The 10th anniversary edition of Childhood in the Past is out now!

Take a look at the contents of Childhood in the Past – Volume 10.1 – 2017:

Editorial – Ten Years of Childhood in the Past

Eileen M. Murphy

Invited paper

SSCIP: The First Ten Years

Sally Crawford

Research papers

Landscapes of Childhood: Places and Material Culture

Margarita Sánchez Romero

Child Bioarchaeology: Perspectives on the Past Ten Years

Simon Mays, Rebecca Gowland, Siân Halcrow and Eileen Murphy

Reflections on Interdisciplinarity in the Study of Childhood in the Past

Jane Eva Baxter, Shauna Vey, Erin Halstad McGuire, Suzanne Conway and Deborah E. Blom

Homo faber juvenalis: A Multidisciplinary Survey of Children as Tool Makers/Users

David F. Lancy

Book reviews, edited by Simon Mays

The Archaeology of Childhood: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on an Archaeological Enigma. Edited by Güner Coşkunsu – reviewed by Siân E. Halcrow

British Hymn Books for Children, 1800-1900. Re-Tuning the History of Childhood. By Alisa Clapp-Itnyre – reviewed by Siân Pooley

Childhood, Youth and Emotions in Modern History: National, Colonial and Global Perspectives. Edited by Stephanie Olsen – reviewed by Leticia Fernández-Fontecha Rumeu

The End of American Childhood: A History of Parenting from Life on the Frontier to the Managed Child. By Paula S. Fass – reviewed by Jane Eva Baxter

Home Decoration. By Charles Franklin Warner – reviewed by Lynne McKerr

Adolescence in Modern Irish History. Edited by Catherine Cox and Susannah Riordan – reviewed by Virginia Crossman


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From Eileen Murphy’s Editorial – Ten Years of Childhood in the Past

Volume 10.1 commences with an invited contribution by SSCIP President, Sally Crawford, in which she reviews the many and varied activities of the Society over the past 10 years. She provides an important account of the events that led to the formation of the Society and indeed Childhood in the Past. She ends by reflecting on the achievements the Society had made over the past 10 years and expresses a desire to continue supporting all those working in the field of past childhood studies.

The volume also includes four research papers, each of which have been led and developed by members of the SSCIP Committee. As mentioned above, the first paper by Margarita Sánchez Romero investigates the historiography of research undertaken into past childhood through a review of the subjects dealt within the past issues of Childhood in the Past. Her approach uses bodies, places and material culture to examine a variety of landscapes of childhood – landscapes of care and affection, landscapes of learning, landscapes of socialization, landscapes of uncertainty and, finally, landscapes of research in which she identifies potential future avenues of research. The second paper by Simon Mays, Rebecca Gowland, Siân Halcrow and I reviews key developments that have been made in the field of child bioarchaeology over the past 10 years. The paper includes a bibliometric study of publications in physical anthropology/osteoarchaeological journals over a 10-year period to assess the general trends that have occurred in relation to the study of the skeletal remains of children. It then proceeds to examine the social bioarchaeology of the child, in which a number of important theoretical frameworks used for positioning children in past societies, in particular the life course approach, are discussed. The bibliometrical study indicated that many of the publications with a focus on child bioarchaeology have concentrated on diet and palaeopathology and innovations in these areas are also explored. The paper concludes with the observation that bioarchaeological studies that integrate children and adults will contribute to a more complete view of past societies.

In their paper, Jane Eva Baxter and colleagues provide their personal reflections on interdisciplinarity in the study of childhood in the past. They start with the observation that a key characteristic of studies of childhood in the past is their interdisciplinary nature and suggest this situation has arisen for two main reasons; interest in the field is a relatively recent phenomenon and the study of past childhood has been largely marginalized in traditional disciplinary approaches. They are of the view that spaces that allow scholars to come together to address past childhood as an area of study, such as those provided through SSCIP conferences or in the pages of Childhood in the Past, are essential. Four reflective essays are written by scholars from different backgrounds – theatre history (Shauna Vey), art history (Suzanne Conway), archaeology/teaching (Erin Halstad McGuire) and bioarchaeology (Deborah E. Blom). Each reflective essay considers the development and significance of interdisciplinary thinking in their work and also provides insights in relation to the discipline in which they practice.

