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Children of the Atacama Desert: The complex interactions between breastfeeding, weaning and environmental stress in one of the world’s harshest environments.

Author(s): Charlotte King ; Sian Halcrow ; Andrew Millard ; Anne Marie Sohler-Snoddy ; Vivien Standen

Year: 2017

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Summary

Infant feeding practices and the weaning process have important implications for early life health and mortality patterns. In particular, the concept of weaning stress is often invoked as an explanation for increased infant or child mortality and morbidity. In this paper we evaluate the concept of weaning stress and the bioarchaeological methods used to interpret its presence. We highlight the intimate connection between stress and the weaning process in our own research in the northern Atacama desert, Northern Chile by combining paleopathological and incremental isotopic methods. We use a case study from the Formative Period (1400BC-500AD) to illustrate the interaction between breastfeeding, weaning, physiological stress and metabolic disease. This highlights the importance of taking a multifaceted approach to weaning studies, and the contribution that this type of approach can make to understanding early life histories within past natural and social environments.


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Children of the Atacama Desert: The complex interactions between breastfeeding, weaning and environmental stress in one of the world’s harshest environments.. Charlotte King, Sian Halcrow, Andrew Millard, Anne Marie Sohler-Snoddy, Vivien Standen. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431813)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15031

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America