Little Voices: recent advances in child bioarchaeology
by Professor Mary Lewis, University of Reading
Children are the most vulnerable members of any society yet despite this, in 1968 Johnson lamented the almost complete neglect of children in archaeology. Now, nearly half a century later, how far have we come? This lecture provides an overview of the nature, importance, position, challenges and popularity of child studies in bioarchaeology. It reviews new ageing, sexing and growth methods and the rapidly expanding area of child palaeopathology. New themes, such as concerns about how we define a ‘child’ and the emerging interest in adolescent skeletons are explored. Throughout, the issue that child skeletons represent frail ‘non-survivors’ resonates, as we attempt to provide accurate sex and age estimates or to understand levels of childhood stress.
Mary obtained her BA in Archaeology from the University of Leicester in 1992, and an MSc in Osteology, Palaeopathology and Funerary Archaeology (1993) and PhD (1999), from the University of Bradford. Mary is Professor of Bioarchaeology at the University of Reading. Mary specialises in the study of child and adolescent skeletal remains with a particular focus on palaeopathology, and runs the MSc in Professional Human Osteoarchaeology. Mary’s publications include two books: The Palaeopathology of Children (Academic Press, 2018) and The Bioarchaeology of Children (CUP, 2007). She has held Associate Editor positions for the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and the International Journal of Paleopathology. In addition to her work on puberty assessment, Mary’s research has helped to outline the criteria for the diagnosis of leprosy (2002), tuberculosis (2011), thalassaemia (2010) and trauma (2014) in child skeletal remains.
Image: cover image from “Paleopathology of Children” by Mary Lewis, Academic Press 2018
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic the above will be conducted on Zoom. Details of how to join the lectures, which will commence as usual at 2.30pm, will be communicated nearer the time