Where Have All the Children Gone?: The Archaeology of Childhood Author(s): Kathryn A.
Kamp Source: Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Mar., 2001), pp. 1-34 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20177431 . Accessed: 10/02/2011 10:48
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Vol. 8, No.
1, 200 J
Where Have All the Children Gone?: The Archaeology
Kathryn A. Kamp1
a time of play and learning, de
and relegating them, like women,
to the less-visible
realm of the home. Ethnographic
age categories are constructs
and, thus, exhibit
have tended temporal and cross-cultural variability. Nevertheless, archaeologists to ignore prehistoric children, perhaps viewing them as only peripheral to central
research concerns, or to treat them stereotypically. The archaeological record
to respond method
of numerous aspects of childhood
to the challenge. gender.
and theory; children;
Picture a village that you know well?modern, historic, or prehistoric. Paint in the physical setting. Next sketch in some dwellings and other manufactured features. Now add the residents. What do you see? The village pulses with life. upon the time of day and the cultural mores, men and women are Depending probably moving around conducting their daily affairs, but children are almost certainly visible. Perhaps there is laughter, perhaps there are tears, but certainly there are infants and children. Now recall the archaeological descriptions of a time and place with which you are familiar. Where have all the children gone? Maybe
structs concern growth,
it's not important. Maybe
discussed Perhaps by subsistence change, for
the types social not
irrelevant to the con
of issues of central
commonly to us. and
archaeologists strategies, are example,
organization, by the
population presence of
toward the young, or the nature of the childhood
Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa 50112;
e-mail: [email protected]
1 1072-5369/01/0300-0001$19.50/0 2001 PlenumPublishingCorporation ?
Children and their role in the society may be an interesting topic, but peripheral to the real issues of interest, and age, in general, may be a rather unimportant variable. Even a cursory consideration of modern societies shows that this is clearly not so. First and most obviously, childhood is the training ground, the time when skills and belief systems are learned, personality formed, and attitudes and values inculcated. In addition children are an integral part of most of the issues that from the literature seem nearest and dearest to archaeologists' hearts. Inmany societies children provide considerable amounts of labor and are thus integral to subsistence strategies. Specific activities such as herding, getting water, and collecting firewood may sometimes be almost totally the duty of children. Children may even play for example as factory significant roles in the economy beyond the household, or entrepreneurs. At the household level, the number workers, agricultural laborers, of children and their ages can have dramatic effects upon economic success, and the number of children may relate to both personal status and family power. Age Initiation ceremonies grades are one potential principle of social organization. and other rites of passage that are part of the childhood experience may act to solidify societal values, be an active ground for competition, or act as a vehicle for social change. Population growth and demographic structure are foci for many studies and critical variables in a number of models of culture change. Clearly, an understanding of children's economic role, attitudes toward children, the health of infants and children, and other aspects of childhood will improve not only our basic descriptions of a culture, but also our analyses of broader issues. It is only our ethnocentric construction of childhood as a time of little economic, political, or social importance that has blinded us to the need to use it as an analytic category. Maybe, on the other hand, archaeologists neglect childhood not because it is perceived as unimportant, but because it is too intangible. Perhaps the material traces children leave are minor and hard to interpret or are too difficult to untangle from those of adults. To many of us who have been following the trajectory of familiar. Yet, gender research in archaeology, this plaint sounds disconcertingly in the past 10 or so years the research on gender roles has blossomed. All that was required was interest in the topic, and a realization that our studies of the past would not only be incomplete, but also in some cases flawed if gender was not one of the variables considered (Brumfiel, 1992; Claassen, 1997; Conkey
and Gero, 1997). Furthermore, as with gender before it became a real focus of
attention, some archaeologists have already tackled aspects of childhood and the childhood experience using archaeological data, and others (Chamberlain, 1997; Lillehammer, 1989; Roveland, 1997; Sofaer Derevenski, 1994a,b) have pressed for a further consideration of prehistoric childhood. The data available include, but are certainly not limited to, children's hand and fingerprints, burials and burial inclusions, toys and games, pictures showing children or used in conjunction with childhood rites of passage, artifacts produced by children either for their own use or when learning or practicing local crafts, clothing, and the skeletal remains of the children themselves and of the adults into which the more fortunate grew.
children should not contribute is seen view of as primarily childhood like women. (2) Age is one important principle of social organization. Ideally. Today the notion of a universal period of childhood. their value consequence becomes of this the home. and thus should not be ignored in analyses of past societies. (3) Like adults. Not unexpectedly. lives and the roles they played in CHILDHOOD AS A CONSTRUCT Childhood. young adult. definitions of childhood. Even in a single cultural tradition where some consistency . it tends to assume that the period of childhood is delineated by biological changes. Because our culture believes that childhood is biologically defined and thus universal. toddler. 1997. child. the way that age categories are defined and operationalized varies across both time and space (Lamb and Hwang. and adult. adolescent. and kept secure and happy. Education. both gender and age categories have relationships to biological characteristics. Stephens. youth. children play important social and economic roles inmany societies.Archaeology of Childhood 3 literature on prehistoric children in A review of the current archaeological the context of perspectives from history and cultural anthropology provides sev eral general principles from which a further development of an archaeology of childhood can proceed. pervades both Western scholarship and international ef forts to regulate and protect child welfare (Boyden. like gender categories. cared for. coffers. Stephens. seen as a primary goal of childhood. if not invisible (Baker. Cross-culturally. but neither is determined by biology. is the responsibility of educational institutions and of the family (often read nuclear family). affectional. cultural constructs (James and Prout. (4) It is possible society using to learn something about children's archaeological data. than public their activities become less visible. Although it is true that specific biological changes occur as an individual matures. and the appropriate associated with Children. 1984. and other terms commonly used to denote age are. and childhood is viewed as a somewhat liminal state between birth and full societal participation as an adult. Indices of biological and sometimes psychologi cal maturity mark the divide between the child and the adult or between finer grada tions denoted by terms such as infant. rather than biological realities. The accuracy of this model of childhood has been cast into doubt by both there is considerable variability in historians and anthropologists. Because this model of childhood is essentially medical. 1995). 1996). Children are commonly envisioned as dependent beings who must be controlled. 1990). 1995). space. grounded in biological and psychological reality. Thus. the cultural meaning imposed on these changes is to a large extent arbitrary. is that are significantly rather than to the household economic. Keith and Kertzer. (1) Age categories. adulthood. we also tend to assume that our cultural expectations of childhood can be readily applied to other societies. like gender categories are cultural con structs. for The children rather place private. 1990. adolescence.
Although Western culture through most of this time considered it natural for children to work. past or present. Defining Childhood and its Stages Archaeologically Like gender. In contrast. and other individual attributes. probably considerably over time (Aries. enacted and child labor laws during the 19th century. but by the 10th century the boundary had been raised to age 12 (Crawford. 1981). This means that an optimal first step in the study of prehistoric children would be a determination of significant cultural age categories and their basic characteristics. Legal documents demonstrate that in 7th century Anglo Saxon Britain 10 was the age at which children became adults. 1990). personality. still considerably younger than the age of adulthood today. Modern Western societies tend to put considerable emphasis on age (Chudacoff. In contrast. By the end of the Renaissance. while they valued children highly. 1991). These take into account not only biological age. capacities. the Puritans. particularly with the advent of age graded schooling and the proliferation of other age segregated organizations (Chudacoff. 1989) and often use hierarchical and rigid categories linked to chronological age (James and Prout. It should be expected that every society will have its own age categories and its own definitions of childhood. 1962. Historians have shown that in Europe and the United States. changing with historic trends. and patterns of family organization. perceptions and definitions of childhood have changed 1990. many Europeans believed that children were innocent and inherently good (Hughes. These altered mandatory schooling both the activities of most children and the general perception of a normal childhood experience. 1985). the variability across cultures is even more dramatic. In fact. It is not tenable to simply assume that specific age categories derived from modern Western models will correspond to socially significant stages for other cultures. children may have been viewed as miniature adults (Aries. age categories and roles are culturally defined and must be investigated. 1984). 1989). Ifwithin a single culture area the nature of childhood and its definitions can be shown to be dynamic. Hendrick. but stages of maturation are (Fortes. because of changes in economic organization. political climate. The emphasis placed on age in theWest has also increased through time. . rather than assumed. 1991). believed that they were born sinful and needed guidance (Loucks.4 Kamp might be expected. primarily of the elite classes for whom children's labor was not economically critical. In some parts of Europe during theMiddle Ages. the reverse is true. variation is common. Even the age at which children are perceived as adult appears to have changed drastically. Qvortrup. 1962). reformers. inmany preliterate societies chronological age is rarely recognized. under the influence of the French philosopher Rousseau. but skills. increasing over time.
