children in the House: The Material Culture of Childhood in America, 1600–1900. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Artifacts, childrearing devices, and portraits are used to analyze temporal changes in conceptions of childhood. Childhood did not exist for New England Puritans, who put children to work as soon as possible up until the mid-18th century. Children and women wore feminine clothing, but boys shifted to breeches at age seven. The subsequent extension of childhood, especially in the middle and upper classes, was expressed in specific material culture, including dress.

    Find this resource:

  • Casella, Eleanor Conlin. “Little Bastard Felons: Childhood, Affect, and Labour in the Penal Colonies of Nineteenth-Century Australia.” In The Archaeology of Colonialism: Intimate Encounters and Sexual Effects. Edited by Barbara L. Voss and Eleanor Conlin Casella, 31–48. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Children were transported from Britain as criminals, or with mothers convicted of crimes, including women who became pregnant when assigned to work outside prison. Casella reports on the excavation of the nursery ward of the 1847 Ross Female Factory, a prison where children were separated from their mothers at nine months. The lack of child-specific artifacts excavated from the nursery led to the interpretation of large serving spoons as possible toys.

    Find this resource:

  • Danforth, Marie Elaine. “African American Men, Women, and Children in Nineteenth-Century Natchez, Mississippi: An Analysis of the City Cemetery Sexton’s Records.” In Engendering African American Archaeology: A Southern Perspective. Edited by Jillian E. Galle and Amy L. Young, 237–263. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Records for 2,468 burials showed a postbellum decrease in child mortality and maternal deaths in childbirth, probably due to better access to food as servants rather than as slaves. However, tuberculosis was more frequent among women and children as a result of lower resistance to disease, indicating poorer nutrition and lower status than men. Records revealed deaths due to differences in boys’ and girls’ work.

    Find this resource:

  • Lindauer, Owen. “Individual Struggles and Institutional Goals: Small Voices from the Phoenix Indian School Track Site.” In The Archaeology of Institutional Life. Edited by April M. Beisaw and James G. Gibb, 86–105. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents material evidence of attempted Americanization of Hopi children to use individual items such as plates and toothbrushes, and material evidence of their resistant activities, including flaking of plates, a nonlocal stone tool, and symbolic items.

    Find this resource:

  • Moore, Summer. “Working Parents and the Material Culture of Victorianism: Children’s Toys at the Ludlow Tent Colony.” In The Archaeology of Class War: The Colorado Coalfield Strike of 1913–1914. Edited by Karin Larkin and Randall H. McGuire, 285–311. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines play as an important tool for socialization and identity construction in the formative younger childhood years. Analyzes toys excavated from family tents of coal miners in Colorado on strike in 1913. Relates toys to the creation and maintenance of social, American, Victorian, and ethnic identities.

    Find this resource:

  • Spencer-Wood, Suzanne “Toward an Historical Archaeology of Materialistic Domestic Reform.” In The Archaeology of Inequality. Edited by Randall H. McGuire and Robert Paynter, 231–287. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In the context of the development of women’s many social-reform movements around the turn of the 20th century, the materialization of reform women’s institutions for children is analyzed with regard to probable archaeological remains at sites of day nurseries, infant schools, kindergartens, kitchen gardens, Montessori schools, and industrial schools for girls. Sites of children’s institutions, especially in poor neighborhoods, were more likely to leave archaeological remains than were adult sites.

    Find this resource:

  • Whelan, Mary K. “Gender and Historical Archaeology: Eastern Dakota Patterns in the 19th Century.” Historical Archaeology 25.4 (1991): 17–32.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that children were akin to a separate gender, on the basis of distinctive grave goods compared with those in women’s and men’s graves in a historical Dakota graveyard in Minnesota.

    Find this resource:

  • Wilkie, Laurie A. “Not Merely Child’s Play: Creating a Historical Archaeology of Children and Childhood.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 100–114. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques the neglect in historical archaeology of analyzing children as actors. Most analyses focus on adult intentions in providing toys to children, just noting use and discard by children. Wilkie focuses on the 19th century, with interpretations mostly of African American children’s possible roles in food acquisition for slave families, barter exchange networks among sharecroppers, purposely destroying white dolls, discarding miniature teawares, and playing in spaces hidden from adult surveillance and control.

    Find this resource:

Ethnoarchaeology of Children

Ethnoarchaeology involves ethnographic observations of the material culture children use to accomplish different cultural roles, behaviors, practices, and actions. Models of activity patterns, and the meanings and functions of artifacts, can be generated from ethnoarchaeological studies both for particular cultures and for different types of cultures. Chamberlain 2000 considers children as a future investment and compares population age structures for modern hunter-gatherers, Western cultures, and excavated skeletons to discuss the many factors resulting in the archaeological underrepresentation of children. Kamp 2002 contrasts Western experiences of children with cross-cultural ethnographies, showing that children usually made various significant economic contributions to housework, foraging, or fieldwork in gendered roles. Kathryn Kamp extends Janet Spector’s task differentiation framework to analyze abilities of different ages. Bugarin 2005 materially identifies children’s economic activities in hunter-gatherer and settled pastoral communities as models for archaeological distributions of artifacts and activity areas associated with child behaviors and autonomy. Flordeliz Bugarin advocates Spector’s task differentiation framework to identify children’s subsistence tasks. Bird and Bird 2000 examines adult and child patterns of shellfishing in the Eastern Torres Strait, showing that inexperienced children collected and ate a wide variety of less valuable shellfish, depositing the shells in small middens outside the settlement. Adults exclusively collected the most-profitable and difficult-to-gather shellfish farther out in deeper water, depositing the shells in separate middens. Keith 2005 summarizes ethnographic studies of gender-based material strategies in the transfer of cultural knowledge from adults to children in three hunter-gatherer societies. Greenfield 2000, a diachronic ethnoarchaeological study of three generations of informal Maya weaving education, shows that a shift occurred with the development of an entrepreneurial cash economy, as children went from socialization to reproduce traditional patterns, to a learning method using new tools such as paper patterns to produce an infinite variety of figurative and geometric patterns. Fewkes 1923 is an early report on a collection of clay figurines representing people, domestic animals, and a few objects, which were so cleverly made by a four-year-old Navaho child on her own, without any help, that the author thought white children could rarely produce such fine items. Buchli and Lucas 2000 is an unusually archaeological approach: the authors examined a modern apartment that had been abandoned by its residents, and the material remains were used to reconstruct room uses, artifact meanings, and activity patterns within and across different rooms.

