Redefining Childhood through Bioarchaeology: Toward an Archaeological and Biological Understanding of Children in Antiquity



Many critiques surrounding the archaeology of childhood have addressed the disparate social and biological identifications of children. Bioarchaeological information can elucidate the lives of children and the meaning of childhood in antiquity. Bioanthropological techniques additionally can identify biological developmental stages of childhood that may link to socially defined age grades. This chapter presents and critically evaluates the diverse techniques that may be used to illuminate relationships between biological evidence and social interpretations in the archaeological study of children and childhood. A brief example from the Byzantine Near East illustrates the utility of bioarchaeology in the study of ancient children.