and special facilities or locales. 220) have argued that transitions are particularly important for the study of childhood "since during them past. 1990). Cyphers Guillen (1993) suggests that at Chalcatzingo female figurines may represent the stages in a woman's life and may have been used in female initiation rituals to teach girls about appropriate gender roles. Joyce (1999a) believes the children began the Izcalli initiation as young as 4. feasting implements. Corroboration for the notion that circumcision in ancient Egypt might be a puberty ceremony is found in statuary. and body ornamentation. More details of the age and ceremonial circumstances are revealed by a scene in the Saqqara tomb of the royal architect. shaving. and future are symbolically represented:' Initiations (La Fontaine. The genitalia of males on statuary and paintings and some mummified remains show that the ancient Egyptians practiced circumcision (Janssen and Janssen. are never circumcised (Janssen and Janssen. p. The next initiation. During this time they stayed in a special screened-off section of the house. At Bheje. washing. at their first menstruation the Zulu secluded girls for initiation rites lasting for up to three months (Roodt. p. Indications of the locations of initiation ceremonies have also been dis covered. bodily mutilations. jewelry. the circumciser appears to be incising the foreskin with a UV. 90-95). membership in societies. held during the month of Izcalli. and the Florentine Codex as sources. pp. which shows the circumcision of a boy whose age is estimated at 10-12. Serwint (1993) proposes that theHeraia festival held at Olympia was an Hellenic pr?nuptial ritual. Using the clothing and stance of statuary in the context of ethnographic parallels. They are commonly marked by ritual incorporating components such as feasts. present. Several archaeologists have identified initiation rites. 1985) often. mark significant personal changes. Changes in status were often marked by alterations in hair and clothing styles. and the passage into economic or ritual adulthood or transitions between stages within childhood. isolation of the initiates. 1991) use the subadult human remains and other offerings concentrated in Neolithic Italian caves to argue that caves may have been the locales of initiation rituals. and new hair or clothing styles. 1990. will be archaeologically discernable. to According historic accounts. 189) suggests that having been weaned was the requisite qualification and puts this age as 2-3. initiating girls into womanhood." rather than removing it completely. but not always. while Clendinnen (1991. Skeates (1991) and Whitehouse (1988. all of which are potentially accessible archaeologically. Using primarily the Codex Mendoza Joyce (1999a) describes Aztec initiations. such as ritual paraphernalia. such as marriage. using a variety of types of archaeological remains. In this scene.Archaeology of Childhood ^ James and Prout (1990. 1992). cited in Skeates. a small satellite community . which began at birth. as males with sidelocks. a hair style associated with young boys. Additional rituals occurred about every four years until adulthood. was conducted with groups of children every fourth year to produce a system of age-grades. Aspects of some rituals. instruction by the previously initiated. Ankhmahor.
where again child burials are only rarely found unless in conjunction with an adult burial. Funerals are probably the rite of passage most accessible to archaeologists. however. buried children and adults in identical fashion. as individuals in their own and Brindley. Lucy (1994) found that in British pre Christian cemeteries infants were severely underrepresented. Both ethnographic and archaeological data show that infants and children are often buried differently from adults (Kamp. Similarly. Saxe. given the paucity of males at Bheje.. Lucy (1994. 1970) and burials might be expected to reveal emic age categories. been the residence for high-status concubines of the king. uDingane (1828 located near uMgungundlovu. italics in the original). when children are buried individually. adult-child distinction have been a far more flexible (possibly even non-existent) concept than we can imagine. and within a single cemetery the patterning is always statistical. which Lillie (1997) interprets as indicating children's incorporation into social and economic networks. this suggests that some communities manipulation The idea of what a "child" was may as a valid one to emphasise. The ages at which changes in social definitions occur may thus be revealed through an analysis of burials. Funerary ritual and burial disposition often correlate with social persona (Binford. Social characteristics perceived by the mourners may be symbolized through cer emonial treatment of the body after death (Mizoguchi. and Neolithic populations in the Dnieper Rapids regions of the 1988). p. suggesting a different social or symbolic status for babies. 1989/90. After infancy. For example.6 Kamp the headquarters of the Zulu king. 1993) a large number of both infant and animal burials are found under malting floors and in association with other agricultural features. Because they are in both earlier Roman and later Christian cemeteries in the same well-represented treatment. 1840). 29) suggests that between different social groups by In terms of a society which often did create distinctions did not regard the rigid of burial practice. but preservation ultimately that is unavoidable. He suggests that. they are treated in the same way as adult burials (Small et al. this type of analysis entails assumptions about the differential Obviously. The ng/ir"(0'Donnabhain same is true in Bronze Age Scotland. rather than absolute. this is likely to be due to differential depositional area. inNeolithic Italy children tend to be buried in caves and adults in settlements (Skeates. 1971.. which may have Roodt (1992) excavated two huts with trenches suggesting screened-off areas that may be interpreted as indicating a location for initiation ceremonies. this may have been a very convenient place to conduct initiation rituals that necessitated secluding girls from males. For example. in Roman Britain (Scott. 1993). In Bronze Age Ireland it is not until about the age of 14 that children are ac corded full burial rites "m the same way as adults. there is considerable variability in the way that younger individuals were treated between pre-Christian cemeteries. 1991). and recovery of skeletal remains and perishable grave contents. . however. p. 1998). 1991. Mesolithic Ukraine. 19. This should reflect local beliefs about age categories. but separate from the burials of adults and older children.
For site of Westgarth example. No statistically significant differences were found within the 0-6 age . the ties are prematurely severed. and those adults who have been initiated into ritual societies. Meskell (1994) notes that.d. the absence of discernable patterning can be used to imply a lack of social differentiation. The burials seem designed to provide their occupants with the necessities for gaining access to the afterlife. Statistical analyses of grave locations. and furnishings show a statistically significant tendency for children ages 0-6 to be found more frequently with hide blankets and yucca fiber mats and less frequently with rare artifacts. the presence of weaponry becomes explicable. were children permitted to wear the full costume. p. 40) status was through the use of standardized costumes. 1999b). orientations. 49-63) examines burials from the Southwestern site of Arroyo Hondo. n. if. Palkovich (1980. given the somewhat arbitrary nature of the use of mortuary ritual to symbolize social categories. She lumps several subdivisions of initiates and suggests thatmodern Tewa have three broad categories: those below age 6 who have not yet undergone an initiation to become a fully established Tewa. 1999b. at Deir el Medina the burials of the young show much less variability due to class. cited in Joyce. the shield is classed as being in a child's burial. so a more mortuary ceremony is desirable to aid in the continuance of the social At Chiapa de Corzo (Clark. Both Joyce (1999b) and Meskell (1994) stress that burials reflect both indi vidual and group identities. 1969). Using an ethnographic model derived from Ortiz' description of the Tewa age-status system (Ortiz. In Pre-Classic Mesoamerica the graves of juveniles tend to contain the greatest number and diversity of artifacts (Joyce. When it is understood that during this time period the legal age of adulthood is 10 for many purposes and the burial is reclassified. either with or without formal initiations. pp. perhaps implying that only through the attainment of maturity. It is also possible that archaeologists sometimes miss significant patterning because of their own preexisting definitions of the boundaries between age categories. Age affects both the spatial location of the burial and the treatment of the body. as in previous studies. normal members of Tewa society.Archaeology of Childhood 7 This raises the interesting question of whether. but the objects included as grave goods are similar to those provided to adults. Crawford (1991) points out that at the Anglo-Saxon Gardens the inclusion of a shield in the grave of a 11-12 year old is anomalous. and fife stage ceremonies enacted for them solidify the When a young person dies. indicated only in complete costumes. and Meskell argues that in our consideration of burials we need to consider the affect involved in responding to a death and the importance of deceased as individuals. elaborate network. Juveniles were buried wearing linkages. Joyce (1999b) hypothesizes that this is because the offspring of a marriage serve to link social groups. while inNew Kingdom Egypt ostentatious display and social aggrandizement may have been potent forces in structuring adult burials. rather than being toys or other objects that seem specifically to belong to the realm of children.
