Exploring Intersectionality through Osteobiography: A Case Study from Early Medieval Ireland

Author(s): Rachel Scott

Year: 2017


Over the last decade, social identity has become well established as an area of bioarchaeological research. Although bioarchaeologists now examine a variety of identities in past societies (such as gender, age, and disability), it remains challenging to discuss the ways in which multiple identities intersect in the creation of individual lives. The construction of osteobiographies provides a means of investigating these intersections, in particular the interrelation of age with other aspects of social identity. Telling the life stories of individuals allows researchers to consider how aspects of identity affected the individual’s pathway through life, as well as whether the salience of particular identities changed over the life course. To demonstrate the value of osteobiography for exploring intersectionality in the past, this paper focuses on a case study drawn from the early medieval period in Ireland (c. AD 400-1200). The analysis integrates multiple lines of evidence, interweaving human skeletal, archaeological, and historical data, in order to reconstruct possible pathways through life. The resulting narrative highlights the interrelation of age, gender, status, and religion in the lives of the early Irish.

Cite this Record

Exploring Intersectionality through Osteobiography: A Case Study from Early Medieval Ireland. Rachel Scott. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430638)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15516