Upcoming meetings | Childhood bioarchaeology

This page serves to provide information on upcoming sessions and conferences in the sub-field of infant and child bioarchaeology. If you would like to share meeting information here email me at sian.halcrow@otago.ac.nz

Upcoming conference sessions

Society for American Archaeology, 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, April 2016.

Session: On the Move: Archaeological approaches to children and childhood (Sponsored by Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past).

Chairs: Dawn Hadley and Traci Ardren.

View preliminary program here

American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 85th Annual Meeting, Atlanta, April 2016.

Session: Early-life stress in the past: bioarchaeological approaches to the evolution and ecology of human life history

Chair: Daniel Temple

World Archaeological Congress (WAC-8), Kyoto, August-September 2016.

Session: T10-C Births, mothers and babies: a bioarchaeological perspective

Organisers: Sofija Stefanovic and Gwenaëlle Goude

Abstract: Although births, mothers and babies present key pillars for human survival, their role has not been adequately studied, either by physical anthropology or archaeology. The attitudes of past communities towards pregnancy, birth and neonatal care must have played a key role in the success of the birthing process, but these have also not been satisfactorily addressed in archaeological writing. The aim of this session is to provide an overview of bioarchaeological research into the place of births, mothers and babies in ancient populations across time and space. Contributions will use multidisciplinary approaches and improved methodologies to address the roles and circumstances of birthing in human evolution. New methods for studying pregnancy, breastfeeding-weaning and social status of women and children, eg., through studies of nutrition, health, and growth, will be showcased.
Keywords: bioarchaeology of birthing and childcare.

Session: T05-M Experiences of Children in Conflict

Organisers: Kirsty Squires and Caroline Sturdy Colls

Abstract: Studies that focus on conflict in both the past and present lay emphasis on the roles and experiences of adult soldiers and civilians. In contrast, the younger members of society are frequently ignored. The study of childhood in the past more generally is becoming a rapidly growing research area. An examination of archaeological remains, literature, and art has shed light on how children lived in the prehistoric and historic past. The aim of this session is to highlight how the active participation and persecution of children in conflict changed their roles and responsibilities within immediate kin groups and wider society.

Evidence of children in conflict may take a variety of forms, including skeletal remains, material culture and representation in objects, literature, art works, propaganda etc. The session encourages papers focused on any period from prehistory to the 21st century which consider: the roles and responsibilities of children in conflict; their presence or absence in the archaeological record; physical evidence of children’s involvement in warfare; children as “collateral damage” or active participants; individual life stories; and spatial analysis of children in conflict. We welcome papers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and cross-disciplinary works are particularly welcome.
We expect to attract papers which deal with: medieval warfare, the Holocaust, Spanish Civil War, First World War, child soldiers in Africa, Roman warfare and prehistoric skeletal trauma.

Keywords: children; conflict; warfare

Session: T05-B Comparing Archaeologies of Childhood

Organisers: Robin Derricourt and Jody Joy

Abstract: In most of the past, children represented almost half of the human population, yet despite periodic symposia and case studies children are still under-represented in archaeological work. This session will consider interpretations, methodology and theoretical approaches in our current archaeological understanding of children and childhood, and how the social, cultural, economic, medical and biological life of children changed over time. What is common ground, and what differs by time and place, from Australopithecines to recent historical societies? What new questions can be asked of existing data, in both prehistoric and historical societies? How much can we draw on studies and analogies from historic, ethnographic and primate biological studies to help in understanding childhood in an archaeological context? What kinds of material culture inform us of the lives of children, and of mothers with infants? What evidence does archaeology uncover for experimental learning and apprenticeship in skills (stone tools, food provision, advanced crafts)? And what does the presence or absence of child burials (and associated rituals and grave goods) tell us of the roles of children while alive?

Keywords: Children, childhood, learning

Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past 2016 Annual Meeting, Durham, September, 2016

Conference organisers: Rebecca Gowland and Ellen Kendall

This year the SSCIP conference entitled: “The Family in Past Perspective: an interdisciplinary exploration of familial relationships through time” which will showcase a variety of approaches to exploring these familial relationships, including bioarchaeology.

SSCIP sponsored session at the European Association of Archaeologists Annual Conference, Vilnius, Lithuania, September 2016

Giving New Meaning to Cultural Heritage: The Old and the Young in Past Societies

Organisers: Eileen Murphy and Grete Lillehammer

In archaeological studies of the past the humans in questions were often viewed as being adults in the prime of their lives and inadvertently male. Females were introduced into archaeological discourses with the growth of gender archaeology during the 1980s and an explosion of research has been undertaken on the archaeology of children over the course of the past decade. With some notable exceptions, however, the elderly are still often largely invisible in archaeological narratives – even though ethnographic analogy clears demonstrates that ‘elders’ were often viewed with particular respect due to the perceived wisdom associated with their longevity. The inclusion of a wider spectrum of humanity within modern archaeological discourses has also resulted in an increase in studies of the human life course. Such studies stress the necessity of interconnecting the different stages of the life cycle to enable us to gain a better understanding of the life experiences of individuals at different times for the duration of their lives.In this session we wish to focus on adult and child relationships and, in particular, evidence for the interaction of the young with the old. In the modern world grandparents are often key figures in the lives of their grandchildren but was this also the case in the past when people generally died at a much younger age than today? Is it possible to find evidence of such interactions in the funerary record, in the chaîne opératoire associated with different forms of material culture, in spatial analyses or in any other aspect of archaeological research? How is the evidence approached, integrated and presented in the professions of cultural heritage management? By focusing on these relationships we hope to bring the elderly out from the shadows while also remembering that children in the past would have interacted with many adults beyond their parents – just as they do in the present.


Further details about the EAA conference can be found at http://eaavilnius2016.lt/


Email Eileen regarding the session at: eileen.murphy@qub.ac.uk