youth. toddler. Although the re Cambridge entitled Perspectives sults were never published. often one currently of legal import. themeaning of the same term often differs. 1991. representing a change in status. the boundary between sub-adult and adult may be defined as sexual maturity. Of particular note are the sections on children in Elizabeth Moore and Eleanor Scott's 1997 edited volume based on a 1993 Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) into session. what is lacking is an attempt to formulate a sequence of life stages that can be supported using multiple lines of evidence. DESCRIBING CHILDHOOD: PREVIOUS STUDIES In 1984 Conkey and Spector called for the development of a more gender sensitive archaeology. this area of investigation is still occurring through in its infancy. child. 1985). 1991) that the study of gender became a very visible concern in archaeology. it was not until the early 1987. At the time there was a vigorous feminist movement and a burgeoning interest in gender studies in most of the social sciences (Farnham. a number of edited volumes on or partially devoted 1990s with the publication of to the archaeology of gender (Claassen. but the exact terminology varies considerably from study to study. The realization that age boundaries assumed. and young adult are used. In particular. skeletal maturity. In 1997. A variety of terms. adolescent. are social constructs. such as infant. 1992. especially in Europe. 1990. and daily activities. Although there have been some interesting first forays into investigating some of the archaeological patterning that may correlate with the changes in status the life cycle of an individual. Schuster and Van Dyne. in 1994 Blythe Roveland and Martin Wobst organized a Society of American Archaeology (SAA) symposium on childhood. Further initiation into social or religious is suggested by the presence of unusual and possibly ceremonial organizations items (for example bird parts thatmay have been portions of a headdress) in one burial and the remains of body paint on two adult skeletons.8 Kamp group and Palkovich interprets this as indicating that age 6 is a significant dividing line. Nevertheless. then use them as the basis for other studies of social organization. including health. Gero and Conkey. social status. Walde and Willows. To some small extent a few scholars responded. Currently there is an unfortunate tendency to use a wide variety of rather arbitrary age divisions even when dealing with human skeletal remains where presumably this would be easiest to rectify. Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood Review from and a 1994 special issue o? Archaeological European Archaeology. For example. such as 18 or 21. more rather than simply patterning understandable. or in terms of a specific age. which must can act to make archaeological be discovered. on Children and Childhood. contributors that it took them two tries to organize the session. Accord to Roveland it was so difficult to find potential ing (personal communication). In 1989 Grete Lillehammer called for more archaeological attention to chil dren. Similarly. in the . Nelson and Kehoe.
This is particularly true where skeletal remains of subadults must be analyzed. Blythe Roveland reissued Lillehammers the results so far have been disappointing. 1982. but also occurs when miniatures and other objects that appear toy-like to excavators are encountered. play. In fact.Archaeology of Childhood 9 AAA call to action. Inmany societies childhood mortality is extremely high and subadults may account for 50% or more of the deaths. but the corpus also includes traditional studies. Even when children survive the critical years below the age of about 5 when most childhood deaths occur. The following sections on health and nutrition. the study of adult skeletal remains also sheds light on the issue of children's health. but useful information about the lives of children is certainly included. 1985). In many of these studies childhood may not be specific focus of study. 1986). may indicate childhood anemia. dental hypoplasias. thus. 1989.Martin *r al. some osteol?gica! abnormalities. the severity of childhood stresses can be assessed by examining skeletal remains for osteological and dental conditions such as Harris reduced cortical bone thickness. lines. 1983. a considerable amount is known about the nutrition and health of prehistoric children. analogous to gender. and retarded size (Goodman and Armelagos. life anthropologists tables. Hinkes. rather than recent episodes. dealing with archaeological databases that seem to demand some discussion of children. Storey. porotic hyperostosis. Wetterstrom. 1989. then again at the time of weaning (Goodman and Armelagos. Martin etal. and themeaning of childhood survey some of the current literature and provide some suggestions for continuing research. 61. A number of the studies available are explicit attempts to treat childhood as a cultural construct. Saunders and Melbye. Storey. even when seen in adult skeletons (Stuart-Macadam. and a brief review of past research helps put progress in perspective. and survivorship curves. much more than can reasonably be discussed in a short review of the literature. however. A look at the SAA programs theless. Analyses of both ethnographic and archaeological data show that children are particularly vulnerable at birth. Although it is difficult to assure a representative sample of children's bones for a variety of reasons including their small size and fragility and the possibility that children may be buried in different contexts or using different methods from adults (Brahin and Fleming. child-rearing practices. 1990. Health and Nutrition Children's Because subadult skeletal remains are common in archaeological sites. for the last five years reveals a paucity of papers dealing with children and over 10 years after Lillehammers original article the literature expressly on prehistoric children is still sparse. 1983. 1992). p. Hinkes. enculturation and learning. work. 1992). Never newsletter. Some archaeological studies are in print. such as porotic hyperostosis. Inmany populations a large percentage of children appear to have suffered . physical routinely construct a variety of types of mortuary curves. 1991. 1991.
She believes that the kinds of obligations important because they dictate priorities for the fulfillment of individuals' needs. adults who have been severely stressed as children may have lower fertility. and only a few have studied the interconnectedness mores and child health. 1989. 1992. Dettwyler (1994) reports that the Bambara do not recognize a connection between food and growth and believe that children don't require as high quality food as adults because adults do the work and appreciate the food more. between Child-Rearing Practices test for differences Each culture has specific notions of how children should be raised. separate using osteological remains (Brahin 1986). 1982. Human infants are born immature and require care. From that includes both their first breath. and hygienic practices will all affect children's health. 1994. Local diets. 1980. archaeologists have sometimes noted that the survival of individuals with severe health problems implies care from those around them (Meskell.Wetterstrom. Wetterstrom. little attention has been paid to the consequences of ill health for either the children themselves or between cultural the society. While considerable work has been done on children's health. For example. children may suffer increased nutritional problems after the introduction of agriculture to an area (Goodman and Armelagos. are one of the primary sources for establishing age groups archaeologically. rather than beginning the exploration by that might imply local age definitions. Most of the studies of childhood paleo-health and nutrition are weakened be cause they fail to use archaeological data to establish age group boundaries. 1974) and this need is exacerbated when the individuals . Thus. or adult health (Goodman and Armelagos. which are often the basis for research into children's health and nutrition. birth spacing is shorter. or for a number of other possible reasons linked to the general health of populations and tomaternal health in particular. In addition. this area of investigation should be one of the pioneers in such a process. 1984). et al. less energy may be expended on children's welfare and their health may suffer. Because the burial looking for differences remains. Perzigian periods of scarcity are more common. The effects of childhood illness and malnutrition Storey. children are embedded in a social milieu adults and other children. For example. Studies usually start with a definition of groups that seems logical to the investigator.10 from Kamp or illnesses. This may occur because diets become lower in protein. Cultural ideas about the nature of children's needs also influence health practices. which are hard to the stress of either nutritional deficiencies and Fleming. capacity for work. 1989. rather than on individuals. medical care. Rowlett and Schneider. when the emphasis is on obligations to the community or the family as a whole. then the groups. 1986). Bradley ( 1998) examines the relationship between ideology stressed are particularly and health. are long lasting. Palkovich.
