Call for papers at the SSCIP Session at the European Association of Archaeologists Annual Conference – Vilnius, Lithuania – September 2016

Eileen Murphy and Grete Lillehammer invite papers to be considered for their SSCIP session on:

Giving New Meaning to Cultural Heritage: The Old and the Young in Past Societies

In archaeological studies of the past the humans in questions were often viewed as being adults in the prime of their lives and inadvertently male. Females were introduced into archaeological discourses with the growth of gender archaeology during the 1980s and an explosion of research has been undertaken on the archaeology of children over the course of the past decade. With some notable exceptions, however, the elderly are still often largely invisible in archaeological narratives – even though ethnographic analogy clears demonstrates that ‘elders’ were often viewed with particular respect due to the perceived wisdom associated with their longevity. The inclusion of a wider spectrum of humanity within modern archaeological discourses has also resulted in an increase in studies of the human life course. Such studies stress the necessity of interconnecting the different stages of the life cycle to enable us to gain a better understanding of the life experiences of individuals at different times for the duration of their lives.

In this session we wish to focus on adult and child relationships and, in particular, evidence for the interaction of the young with the old. In the modern world grandparents are often key figures in the lives of their grandchildren but was this also the case in the past when people generally died at a much younger age than today? Is it possible to find evidence of such interactions in the funerary record, in the chaîne opératoire associated with different forms of material culture, in spatial analyses or in any other aspect of archaeological research? How is the evidence approached, integrated and presented in the professions of cultural heritage management? By focusing on these relationships we hope to bring the elderly out from the shadows while also remembering that children in the past would have interacted with many adults beyond their parents – just as they do in the present.

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