Real understanding of past societies is not possible without including children, and yet they have been strangely invisible in the archaeological record. Compelling explanation about past societies cannot be achieved without including and investigating children and childhood. However marginal the traces of children's bodies and bricolage may seem compared to adults, archaeological evidence of children and childhood can be found in the most astonishing places and spaces. The archaeology of childhood is one of the most exciting and challenging areas for new discovery about past societies. Children are part of every human society, but childhood is a cultural construct. Each society develops its own idea about what a childhood should be, what children can or should do, and how they are trained to take their place in the world. Children also play a part in creating the archaeological record itself.
In this volume, experts from around the world ask questions about childhood - thresholds of age and growth, childhood in the material culture, the death of children, and the intersection of the childhood and the social, economic, religious, and political worlds of societies in the past.
Sally Crawford is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, she is widely published on Anglo-Saxon archaeology and the archaeology of childhood and is a co-founder and current President of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past. Dawn Hadley is Professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. Dawn has published extensively on Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age archaeology, and on the archaeology of identity. She is also is a Committee member of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past, and Honorary Secretary of the Society for Medieval Archaeology. Gillian Shepherd is the Director of the A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Lecturer in Ancient Mediterranean Studies at La Trobe University. She has published extensively on the archaeology of Greek Sicily and South Italy, especially with regard to burial customs, childhood, and identity. She is also founding and former Committee member of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.