1985. Simultaneously. medical problems leading to the cessation of lactation. bonding. these types of implements are preserved.b). Cultural beliefs about the appropriate ages for weaning children vary consid erably between cultures. an analysis of dental hypoplasias shows thatweaning was occurring at earlier ages. Wheeler. Breast feeding practices have ramifications for infant and child health. 1985). feeding is one child rearing practice that can be investigated using archaeological data. In some societies women tend to breast-feed for fairly short lengths of time. Palkovich. inThailand before the introduction of formulas most women breast-fed for the first 18 months to 2 years. Manderson. 1939. the use of cradle boards (El-Najjar. the location of the hypoplasias in deciduous teeth provides a record of the timing of stress episodes during the developmen tal period.Archaeology of Childhood 11 are young. Simpson. For example. the availability of easily digested milk substi tutes. 1986. Some work has already been done on several aspects of early childhood socialization. but by the early 1980s the average age at weaning was 18 months for rural children and 8 months for urban children (Van Esterik. and the role of males in early child raising. 1908. Because tooth development occurs with a fairly predictable timetable. maternal health. For the inhabitants of Dickson Mounds the shift tomore intensive agriculture during the Middle Mississippian resulted in an increase in health problems and a decreased life expectancy (Goodman and Armelagos. For deciduous teeth this is from the last two trimesters of pregnancy through the first year. 1989). Hull. although their implications are not totally unambiguous (Maher. 1985. 1985) breast-feed for up to four or five years. Even they are not. subsequent pregnancies. 1985. so that ingestion of other foods occurs simultaneously with breast feed ing. It has been suggested that time of weaning can be estimated (Goodman and Armelagos. the relationship may be circular as early weaning may result in increased risk of infec tious diseases and inadequate dietary replacements may cause anemias and other nutritional diseases. 115. from six weeks to a year (Cominsky. 600) leads to distinctive when . 1985) or unpadded board cradles (Coon. 1985). Age at weaning depends on both cultural norms and beliefs and on contextual factors. p. A second child-raising practice that leaves physical traces is the use of cradles or cradle boards. 76 quoted inWetterstrom. p. 1989). 1980. 1986. 1985. by examining patterns in dental hypoplasias are defects in tooth enamel thickness resulting from physiological Hypoplasias Breast stresses occurring during crown development. including work requirements. Occasionally. Others (Hrdlicka. and the economics of providing alternative foods. The resulting ability to decrease the interval between births might have allowed Mississippian populations to compensate for higher death rates and even to increase population in response to the greater labor needs of intensive agriculture. and for permanent teeth from birth to about age 6. Jenkins and Heywood. 1992a. Supplementary foods may be introduced gradually. p. Millard and Graham. Interestingly.
In particular. does use of the cradle board tend to begin in dangerous physical or social circumstances when a means of controlling children's movement is vital to their own safety or even to the of the community? This would predict its development in locations such safety as cliff dwellings or under conditions of war. is far from bias-free. the Codex Mendoza (Berdan and Anawalt. the descriptions of punishments may be an attempt to portray the ideal Aztec in par ticular ways to their conquerors. but usually the two types of cranial alteration are separable. 1988). What are the alternative means of the same thing? What does the use of cradle boards imply about accomplishing the childcare giver? Does their use suggest that adults. The severity of appropriate punishments increases as the child becomes older. physical. rather than children are responsible for infants? What does their use mean about the ways children interact with the surrounding environment at an early age? About how far they are likely to go from the domestic locale? About notions of the child as an active agent? Discipline imposed upon children by adults or older children is another area of possible investigation. Childhood as a Period of Enculturation and Learning One aspect of child raising is teaching. adults to provide appropriate training. beating. Calnek. p. which relieves adults from . and social skills. At one extreme. 1947. and smoking (holding the child over a fire into which chilis have been placed). Georgian villagers (Dragadze. p. itmust be recognized that this source. Opinions about the mutability of children during the developmental process and the necessity for adults to provide guidance vary greatly between different cultures. Calnek (1992. At the opposite extreme.12 Kamp patterns of cranial flattening and sometimes occipital lesions (Holliday. the Chewong of Mayalasia believe that behavior is essentially innate. For example. Given this perspective. like all written documents. and attitudes are as yet unformed and who lack necessary personalities. p. especially males. 1993). Cranial deformations may also be intentionally caused as a means of beautifying or providing a physical means of marking social identity. and most Western psychologists and educators view children as individuals whose values. 192) argues that the depictions of rather severe discipline may be fairly accurate and be reflective of the Aztecs' need to prepare children. it is the duty of intellectual. 86) believes that the third part of the Codex Mendoza which describes the life cycle and includes sections on appropriate punishments for both adults and children is essentially "another repe tition of the familiar sermon favoring virtuous conduct and condemning the usual vices. 1992. 1992) provides textual and pictorial documentation of punishments such as waking the child in the middle of the night. For example. the parents of San Ildefonso (Whitman. the ramifications of the use of cradle boards as a child rearing technique are not generally considered. While cranial deformations are always noted when they occur. Clendinnen (1991." On the other hand. for a harsh and demanding world. Of course. 39). Pictorial sources are one resource for the study of the con trol of children by adults.
1998) proposes that a knowledge of the psychology of development can aid researchers in identifying the products of chil dren. Hohokam children appear to begin the process later than children from the other two areas and may have been taught as part of a cohort. Kamp. Some learning also occurs through individual experience and trial and error. or anyone in between can begin to learn a craft (Donley-Reid 1990. discussions. as in initiation rites. Karlin and Julien. Teachers can include anyone from parents to other adults to siblings and other chil dren. 1988). Whiting and The Edwards. rather than merely a lack of expertise. by analyzing their use of concepts such as symmetry. and psychologists have studied learning situations inmodern societies fairly extensively. Kramer. 1985). Both cross-culturally and within a single society. p. and develop physical abilities and skills. 1988). fully mature adults. Contexts may be primarily group situations. 1990. 1998. acquire a wide spectrum of knowledge about the natural and social environment. 1990. 1998. 1984. 1997. because particular types of errors and imperfections may be associated with immaturity. submitted. and Salado vessels and argues thatmost children probably started painting decorations on pot tery around the ages of 9-12. Crown has examined the designs painted on a selection of Hohokam. Several recent studies have begun to tackle the problem of identifying the craft production of children. children as young Shelley. Accordingly.Archaeology of Childhood 13 the local theories the need to explicitly mold children (Howell. 1990). but will be de pendent upon the type of skill or value being taught. if old age brings with itmaladies such as poor eye sight or crippling arthritis. 353. Furthermore. there may be considerable variability in the production capability of nonnovice adults. The archaeological work that has been done so far stresses the acquisition of prehistoric craft techniques. although some may begin as young as 4-6. developmental because there is some cross-cultural regularity in the developmental sequence. Whatever of child development and the amount of conscious teaching. to simply doing normal activ ities while children are in the vicinity (DeBoer. 1997). 1998. the craft products of the elderly may sometimes appear low in quality. Crown (1999. 1997. Learning occurs in the context of both work and play activities. and explanations. Krause. archaeologists have paid little attention to this issue. Mimbres. 1994. or one-on-one. Grimm. Fischer. Furthermore. . it is undeniable that childhood is the time during which humans first begin to learn language and other cultural behaviors. educators. Goldsmith.While cultural anthropologists. The types of learning situations will vary not only between cultures. as 2-5 years of age. 1990. type of instruction given to children ranges from structured learning situations such as the classroom or initiation through informal teaching via ca sual demonstrations. Rogoff. It is not even unlikely that. Many of the studies that explore the learning of skills attempt to recognize novice artisans by examining artifacts manufacturing for evidence of inexpert workmanship (Bagwell. Hayden and Cannon. Finlay. it be possible to identify the ages at which children begin certain aspects of ce may ramic production. identifying novices is not automatically synonymous with identifying children (Finlay.
The nature of gender roles varies according to in both childhood age. 1999. This would have allowed the learning process to begin very young. 1968). 1978). 1997). in reality. This highlights the need to examine gender variability in children. as early as 2-5. Gender roles are one of the issues of socialization to which archaeologists need to pay some attention. When the work of subadults is acknowledged. and at least some of the variability is probably due to differences in the treat babies they regard as of different genders ways that adults unconsciously (Moss and Robson. Be cause skills may be the most readily accessible. and on both miniature and full-sized vessels. 1997). childcare is usually discussed as women's work even when children. 1997). rather than simply relegating them to a single unitary category (Soafar Deverenski. Using a combination and quantitative and qualitative measurements made of fingerprint measurements on clay animal figurines. During the enculturation process. psychological male and female neonates already behave somewhat differently (Philips et al. they have been studied most it is also important to discover the values that a pre Nevertheless. This suggests an ethnocentric tendency to . are the major care-givers. intensively. but we will never discover them unless we ask. despite abundant cross-cultural and historic evidence of children's economic contributions (see below). Furthermore. historic society passed on to the next generation. Children are not simply raised into adults. its importance is usually described in terms of freeing adults from tasks. at least inWestern culture. 1998). Others may be discovered by looking for signs of stratification or by analyzing games to see if they involved cooperative or competitive strategies. I have argued that the Sinagua of northern Arizona may have structured the learning process using play activities and the production of toys to familiarize children with the properties of clay and the processes of ceramic manufacture. and facilitated the incorporation of children into the economic system as competent ceramic artisans at a fairly early age. children below a certain age may not have a concept of either their own or others' gender (Soafar Deverenski. studies have shown that.14 Kamp Another more direct avenue for identifying young artisans ismeasurement of fingerprints left on artifacts (Kamp et al. and some types of gender differences may be de-emphasized and old age (Lesick. What kinds of work were most highly valued? Did individuals strive for high status or was a more egalitarian ethos dominant? Did families desire competitive children or cooperative ones? What was the relative position of males and females? Finding the answers to these types of questions will not be easy. Some clues may be found in the symbolism used in initiations or the types of goods found in burials. They become adults with a specific gender identity. For example. Children and Work The importance of prehistoric children's labor is almost invariably ignored by archaeologists. children learn values as well as skills. Kamp. Nonetheless.
