Archeological Studies: Why Do We Discount Children in the Archaeological Record?

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Archaeological studies of the paleolithic record commonly neglect to mention the or study in depth the children of the culture/time period in question. It is important to study children, because they can tell us a lot about the culture they lived in and the adults of that era. Sometimes studying children is problematic because of terminology and stuff, but there are a few things we know for sure. If we apply this reasoning to the study of neanderthals, we can learn more about the lives of neanderthals. We know some things about neanderthal kids, but by studying children we can also learn a lot about Neanderthal adults. A lot of the stuff we know about neanderthals comes from studying their children. If we focused more on children, we might …show more content…
In the past, archaeologists have not paid children much thought because they don’t appear to contribute much to their community. Ethnographers would argue that children do play important roles in their societies in many ways, but it was not until very recently that archaeologists have begun to recognize the importance of children in their research (Baxter 164). More than one author I came across framed their paper as a call to action on the study of children in archaeology (_________)


Why is it wrong to discount/ignore children in archaeology?
In “The Archaeology of Childhood,” Baxter tells us that we often disregard the usefulness of children in archaeological studies because we assume that children did not have great control over the societies in which they lived (162). If we look to modern day kids in the U.S., we can see that parents have legal and symbolic control over their children. In general, adults rule the world, and children follow those rules. It is a mistake, however, to make the assumption that our current age hierarchy should apply to the lives of Neanderthals, who lived 400,000 years ago. Children may have been the rhyme and reason of life in some cultures. Who are we to know?

Furthermore, we should not follow the assumption that children, even nowadays, do not have great sway over their environment. Child-rearing is itself a huge portion of a parent’s life-cycle, and we…

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