  • Bird, Douglas W., and Rebecca Bliege Bird. “The Ethnoarchaeology of Juvenile Foragers: Shellfishing Strategies among Meriam Children.” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 19.4 (2000): 461–476.

    DOI: 10.1006/jaar.2000.0367Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines different adult and child patterns of shellfishing in the Eastern Torres Strait on the Great Barrier Reef. Found that due to inexperience, children tended to collect a wider variety of less valuable shellfish, to eat them, and to deposit the shells in small middens outside the settlement. Adults could exclusively collect the most-profitable and difficult-to-gather shellfish farther out in deeper water, and they deposited the shells in separate middens.

    Find this resource:

  • Buchli, Victor, and Gavin Lucas. “Children, Gender and the Material Culture of Domestic Abandonment in the Late Twentieth Century.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 131–139. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contextualized within a historically changing discourse structuring childhood and motherhood, this chapter presents an analysis of the distribution of material culture abandoned in the state-supported apartment of a single mother of two in Britain. Reconstructs room uses by children and adults, including the visiting father. Toys and better quality of children’s than mother’s clothing, as well as mother’s construction of “neverland” child’s room, interpreted from wallpaper and toys, provide evidence of mother’s “sacrificial shopping.”

    Find this resource:

  • Bugarin, Flordeliz T. “Constructing an Archaeology of Children: Studying Children and Child Material Culture from the African Past.” In Special Issue: Children in Action: Perspectives on the Archaeology of Childhoods. Edited by Jane Eva Baxter. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 15.1 (2005): 13–27.

    DOI: 10.1525/ap3a.2005.15.13Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Materially identifies children’s economic activities in hunter-gatherer and settled pastoral communities as models for archaeological distributions of artifacts and activity areas associated with child behaviors and autonomy. Advocates Spector’s task differentiation framework to identify children’s subsistence tasks. Division of labor by gendered age sets is integral to community success. Ethnographic studies can increase our understanding of the archaeological evidence of children’s play and work.

    Find this resource:

  • Chamberlain, Andrew. “Minor Concerns: A Demographic Perspective on Children in Past Societies.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 206–212. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Compares population age structures for hunter-gatherers, Western populations, and excavated skeletons. Discusses many factors resulting in archaeological underrepresentation of children, including separate burial places, decay, and loss. Preindustrial children are usually a net economic cost, and a wasted investment the older they die, explaining the practice of infanticide. The author argues that children are a future investment, exemplified in childhood betrothals and marriages, and the pledging of children’s work for a financial loan in some modern developing countries.

    Find this resource:

  • Fewkes, J. Walter. “Clay Figurines Made by Navaho Children.” American Anthropologist 25.4 (1923): 559–563.

    DOI: 10.1525/aa.1923.25.4.02a00080Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Very early report on a collection of clay figurines representing men, women, babies, and domestic animals (sheep, goats, horses, etc.), along with objects such as a saddle, a cup, and a baby carriage. The figurines were produced by a four-year-old Navaho child on her own, without any help, and were so cleverly made the author thought white children could rarely produce such fine items.

    Find this resource:

  • Greenfield, Patricia. “Children, Material Culture and Weaving: Historical Change and Developmental Change.” In Children and Material Culture. Edited by Joanna Sofaer Derevenski, 72–87. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Ethnoarchaeological diachronic study of three generations of Mayan informal weaving education found a shift from socialization to reproduce traditional patterns, when agriculture was the primary subsistence, to a learning method using new tools such as paper patterns to produce an infinite variety of figurative and geometric patterns, with the development of an entrepreneurial cash economy.

    Find this resource:

  • Kamp, Kathryn A. “Working for a Living: Childhood in the Prehistoric Southwestern Pueblos.” In Children in the Prehistoric Puebloan Southwest. Edited by Kathryn A. Kamp, 71–90. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques projections into the past of Western experiences of children as a drain on resources, time consuming, unproductive, and limiting women’s roles. Cross-cultural ethnographies show that children usually made various significant economic contributions to housework and foraging or fieldwork in gendered roles that required extensive time but not intensive concentration. Extends Spector’s task differentiation framework to analyze abilities of different ages, from collecting fuel and water to childcare and learning crafts.

    Find this resource:

  • Keith, Kathryn. “Childhood Learning and the Distribution of Knowledge in Foraging Societies.” In Special Issue: Children in Action: Perspectives on the Archaeology of Childhoods. Edited by Jane Eva Baxter. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 15.1 (2005): 27–41.

    DOI: 10.1525/ap3a.2005.15.27Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Summarizes ethnographic studies of gender-based material strategies in the transfer of cultural knowledge from adults to children in three hunter-gatherer societies. Relates socialization strategies, differential distributions of knowledge, and patterns of decision making in each society.

    Find this resource:

LAST MODIFIED: 10/28/2014

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199791231-0141

back to top

Article

Up

Down