Interdisciplinarity, archaeology and the study of medieval childhood

Lewis, Carenza (2014) Interdisciplinarity, archaeology and the study of medieval childhood. In: Medieval childhood: archaeological approaches. Childhood in the Past . Oxbow, Oxford. ISBN 9781782976981

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Abstract

Children’s lives are important, both in their own right because childhood is a universally
experienced stage of life, and because the perception and treatment of children both
reflects and impacts on society more widely. However, children’s lives are elusive to the
archaeologist, as children leave less physical trace than adults in the material record (e.g.
Lillehammer 1989; Chamberlain 1997, 249). In order to find archaeological evidence for
childhood we need to know what it looks like; but in order to know what it looks like,
we need to find it: the ultimate taphonomic conundrum. In attempting to resolve this,
it is clear that we should consider the contribution other sources of evidence can make.
This chapter explores analyses pertaining to medieval children carried out within four
non-archaeological disciplines − History; Art History; Literature; and Folklore Studies −
in the hope that it may inspire and encourage greater interdisciplinary familiarity and
exploration.� Considering approaches from these disciplines is not intended to suggest
that there are (or should be) rigid distinctions separating material of interest to different
disciplines: this is simply not the case − an illustrated parchment account of a medieval
saint’s life, for example, is simultaneously text, art and artefact. But different disciplines
do use different techniques and approaches, and so the aim in this chapter is to look
at the potential that different analytical approaches have to illuminate and expand our
knowledge and understanding of medieval children and childhood, and how this can
complement archaeological approaches. We will also see that the prevailing theoretical
framework within which research is conducted is crucial to the capacity of scholars, in
any discipline, to engage with the evidence for childhood.

Keywords:Childhood, Archaeology
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V130 Medieval History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V400 Archaeology
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (Heritage)
ID Code:19191
Deposited On:23 Oct 2015 09:10

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