David Lancy’s paper provides a multidisciplinary survey of children as tool makers/users with the overall goal of deriving a set of generalizations that might characterize children as the makers/users of tools in early hominin societies. His information is derived from lithic archaeology, studies of juvenile chimps as novice tool users, recent laboratory work in human infant and child cognition in relation to the use of objects as tools and the ethnographic study of children learning about the tools used by their communities. He argues that this multidisciplinary approach has the potential to provide greater insights in relation to the development of children as tool makers and users than has previously been available to scholars working within narrow disciplinary constraints.

The journal ends with 6 book reviews compiled by Simon Mays. The first reviews Güner Coşkunsu’s edited volume on interdisciplinary perspectives on the archaeology of childhood. Four of the other books are historical in nature and deal with a variety of diverse topics including, 19th-century British hymn books, childhood, youth and emotions, a history of parenting in America and adolescence in modern Irish history. Lynne McKerr’s review on Charles Franklin Warner’s book on Home Decoration was chosen for the special issue because, as she describes, it is one of a series of culturally significant ‘Forgotten Books’ which are out of copyright and have been subsequently digitized and made freely available. First published in 1911, it offers a fascinating insight into contemporary aspirations and ambitions for children living in early 20th-century America.



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Children, Death and Burials assembles a panorama of studies with a focus on juvenile burials; the 16 papers have a wide geographic and temporal breadth and represent a range of methodological approaches. All have a similar objective in mind, however, namely to understand how children were treated in death by different cultures in the past; to gain
insights concerning the roles of children of different ages in their respective societies,
and to find evidence of the nature of past adult–child relationships and interactions across the life course.

The contextualisation and integration of the data collected, both in the field and in the laboratory, enables more nuanced understandings to be gained in relation to the experiences of the young in the past. A broad range of issues are addressed within the volume, including the inclusion/exclusion of children in particular burial environments and the impact of age in relation to the place of children in society.

Child burials clearly embody identity and ‘the domestic child’, ‘the vulnerable child’, ‘the high status child’, ‘the cherished child’, ‘the potential child’, ‘the ritual child’ and the ‘political child’, and combinations thereof, are evident throughout the narratives. Investigation of the burial practices afforded to children is pivotal to enlightenment in relation to key facets of past life, including the emotional responses shown towards children during life and in death, as well as an understanding of their place within the social strata and ritual activities of their societies.
9781785707124 | OXBOW BOOKS | PAPERBACK | £40.00

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Call for papers: SSCIP conference, Mexico City, Nov 2017


Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past 10th International Conference: The Life and Death of Children in the Past, November 6th – 8th, 2017, Templo Mayor Museum, Free Entrance

Submission of proposals
• Abstracts accepted from March 10th – June 30th, 2017.
• All abstracts must be sent by e-mail to
• Abstracts must have a maximum of 200 words.
• Once the proposals have been evaluated, acceptance letters will be sent electronically.
• Individual and co-authored works may be submitted.

The presentations
• Presentations will last 15 minutes. We ask you to be very strict with the time of each presentation.
• In addition, each speaker will have five minutes to answer questions.
• Papers will be accepted in both Spanish and English.
• The organizing committee will provide a laptop and projector for projection of presentations in PowerPoint format for Windows.
• There is no fee to present a paper.

• The Conference venue will be the Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Auditorium of the Templo Mayor Museum, in the Historic Center of Mexico City.
• Entry is free, but audience seating is limited to 139 people.

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Roman childhood: a date for your diary

roman-childhoodGrowing up in the Roman Empire: A multidisciplinary approach to Roman childhood

An evening event held in the beautiful World Heritage site of Durham Castle. Two talks by leading experts in Roman childhood bring together a wide range of archaeological, skeletal and historical evidence for understanding the experience, perceptions and care of children in the Roman World.

Professor Maureen Carroll (University of Sheffield)

Dr Rebecca Gowland (Durham University)

Location: The Senate Suite, University College (The Castle), Durham

Date/Time: 5.00-7.30pm, Friday 19th May

Drinks and Canapes included

£15 (£10 for members of the Roman Society or SSCIP)

Places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis. To book a place, please send this form , together with your payment to Rebecca Gowland, Department of Archaeology, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE. Please make cheques payable to Durham University.