1995) showed that rural Kenyan children between the ages of 9 and 16 spent a consider able number of hours in work activities. Children's feminism. they would be considered work. p. a figure which did not include younger laborers or those unpaid workers who were assisting parents at home. and where the dominant cultural ideology tends to downplay the contri butions of sub-adults. Including educational activities as part of the work regime. Nevertheless. by the late 1800s themiddle class ideal of childhood had become a time of learning and play.S. In 1910 the U. and still others provide services vital to the household economy within . in Europe and the U. 1985). A quantitative study of work activities in Kenya (United Nations Development Program. rather than practical (Zelizer. and theoretically children were not supposed to do any "real" work (Cunningham. 1996).Archaeology of Childhood 15 dichotomize all work into adult male or female tasks. 1975). to do work outside if done by adult household members. the work of children may be extremely important. but can be even more valuable in industrial contexts (Harris and Ross. for it is not uncommon for children to do a considerable number of tasks within the home (Morrow. simply that the "exploitation" of children through their work activities began to be seen as a social evil. on farms. Zelizer. Children's work is usually described by parents as training or character 1981). Census reported almost 2 million workers between the ages of 10 and 15. Even in societies where formal schooling is the norm and occupies a large fraction of children's time. collect and especially before the advent activities of their of is underestimated considered. Even though these jobs are not for wages. Interestingly. Cross-cultural studies suggest that child labor is more important in agri cultural and pastoral societies than for hunter-gatherers. 39. 1985. The contribution of children to the work force in many cultures is consid erable. 1985). however. viewing children's worth as affective. 1996. when an adult performs the same activities as a child. Some of these children work for wages. and sometimes free adults today self Child labor in both the formal and informal sector is extremely common throughout the world. 1996). building in nature rather than strictly productive (White and Brinkerhoff. 1987. others are employed. unrecognized. rather than accepting the notion that some labor may be seen as primarily within the realm of children.S. The neglect of prehistoric children's work may be because today popular Western conceptions of the appropriate activities for children minimize the impor tance of work. girls spent an average of 41 hr per week working and boys spent about 35 hr. even Self-maintenance prepare a fair amount own food. or even in sweat shops (Zelizer. This does not mean that children did not work.7 times the number of hours of boys doing tasks within the household and 10 times the number of hours in wage labor. where the locus of work has been removed from the home (Stern et al. 56). This is often recognized for farm children but is probably true of urbanit?s as well. Girls spent 3. This has not always been true. are never work. the home. like much of women's or when even children work. their efforts are considered work (Morrow. p. 40).
and is often gender-dependant generally thought that children as young as 3 or 4 could be reasonably put towork. Fertility levels are affected by both the cost and benefits . 195). Kamp In locations as varied as the Philippines (Rivera. Boys were not expected to work until sometime in their early twenties. bring water. although they also did not participate fully until after marriage (Mead. shoe-shining and other services. cook. 1994). While that archaeologists have paid almost no attention to the possibility children may have been an important constituent of the prehistoric workforce. and do numerous other work activities (Ritchie and Ritchie. The types of work engaged in by children also vary considerably. children's position in society may have been strongly influenced by their economic importance or lack of it. Sancho-Liao. 1979). p. traditionally. the tasks allotted to children tend to parallel the adult gender divisions of labor (Bradley. perhaps partly to free older children and adults for more demanding tasks and partly because children in this age group appear to have an affinity for the task (Whiting and Edwards. 1987). the care of very young children is almost always a job for 6-10 year olds. wash.16 the home. Girls began to do a few minor chores at 6 or 7 and even more after puberty. The age at which children are first expected to contribute their labor varies as well. In Europe in the 1700s itwas considerably. Some jobs are so to children that they might be considered children's jobs. and Senegal (Mehra 1996) children as young as 5 to 7 work 7 hr a day and more at a Kerpelman. and perform much work are dependant essential to the economy. 156. This contrasts with the situation inmuch of Polynesia where children began to be independent by age 2. children were expected to cook. 1985). hoe. When there are no girls of an appropriate age boys are almost always expected to complete the jobs that are more normally seen as girls' responsibilities. clean. They were expected to do lots of chores at a young age. plant. iron. collect fire wood. India (Gulranjani. tasks tend to be done by children more than men's Perhaps because women's tend to do more work than boys. when they married (Mead. By 8. and widespread poverty. Although girls almost never do men's tasks. Children herd. capitalism. girls work. p. weed. and both home and factory manufacturing activities. In most societies. While the nature of some of the work and the conditions under which it occurs are at least in part products of industrialization. and often have primary responsibility for child care. get water. variety of occupations including agricultural work. In general.188). fish. 1962. gather plant foods. the notion that children are a part of the workforce appears common tomost modern cultures and children probably worked prehistorically as well. 1986. work responsibilities as well as other attributes such as gender and class (Halperin. 1994). care for other children. 1988). For universally assigned example. 1962. boys fairly often do tasks that are otherwise allocated to women. street-vending. upon age Some patterns can be seen in the allocation of tasks. trap and hunt animals. On the other hand. 1984). Naples (Goddard. theManus of New Guinea gave children almost no responsibilities until quite late. sew.
p. 1999. perhaps time/space conflicts with other tasks being done by adults made it desirable for children to do certain kinds of work. 1983) provides another possible avenue that has yet to be explored for discerning the participation of children in economic activities. 1999. see above for a more detailed discussion). recent historic links may provide testable hypotheses about possi ble children's tasks. it is correct that prehistoric Puebloan children were beginning to learn ceramic production techniques at an early age (Bagwell. Obviously the use of child labor would have varied considerably with class and the tomb paintings are quite limited as a source base. and materials associated with each. she compiled a list of activities. sow. however this method needs to be used with extreme care. 1990. The ceramics identified as children's products by Kamp (Kamp et al. Kamp. Several studies hint at possibilities for investigating the relationship between age and the division of labor. 1992. so will age be a challenge archaeologically. The early learning of craft tasks by children may be an indication of their economic participation. 1987). submitted) on the basis of painting styles were potentially functional and many showed wear. and chase birds from crops. The within the household is also dependent upon the amount of participation in adult activities. but they provide a starting point for further research. tomb paintings attest to a variety of tasks for children (Janssen and Janssen. Under some circumstances. while girls make beds and both boys and girls glean fields and care for younger children. and to highlight the potential difficulty with discussing the Hidatsa as a single en tity. For example. nature of the child's experience growing up and their integration Zeller.Archaeology of Childhood 17 of having children (Harris and Ross. for example. Crown. 1998. one possible explanation for the early training is the desire to incorporate their labor more effectively in economic production (Kamp. 1987. Other possible issues concerning child labor that beg examination are possible gender differences. . Using ethnographic information about the historic Hidatsa. whereas in more permissive societies. plow. Just as it has been notoriously to differentiate the gendered division of labor. This allowed her to demonstrate thatmale and female activity patterns were organized very differently. it correlates with the absence of an initiation ceremony and suggests increased avenues for children to be granted adult privileges. According to Barry (1996). and age differentiation. physical setting. If. task autonomy. Spector's task-differentiation method (Spector. 1998) on the basis of fingerprints and by Crown (1999. Kamp et al. in less permissive societies. 51). 1999. along with information about personnel.A similar approach to children's activities might reveal interesting reasons for the use of child labor for certain tasks. Stern et al. 1975. temporal context. Boys tend cattle. attesting to the fact that they had actually been used. be cause historic cases show how quickly themethods of labor allocation can change. 1998). 1998. Livi-Bacci. a high level of participation by children in adult activities is occasioned by the need for children's labor. submitted. In Egypt.
