Ages and Abilities: The Stages of Childhood and their Social Recognition in Prehistoric Europe and Beyond
edited by Katharina Rebay-Salisbury and Doris Pany-Kucera. Paperback; 176x252mm; 264 pages; illustrated throughout. 681 2020 Childhood in the Past Monograph Series 9
. Available both in print and Open Access.
Printed ISBN 9781789697681. £38.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781789697698.
Ages and Abilities explores social responses to childhood stages from the late Neolithic to Classical Antiquity in Central Europe and the Mediterranean and includes cross-cultural comparison to expand the theoretical and methodological framework. By comparing osteological and archaeological evidence, as well as integrating images and texts, authors consider whether childhood age classes are archaeologically recognizable, at which approximated ages transitions took place, whether they are gradual or abrupt and different for girls and boys. Age transitions may be marked by celebrations and rituals; cultural accentuation of developmental stages may be reflected by inclusion or exclusion at cemeteries, by objects associated with childhood such as feeding vessels and toys, and gradual access to adult material culture. Access to tools, weapons and status symbols, as well as children’s agency, rank and social status, are recurrent themes. The volume accounts for the variability in how a range of chronologically and geographically diverse communities perceived children and childhood, and at the same time, discloses universal trends in child development in the (pre-)historic past.
About the Editors
Katharina Rebay-Salisbury is an archaeologist with a research focus on the European Bronze and Iron Ages. She directs the research group ‘Prehistoric Identities’ at the Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and teaches at the University of Vienna. ;
Doris Pany-Kucera studied biological anthropology at the University of Vienna, focusing on muscle marks and joint changes on skeletal remains to reconstruct occupational stress and labour patterns (PhD 2015). She teaches at the Universities of Vienna and Pilsen.
'...the volume fills a gap in the childhood archaeology literature and gives new archaeological perspectives on children's social status, a topic that remains understudied.'—Melie Le Roy, Current World Archaeology, April/May 2021