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Tracing ChildhoodBioarchaeological Investigations of Early Lives in Antiquity$
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Jennifer L. Thompson, Marta P. Alfonso-Durruty, and John J. Crandall

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049830

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049830.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Sense or Sensationalism?

Sense or Sensationalism?

Approaches to Explaining High Perinatal Mortality in the Past

(p.123) 6 Sense or Sensationalism?
Tracing Childhood

Helen F. Gilmore

Siân E. Halcrow

University Press of Florida

Infanticide has been practised and documented in a wide range of cultures through time. However, its identification in archaeological contexts can be problematic, and has often been based solely on the evidence of a high incidence of perinatal mortality. Do these interpretations always make sense, or are bioarchaeologists inclining towards the sensational explanation? In this chapter it is argued that investigations of infanticide should be based on more evidence than gestational age-at-death distributions. Corroborative evidence from the socio-cultural, environmental and chronological contexts of the site is essential for the interpretation of whether or not infanticide occurred. Using this approach we evaluate the evidence for the occurrence of infanticide at two archaeological sites, Ashkelon in Roman-period Israel, and the Romano-British Hambleden site in Buckinghamshire.

Keywords:   gestational age-at-death distribution, infanticide, Ashkelon, Hambleden

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