For further information contact:

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Forager Child Studies

(a message from the Forager Child Studies Group):

We would like to inform you of a new and exciting research project coming out of the forager child studies research team (

We are looking to conduct a cross-cultural analysis of the ecological factors that influence forager children’s participation in play and work activities across the lifespan. More specifically, we are looking for data made up of frequency of observations (from either focal follows or scan samples) spent in work, and frequency of observations spent in play for boys and girls in early childhood, middle childhood, and, if possible, adolescence.

If you have this kind of data, please contact us at

Also, please consider joining our listserv. Just started, this listserv will serve as place to share and learn about research on forager children!forum/foragerchildstudies

Source: Our Research

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Want to know more about the study of childhood in the past? Follow SSCIP’s outreach activities

At the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past, we want to share our passion and enthusiasm for this subject with professionals and the public alike. Therefore, we have been busy organising events that highlight the importance of children in the past. In October 2016, the Society was involved in the Big Biology Day at Staffordshire University (UK). Activities delivered on the day centred around the biological development of children with hands on activities for all the family, including quizzes, bone identification tasks, and demonstrations (all using resin casts). Thank you to Claire Hodson (Durham University) and Dr David Errickson (Teesside University) for working very hard on the day and promoting the society.


Image above: Claire telling visitors about developmental osteology

On Saturday 28th January 2017 the Society ran a joint event with Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) to mark the closure of the Museum’s Heritage Lottery Funded “Hide and Seek: Looking for Children in the Past” exhibition. This unique exhibition has proved to be extremely popular and demonstrates the importance of including children in our interpretations of the past. Dr Jody Joy (one of the exhibition’s curators) offered tours of the exhibition and provided a unique insight into objects on display whilst the education and outreach team and volunteers (Lorena Bushell, Sarah-Jane Harknett, Simon Weppel and Emanuela Vai) ran family activities. Adults and children were tasked with making replica pots (based on those on display in the exhibition) and George and the Dragon puppets (based on the graffiti from Marsham, Norfolk) and also tried their hand at sticking on ‘microgold’ and decorating glasses. Plus, there were also Anglo-Saxon board games. The family day was a huge success and attracted around 40 visitors

One of the many highlights of the afternoon was Dr Sally Crawford’s (University of Oxford and President of the Society) keynote entitled “New kids on the block: the archaeology of childhood comes of age”, which attracted in the region of 50 visitors from an array of professional backgrounds. Sally explored the development of the archaeology of childhood and the importance of including children in our interpretation of archaeological sites and objects. After the talk, the MAA kindly funded a wine reception, which allowed visitors to discuss all aspects of childhood in the past and view the exhibition one final time before its closure. I, for one, am very sad to see the exhibition go but I am delighted that it has made our discipline more visible not only to the public, but to archaeologists and others working in the heritage and museum sector. Congratulations to Jody Joy, Imogen Gunn, Eleanor Wilkinson, Sarah-Jane Harknett, Lorena Bushell, Matt Buckley, Bob Bourne and the rest of the MAA team for delivering a wonderful exhibition and thank you for allowing us to host this event with you.


Above images: Sally delivering her Keynote at MAA “New kids on the block”



Image above: Lorena and Emanuela practising the activities on Saturday.

Further details about the “Hide and Seek” exhibition can be found here.

We are organising more events to showcase just how brilliant the archaeology of childhood is. Follow our wordpress page and us on Twitter to get notification of future events.

(Contribution by Dr Kirsty Squires, Outreach Officer and committee member for SSCIP, Staffordshire University, UK).



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Snap-shots of research: Personhood of perinates in the past — The Bioarchaeology of Childhood

This month we are featuring Dr Tracy Betsinger who is an Assistant Professor from SUNY Oneonta. Prior to joining SUNY Oneonta, Dr. Betsinger held a post-doctoral research position with the Global History of Health Project at Ohio State University. Tracy working on a perinate from the post-medieval Drawsko collection, Poland (while pregnant with a fetal […]

via Snap-shots of research: Personhood of perinates in the past — The Bioarchaeology of Childhood | Sian Halcrow

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