The use of children in early textile factories and as carpet weavers in some parts of the world today are obvious examples. 1978). especially as juveniles. although obviously they must be interpreted with care. Children and Play All mammals play. Although authors did not speculate about the possibility of child knappers. some of them fairly complex. and even when they are working they tend to incorporate play into and around the work activity (Hughes. do arithmetic. if not the already fully capable of producing flint tools (Custer et al.18 Kamp Grave goods may provide another clue to the tasks of children. The notion that children are incapable of performing complex tasks or assuming responsibility may be an ethnocentric result of the fact that we do not currently train our children in work skills or expect them to perform them. it is worth noting that the artifacts included in the grave goods were of the same type as those recovered with adults identified as knappers. Rega (1997) found that atMokrin in the former Yugoslavia bone needles were found in the graves of women and in juvenile burials with a southern orientation. itmight be argued that a child who is able to learn to read. A knapping kit in a child burial from a site in Delaware provides the alluring possibility that the child was at least in the process of learning the craft. Scholarly interpretations of play have varied considerably While psychoanalysts concentrate on its cathartic value. Some of the reservations that we tend to have about postulating the economic to perform tasks well participation of children may relate to their competence to be really useful. Obviously for very simple jobs this may not be an enough issue. Certainly. 1991). the physical environment. 1991). Even for more complex activities. however. their diffusion. 1994). (Cheska. 1990). Among humans the nature of play varies cross-culturally and is influenced by cultural mores and definitions as well as the immediate cultural context. 1996. The need to play seems very strong in children. and proposes as an alternative explanation for the inclusion of needles in the burial goods of children. and the available materials (Harkness. it is likely thatwith appropriate instruction fairly young children would be able to perform well enough to be useful. and play appears to be part of the basic biological heritage of humans (Hughes. that about half of the needles were broken or otherwise not functional and that the youngest children might not have had the strength requisite for sewing. Rega notes. educators stress skill development. that the needles were simply symbolic of female identity. she infers that these subadults are girls and suggests that sewing might have been a task performed by both women and girls. Anthropologists through time. have discussed the development of games and toys their role in enculturation both as practice for adult . Because this is the preferred orientation for women's graves. Roopnarine and Johnson. and follow the rules of the classroom would also be able to perform a wide range of economically productive activities.
The freedom for innovation allowed by certain types of play may have a definite cultural advantage. cultures structure the pastimes of children. may be useful for alleviating loneliness. prohibit cultures. Generally when where children the emphasis are isolated is on playing with other children from playmates. teaching values as well as physical and social skills. others certain for may choices example. 1998) show that children modeled a significant portion of their play on adult activities. Play also has a creative element and may change through time. but children can circumvent this intervention by producing their own playthings or by using the toys in alternative ways. toys become more Some. Schlegel and Barry. others help provide pastimes independent of other children. movements of young children. either Sometimes or indirectly through directly via ideas about appropriate spheres of movement the assignment of duties whose demands put restraints on movement. toys are minimal.Archaeology of Childhood 19 activities and as a way of learning basic cultural values and social skills. conflicts and psychological tensions. particularly in societies where adult roles are rather open-ended (Sutton-Smith. Clothing styles may have a similar effect and may differentially affect girls and boys. Toys or encourage between also males can be interaction and a means females for with oth after parental a certain manipulation. Thus. Sutton-Smith (1976) characterizes this aspect of play as "adaptive potentiation. adults consciously manipulate the play contexts of children Devices such as cradle boards or playpens may restrict the (Sutton-Smith. Play is part of the socialization process. play provides opportunities to practice either cooperation or competition and to learn social and physical strategies useful in a particular culture because games are areas inwhich notions of fate can meet ideas about the nature of power and strategy (Sutton-Smith 1989). segregate in playmates limit by contact age. 1985) and later Inuit as well (Park. Nevertheless. the playthings of the prehistoric Thule of the Nelson River area (Kenyon and Arnold. 1986). Some age. and their function as social Cross-cultural studies of games demonstrate strong relationships between the type of games played and both a number of societal features and personality traits (Roberts and Barry. Similarly rules may ers. 1976). the types of games played varies with the level of complexity of the society and with the emphases in child training practices. songs. To a large extent. their value for dissipating unifiers. common. 1976. Games and toys provide encouragement for practicing adult roles and honing both physical and mental skills. Cultural rules can also limit mobility. there is a complex circular relationship between culture and play. Games. . In general. and other play activities are learned and transmitted from generation to generation. Parents can consciously or unconsciously attempt to inculcate certain values through their choice of toys." Play provides a model for society and prepares individuals for new situations and roles by allowing them to practice a wide variety of behaviors and to devise solutions to potential problems. Similarly. 1989). sometimes due to the innovations of the participant children and sometimes due to interventions by adults. such as soft stuffed toys and pets.
theMesoamerican 1991). The interpre tation of figurines is not easy as they have many possible roles other than as playthings (Park. and also played with by children (Adams. to influence opinions. it is no accident that the symbolically babe is associated with Christ. 1989) and games (DeBoer. 1991). Games played by adults. a game played widely throughout the eastern United States and the plains. 1992. was manipulated by elites to help them increase control of the exchange that occurred via Mississipian the gambling associated with the sport and utilize the symbolic values attached to ball game is a classic example of an adult the game. Knol. Similarly. 1993) that advertisers purposefully choose to picture babies old enough to smile in an attempt to convince women of the idyllic nature of mother hood. A similar argument has been made for the 14th century. 1998). figurines may have served several functions simultaneously. 6. Children's games game with symbolic import (Scarborough and Wilcox. Although there has been some interest in describing toys and games. Van Beek. it is usually difficult to clearly identify objects that were intended as toys. 1987.7. symbolic of current or future roles of an individual or group (Marangou.20 Kamp Although there is considerable archaeological evidence of both toys (Pandya. could also have had deep significance. may serve important ritual. Analyses of Roman infant burials provide a case in . p. Swiny. in addition to being enjoyable. there has been little effort to discuss what play can reveal about the socialization process or about social values and organization in general. Miniature tools found in burials. rather than simply reflecting them. 1990. used in ceremonies. relationship of games to culture is potentially quite complex. it is extremely tomake certain that they are avoiding stereotypes in important for archaeologists their interpretations of the past. Thus. who are often symbolically are associated with God. 1980). The As Sillar (1994) points out. it can manipulated be argued (Scott. 1986). when increases in the frequency of portrayals of Mary nursing the infant Jesus may be an attempt to and encourage breast feeding (Miles. In some cases. for example. or toys. sym bolic and political purposes. Rollefson. 1993. may have been intended for finer work. today children have distinct symbolic associa innocent tions for most Europeans. Thus. whereas older males. 1991. as instructional aids. Ladd. Are children's activities stressing strategy or chance? Cooperation or competition? Is play highly sex-segregated? What gender roles are being stressed? Is play of necessity organized to allow children towork or does it interfere with the opportunity towork? Do play activities teach children the skills needed for later work? Is play even separable from work? The Meaning of Childhood 1994). enhance the value of motherhood Because the symbolic meanings of childhood are pervasive. as with the Hopi and Zuni katsina dolls. Images of children may also be linked with wisdom. cheaper substitutes for items needed in the afterlife. although this has yet to be studied. DeBoer (1993) argues that chunkey.
