Author(s): Lorna Tilley

Year: 2015


The bioarchaeology of care is a case-study-based, contextualised approach for inferring and interpreting the experience of disability and health-related care response in the past that is based on evidence for experience of disease found in human remains. It is supported by the Index of Care, a non-prescriptive on-line instrument intended to assist researchers work systematically through the four stages of bioarchaeology of care analysis. This presentation opens with an overview of the bioarchaeology of care methodology, covering the principles shaping its design as well as its potential and limitations. It goes on to address the most commonly-voiced objections to the archaeological inference of care, before discussing the conceptual foundations on which the new approach was constructed (focusing particularly on theories of agency and on the role of osteobiography). Finally, this presentation will consider why it is important for archaeology to acknowledge the implications of the giving and receipt of care wherever evidence permits - in terms of enriching academic knowledge; realising our ethical obligations to the individuals whose remains we analyse and whose lives we (re)produce; and providing the general public with a perspective on past life and behaviour that may help inform debate in the present.

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Cite this Record

THINKING AND THEORY IN THE BIOARCHAEOLOGY OF CARE. Lorna Tilley. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395736)