" A richly integrative, masterful biocultural approach to childhood in the past, in which social science theory and historical, archaeological, and ethnographic details converse with quantitative paleopathology and demography. These studies are an excellent inauguration of a field of study concerned with humanizing the skeletons of a universally vulnerable, resilient, and transcendent class of people. " --Michael Blakey, The College of William and Mary
"A refreshing and well-timed volume. Combines archaeological, historical, social, and paleopathological evidence and demonstrates the merits of this approach in defining the lives of children in the past. " --Mary E. Lewis, author of The Bioarchaeology of Children
" Integrates cultural and biological information to interpret the lived experiences of children. The cross-cultural and temporal depth of the chapters in this volume contribute significantly to understanding children and their contribution to past societies." --Brenda Baker, coauthor of The Osteology of Infants and Children
Bioarchaeological studies of children have, until recently, centered on population data- driven topics like mortality rates and growth and morbidity patterns. This volume examines emerging issues in childhood studies, looking at historic and prehistoric contexts and framing questions about the nature and quality of children’s lives. How did they develop their social identity? Were they economic actors in early civilizations? Does their health reflect that of the larger community?
Children’s lives differ significantly from those of adults due to disparate social identities and variable growth needs. Comparing field research from a variety of sites across Europe and the Americas, the contributors to this volume demonstrate that children not only have unique experiences but also share, cross-culturally, in daily struggles. In some of the cases presented, this is the first time that child remains have been examined in any detail, making Tracing Childhood an essential resource for scholars and researchers in this growing field.
Jennifer L. Thompson is an independent scholar and the coeditor of Patterns of Growth and Development in the Genus Homo. Marta P. Alfonso-Durruty is assistant professor of biological anthropology at Kansas State University. John J. Crandall is a PhD student in anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
A volume in the series Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Human Past: Local, Regional, and Global Perspectives, edited by Clark Spencer Larsen
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This volume makes a nice addition to the literature on children in bioarchaeology….and these wide-ranging chapters will definitely provide a lot of fodder for classroom discussion and will be of interest to archaeologists and bioarchaeologists alike.
--American Journal of Human Biology
Tracing Childhood will foster a dialogue among scholars on research strategies that combine archaeological, anthropological, and historical information to better interpret the lives of children to better interpret the lives of children in the past.
--Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology
Anyone who has interacted with children recognize that they are not passive actors in society. Tracing Childhood emphasizes the value of the biocultural approach taken by bioarchaeologists in exploring this active role and demonstrates the contribution that such studies can make.
--Journal of Anthropological Research
The first edited book on childhood to adopt a bioarchaeological focus throughout. . . .Tracing Childhood brings together an exciting and diverse range of chapters that showcase the value of bioarchaeological perspectives concerning childhood in the past.
An excellent range of well-written papers. . .[that] provide new and very interesting information about the lives of children in the past.
--Childhood in the Past