Osteoarchaeology research presented in the USA

In September 2015, Dr Kirsty Squires  of the Centre of Archaeology visited the USA to give a guest lecture at Northern Kentucky University and presented her research into the treatment of early Anglo-Saxon children at the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past, 8th International Conference at DePaul University, Chicago.

The guest lecture, titled “The bare bones: The application of scientific methods to environmental evidence – a case study” was delivered as part of the Prehistoric Ecology module and explored how scientific methods can be applied to environmental evidence to answer questions about the past. The case study used in this lecture focused on the analysis of cremated remains and the wealth of information that can be extracted from burned human and animal bone and charcoal remains.

This year the theme of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past’s annual conference was “The Ideal Child: Presentation, Representation and Commemoration” and was attended by delegates from around the world. Kirsty presented a paper entitled “Putting Family First: commemorating children in early Anglo-Saxon England” in the “Death and Commemoration” session. This presentation explored how children from early Anglo-Saxon inhumation and cremation practicing communities commemorated the “ideal” child and treated children in life and at the funeral. It was identified that the youngest members of society were commemorated in a similar manner.  The lack of clear gender divisions and roles ascribed to juveniles highlights their unique identity. However funerary practices, such as the multiple burial rite and interment in communal cemeteries, illustrated that children formed an integral part of household units in early Anglo-Saxon England and were commemorated as such at the funeral. The paper presented at this conference built upon previous research  into the treatment of children from early Anglo-Saxon cremation practicing communities.