A Closer Look at the Livelihoods of Children in the Past


  • Christopher Nicosia Louisiana State University (LSU)


In past mortuary research earlier views of children within the archaeological discipline have often painted pictures of them as being irrelevant to socioeconomic life in past societies. Moreover, adult burials received preferential treatment over nonadult burials for analysis, which lead to incomplete perceptions about personhood, social adulthood, conceptions of gender, and/or pre-adolescent social identity. However, over the past two decades, archaeologists and bioarchaeologists have been paying increasing attention to infants and children and they're being recognized as active agents within their communities, and that their funerary treatments can provide significant information towards societal biosocial contexts.  The Children and Childhood in Bioarchaeology volume edited by Patrick Beauchesne and Sabrina Agarwal highlights the importance of nonadult studies by bringing together a wide-range of bioarchaeological scholars who discuss biocultural, life history, and life-course approaches towards enriching children and childhood studies in antiquity that integrate socio-cultural, biological, and archaeological lines of evidence.   

Author Biography

Christopher Nicosia, Louisiana State University (LSU)

I am a Ph.D. student at Louisiana State University (LSU) within the geography and anthropology department, focusing on Anthropology. I have an interest in the topics of looking at societal aspects of social identity (e.g., personhood, adulthood, gender) and care (e.g., perceptions of cared individuals and paleopathological influences on mortuary treatments) through mortuary practices to piece together social landscapes of past societies. This is an outgrowth of my interest in aspects of social status, mortuary practices, violence, paleopathology, and diet. My dissertation topic involves looking at subadult mortuary treatments (e.g., grave goods, body placement, body orientation, etc.) with biological components (e.g., biological sex, pathologies, etc.) to piece together aspects of their social identity (e.g., personhood, sex-roles, etc.) and to understand more about their roles in past communities.