Categorizing and Analyzing Age: Historical Bioarchaeology and Childhood

Author(s): Meredith A.B. Ellis

Year: 2016


While bioarchaeologists are able to estimate age from the remains of children into narrow ranges, they often avoid dividing childhood into categories based on these age estimates.  Children then end up lumped under just a few categories, or even a single category, "child."  While this is prudent in cases where chronological and cultural age cannot necessarily be matched, historical bioarchaeology gives us a unique opportunity to examine historical records and further refine how we categorize, and analyze, the remains of children. Drawing from my research with the children’s remains from the early 19th century Spring Street Presbyterian Church in New York City, in this paper I will illustrate how using a combination of skeletal indicators, historical records, and census data can produce age categories for analysis at a particular site.  I will then share some ways the results of these categorizations can illuminate the variety and plurality of childhood experiences. 

Cite this Record

Categorizing and Analyzing Age: Historical Bioarchaeology and Childhood. Meredith A.B. Ellis. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434513)


Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 112