although this type of analysis must be approached with care. Ideas about the appropriate position of children and their value both to the family and to society as a whole may depend in part on the roles children play in the culture. given half the chance. By burying their infants in as sociation with agricultural features. On the basis of a comparison of distributions of gestational ages at death for the infants from Romano-British Wharram Percy) contexts with data on modern deaths of infants. Alternatively. Scott (1991) interprets the infant burial remains as part of a general revitalization movement occurring in late Roman Britain which sought to revive elements of Celtic culture and emphasized fertility.Watts. the assumption is that "women in Roman Britain." In contrast to these in terpretations. 1983. . and particu larly the terms inwhich it is described. and fertility. or security for their parents. the early Britons may have been establishing connections between their dead offspring. Rega (1997) found that skeletal orientation corresponded well with sex even for those older children whose sex she felt could be determined from permanent using a discriminant function analysis relying on measurements dentition. children may be desired they demonstrate the fertility and virility of their parents. and in cases of severe deformation (Mays. 1989). 1993). differences skeletal remains may yield clues that a culture favored either boys or girls. examination of skeletal remains may reveal cultural attitudes towards and maybe even differences in attitudes toward boys and girls. Thus differential mortality in stress patterns observed on alternatively. Infants buried in household contexts at several villas have been interpreted as attempts to disguise unwanted births by surreptitious burial (Johnston. and medieval (at data suggests the use of infanticide. infanticide was common or the age distributions archaeologists are finding are the result of burial practices that mandate special ceremonies for infants and special infant burial areas can be discussed. Because the cemetery lacks infants under a year. Rega argues that to even the sex ratios more of the missing infants must be males. she notes a preponderance of females in the 1-6 year age group. At Mokrin in the former Yugoslavia. What is more striking are the terms inwhich the Romano-British infanticide has been described.Archaeology of Childhood 21 point. in fact. a high value may be placed on children because their work is needed or because they are seen as a future source of labor. the ancestral lineage. Historic evidence suggests that the Romans did practice infanticide to limit family size. since males and females have somewhat different biological needs and responses to Stressors. As Scott (1993. The controversy here revolves around the issue of infanticide. Thus. 79) points out. would behave like these archaeologists' assumed and daft versions of naughty. p. Mays (1993) argues that the Romano-British Whether. Using burial orientation to determine sex for younger children. as mentioned previously. political because An children power. 1 year) and suggests This that the implies higher death rates for infant males inhabitants were practicing either selective (under male infanticide or preferentially of males and females or. irresponsible Victorian maids stuffing bastard offspring into sundry nooks and crannies around the house and yard. neglecting male babies. when the child was an undesired girl.
because they were always of local origin (Clendinnen. Play in itself. while their watchers their own pathos of their fate as they were paraded moved tears were thought to augur rain. This may suggest that sons were preferred. The children were kept by the priests for some weeks before their deaths (those kindergartens of doomed infants are difficult to contemplate). She sees their sacrifice as a kind of debt payment for rains. their throats were dressed. including capacocha. Presumably. 1993). but also learned through imitation and play. "As children learn their skills as gifts from the saints/A/??^.) The to tears. and archaeological the ritual sacrifice of children evidence to analyze the Inca custom of capacocha. pp. 10). ethnographic data. The use of children as sacrifices has inspired students of both the Inca and the Aztecs to consider the issue of the symbolic meaning of children. they were magnificently slit: gifted to Tlaloc the Rain God as "bloodied flowers of maize." are sometimes used for play. not daughters (Janssen and Janssen. The sacrifice of children provided a perfectly reciprocal relationship between humans and the to Arnold (1991. paraded in litters. and. but are also associated with a variety Miniatures of ritual practices.22 Kamp InMiddle Kingdom Egypt apotropaeic wands provided magical protection for pregnant woman and children. Children sacrificed toTlaloc were unique among sacrificial victims. Archaeological documentation of the has been found in the form of frozen naturally mummified capacocha ceremonies children found high in the Andes and the artifacts associated with them. 9. 226). 1990. only children born under a specific day sign and with a double cowlick were chosen. 1991. 55) notes. Broda (1991) suggests that the sacrificed children were symbolic of the growth of maize. The names found on the wands show that they were used to protect infant sons. But their actual engagement with the people would be slight. Sillar (1994) uses a combination of ethnohistoric accounts. and being very probably the children of lowly dependents. as they wept. p. p. Sillar argues that this is because inAndean culture work has a partially ritual nature and the work skills are given by the gods. and possibly well before that. According sustained the human body through its wild resources and fruits of agriculture? fruits of the human body (children) sustained the earth. it seems logical that playing could be conceived of as an appropriate way to communicate with the deities. which may have assuaged the parents' grief. Child sacrifice is also part of the prehistoric tradition in the northern Mexican highlands. being removed from their natal homes at two or three. Alternatively. p. 98. as the appropriate festivals arrived. 99). They were purchased from their mothers (Clendinnen. pp. Children were sacrificed because they were seen as especially effective communicants with the gods. "The earth (Tlaloc) physically earth/gods. 98). then acquires a strong symbolic significance which can be seen in its incorporation in a number of ritual activities. Then. 1991." The tears of the sacrificed . As Sillar (1994." (They were thought then to enter the gentle paradise of Tlaloc. but best-documented for the Aztecs. boy babies may have been seen as more fragile and vulnerable or girl babies may have been protected using other methods that do not leave as readily identifiable traces. to the deities and their burial with miniature objects. It is well-attested at Teotihuacan (Sanchez.
324). 187). 1998. 13). Lopez Austin (1984. 1998. on the other children's purity as a reason for their particular ability to communicate hand. and hence to death. the gift of Tlaloc (Arnold. 3. The entire . symbols and even for the Aztec. 1969.Archaeology of Childhood 23 children and of those mourning for them were symbolic of rain. fertility (Read. indeed.. ?as humans. Ill.141). 93) and their value is high. 171). p. Aztec children may have represented food for the cosmos (Read. THE CHILD'S Because children are an POINT part OF VIEW systems. babies had a special symbolic status. or Mexica children not yet fully members of the group. Berrelleza as offering at the temple of Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl found (1991) suggests a more pragmatic view. while still fulfilling religious purposes. In addition to the meanings discussed above. pp. p. pp. the symbolic meaning of children that has yet to be fully exploited. Sahagun." with insights into the symbolic meaning of Aztec children may be de rived from an examination of their roles in other ceremonies. tomention their existence occasionally.105. 2. and relationship (Sahagun. 1969. Undoubtedly nuances depending children provided multivocal such as age. pp. p. Furthermore. during which pre pubescent youths drink quantities of octli and engage in a variety of sexual acts Other 1991). there is direct archaeological evidence of sacrifices. artifacts associated with including the deposition of the body. Before being weaned. Again. and artistic and ethnohistoric representations. 12. but as 'other'?those who are not. p. 1991 . p. like that of precious commodities such as necklaces (Sahagun. it is not enough to just pay cursory attention to children. through the ingestion of food (Read. and the on variables full complexity remains to be parsed out. or the possibility of an apprentice craftsperson. 126). When Sahagun's informants described children they grouped them by age. p. 1961. Brundage. 110) assertion that "the Mexica whether warriors or captives from hostile tribes. in the children Based upon his discovery of a large number of pathologies at Tlatelolco. 1979. Aztec documents and archaeology provide a rich resource for understanding (Nicholson. 1969. 133. the locales of the accompanying ceremonials.. raw materials analogous to precious stones or feathers to be fashioned into good Aztecs (Joyce. Children are the bearers of honor (Sahagun. because they were not yet bound to the earth. with legitimacy. 93. infant health. that the sacrifice of ill children was a means of reducing energy expenditure. gender. translated as the drunkenness of children. 1998. p. perhaps to desultorily discuss a toy. 219). children integral of cultural prehistoric should not be ignored. 1999a) or vegetation ready to grow and blossom (Sahagun. Critical to part of the meaning of the sacrifice ritual may be the truth or falsity of identified their victims? Clendinnen's (1991. for example in the Pillahuana ritual. 171). posits the gods. gender. 1969. p. allowing archaeologists considerable scope for interpretation.
Now.24 Kamp age spectrum of a culture must be viewed as dynamic contributors to it. agents as well as objects. archaeologists . Janssen and Janssen. the objects in a burial. Other types of archaeological evidence are more nonreactive. several general studies of childhood have included early time periods when documentation is sparse (Aries. they are representations of particular adult perspectives on childhood. Sutro. Similarly. work is done by adults. Soafer Derevenski. They reflect simply the normal activities of children and adults and are not an attempt to communi cate information. a tomb painting. children have been relegated to the home. 1997). 1997. Scott. neglected the subject of childhood. Thus. this is problematic. 1990. These include evidence of childhood disease and nutrition. and their import scant (Baker. rather than necessarily accurate reflections of the childhood experience or the views of the children being depicted (Harkness. we must examine archaeology for adultist biases. 1995). CONCLUSIONS 1996). 1991). Chamberlain. Feminists criticized archaeology for its androcentric biases. to an extent. Other aspects of the archaeological record such as toys and artmade by children may more directly reflect the views of children. Obviously these are useful for an understanding of childhood in any time period. 1994) have. they can tell us about adult views of childhood and reflect adult attempts to communicate particular perspectives on the nature of childhood and appropriate childhood experiences. and some types of toys are all the prod ucts of adult activities. While archaeologists have recognized in passing that children affect the patterns of archaeological deposits (Hammond and Hammond. and that it is only adults produce Ideally children must be given voice. While there have been brief forays into the investigation of some aspects have not of prehistoric children or of issues tangential to them. and the effects of childhood activities on archaeological sites. 1997. who provide the ma jority of current analyses of the children in the past. 1990. the physical environment in which the child develops. Most documents are controlled by adults. As such. the object of others' initiatives. history (Cunningham. 1981. Although sociology (James and Prout. their work devalued. Like women. to assume who that all the meaningful cultural innovations. For historians. Sommerville. 1962. archaeologists have paid little attention to the lives of the children who inhabited the prehistoric landscape. When considering the issue of prehistoric children. heretofore. artistic depictions of children are often produced by adults. Thus. 1982) and many others have focused on later historic and contemporary time periods. but are only part of the story. 1996. we tend to see children as passive. not children. Because all archaeologists are adults. and even feniinist studies (Alanen. Kinney. it is important to think both about the evidence and about who controls the evidence. their actions seen as passive and lacking in agency. Golden. 1990). 1997.
variability in age needs to be viewed as one of a number of inter secting variables that determine an individual's identity and social roles (Meskell. Thus. it is difficult to identify alternative genders securely using the archaeological record.Archaeology of Childhood 25 reconstruct a detailed picture of childhood in any to systematically culture or to relate their studies to the broader literature that is single prehistoric available from cultural and biological anthropology. to avoid falling into the trap of viewing It is time finally for archaeologists childhood as a constant or relegating the activities of children to the periphery. for example. There is no political movement that will spur scholarship on children and the topic attempted is not particularly avant garde in other disciplines either. of age categories may vary with gender or other important social Obviously. As demonstrated above. Similarly. we are usually left with either silence or the naive reiteration of modern Western stereotypes. using age categories appropriate to the culture being discussed may yield explicable patterns. The number of age categories used will vary from society to society as will the chronological ages data demarcating the divisions. most actual analyses startwith the premise of two gender categories. despite the explicit acknowledgement sex are not equivalent and that multiple genders may exist. individuals within a certain age range are socially differentiated and thus warrant specific burial treatment. Inmost societies with multiple gender identities all but two of the genders are infrequent. or other disciplines such as history and psychology. This problem should not occur with the stages of childhood. Therefore. ignoring important variability due to age (Joyce and Claassen. independent of gender. male and female. even though they may have biological analogues. critical to a consideration of prehistoric children is a description of their life circumstances. to produce inadequate and biased scholarship. It has been noted that much gender research assumes a modal woman for a particular society. archaeologists must begin investigating childhood simply because not to do so is to ignore a large percentage of the prehistoric population and. If. In gender studies. class and other social attributes. 1991). We should not expect that a society will possess a single definition of child hood. 1997). the sample of individuals within that age range should be large enough to allow investigators to discern even imperfect patterning. 1998). Instead of serious scholarship on childhood. hence. because the recognition of a social group relies on patterning. while ethnocentrically imposing the archaeologist's definition produces confusion. Because life stages based in part or solely on age are social constructs. Even the chronolog ical boundaries attributes. not unique or rare cases. archaeologists must be extremely careful about imposing their own preconceptions upon the evidence. As described earlier for Crawford's Anglo-Saxon (Crawford. archaeologists have just begun . An initial step in any investigation into prehistoric childhood should be the establishment of local definitions of childhood based on empirical archaeological that gender and evidence.
and the types of play and work activities in which they are likely to engage. however. we should remember that the ethnographic and the effective historic ceptions. for example. individ Finally. It is perhaps almost self-evident that themost difficult task will be to cast aside our own perceptions of themeaning of childhood. which is to an extent archaeologically discernable. statuary. evidence must include the social This means our analysis of the archaeological as well as traditional artifacts that might be considered and physical settings. leading to less gender differentiation for children. and in some village societies children from many communities may be brought together for schooling or initiation. as in small social units there are unlikely to be a large number of same-sex children. Whether investigating the nature of work. For instance. What has not been consciously attempted. In some urban settings. sources show considerable We cannot assume that variability. learning or power. and we must forget our own precon small tools are "toys. For example. Descriptions of material culture have always been and still are the backbone of most archaeological research. warriors." meant just for amusement when we have ample evidence that children are often economically productive. such as architecture. children. Small need to be more flexible about the types of tasks assigned to boys groups may and girls. and other artifact types for evidence of the status and roles of prehistoric pictures. Gender seg regation may work in the same fashion. the actual effective social unit for children is a fairly small kindred or neighborhood. a fortified site location and indications of chronic warfare may suggest restricted mobility for some or all children. that The natural and built environment will affect the amount of mobility are allowed. we cannot automatically assume that young individuals buried with weaponry were not. the kinds of objects that are a part of their daily lives. play. burial remains. that the size of the total site population is not always the same as the units of socialization. activities are likely to be structured differently in large groups than in small groups. but also for work. relevant. we need to allow children the possibility of agency. in fact. This has potential implications for units of children's socialization and play. Some creativity will be needed to discern the fullest possible picture. In larger populations children may be able to associate primarily with others of a similar age and may even be organized into age grades. It should be noted. the physical competencies required of them. Similarly. Of particular impor tance may be the size of the child's cohort. While ual autonomy is circumscribed by social circumstances such as hierarchies of . if we reflect on the participation of individuals age 10 and even younger in recent wars. however. Also of relevance is the social setting. while in small groups the demographic structure is likely tomake this impossible. is an explicit consideration of the ways in which children this material culture would have been likely to affect the childhood experience.26 to examine Kamp traditional data sources.
Practice. E. John Whittaker. April Kamp-Whittaker. I have also been inspired by discussions about the prehistory of childhood with Iwould Kelley Hays-Gilpin. but like women in cultures where men have more for their mal power. and M. Once we begin the quest. P. (eds. Alice Kehoe. "Where have all the old people gone?" ACKNOWLEDGMENTS like to thank my daughter. just as an archaeology that includes a consideration of gender provides a more accurate and interesting perspective on the past. . 219-232. Arizona. Vintage Press.Archaeology of Childhood 27 authority. Aries. Bardy. J.. Rosemary Joyce. Eating landscape: Human sacrifice Press of Colorado. To Arnold. Catherine spiration Cameron. age categories and their cultural meanings have provided a challenge to archaeologists working with a primarily material record of the past. Politics. in Aztec Mexico. Centuries of Childhood. Aldershot. Patricia Crown. and the "child question. Childhood Matters: Social Theory. this is true for adults as well." In Qvortrup. Change Place: Aztec Ceremonial University pp. they have the ability to use a variety of strategies tomanipulate circumstances. and two anonymous reviewers read and commented on the article. pp. an archaeology that includes all ages from the newborn to the oldest inhabitants will illuminate the operations of past cultures in a more complete and revealing manner. they provide basic organizational principles for most societies. 27?42. It is imperative that archaeologists search for the lost children of the past. Sgritta. (1994). Adams. Colorado. (ed. Like gender categories. innovate. AJanen. but children also learn from other children. of course) that scholars dealing with gender have found. (1991). UK. James Skibo.. G. Perhaps the next question should be. D. and John Whittaker. C. New York . Landscapes. P. age categories have been hard for us as archaeologists to dis sociate from our own cultural stereotypes. and pass their innovations on to other children and perhaps adults as well.). (1962). Like gender categories. Tucson. Niwot. it is also not unlikely that we will be driven to investigate other age categories as well. REFERENCES CITED E.. Like gender categories. Like gender categories. University Press. and Wintersberger. L. Gender and generation: Feminism H. (1991). The Origin and Development of Arizona of the Pueblo Katsina Cult. Patricia Crown. age categories are cultural constructs. Avebury Press. Nevertheless. we will probably experience the same kinds of successes (and frustrations too.). Inmany circumstances children may be less powerful than adults. Once we have begun to look for children. In Carrasco. Children learn from adults and act as the recipients of culture. for providing in and helping me type in formatting changes in the references.
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