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Where Were the Children Buried? Reconsidering Childhood in Prehistoric Near East Through Focus on Age and Burial Location

Event Details:

  • Date:       Tuesday, 27th March 2018
  • Time:      16:00
  • Venue:    The Cyprus Institute – Guy Ourisson Building, Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Athalassa Campus
  • Speaker: Yuko Miyauchi, Affiliated Doctoral Student, The Cyprus Institute

* The seminar will be in English and the event is open to the public.

Separation of burial place according to age – a different burial location for children and adults – was and is a common practice in many cultures throughout the world. Evidence in the ancient Near East suggests that this practice can be traced back to the Late Neolithic period. On many archaeological site complexes, adults were buried in communal cemeteries outside the residential area, while children were buried within residential sites, often under the floors of buildings. Given that the separation by age seems to be introduced during this period, it is highly likely that significant changes in socio-cultural views on children and childhood occurred during this period. The existing discussions focusing on the spatial boundary between adults and children as to burial place are however insufficient in order to approach the meanings of such a separation, and a more nuanced discussion of age is required.

This paper discusses the boundary age/s for admission to (mainly) adult cemeteries as a factor in defining the place of subadults of different ages in relation to adults, and hence reconsiders the views of children and childhood during the Neolithic in the Near East. In specific, case studies focusing on burial and age data from Tappeh Sang-e Chakhmaq (Iran, Neolithic) and Tell Abada (Iraq, Chalcolithic) will be presented.

About The Speaker
Yuko Miyauchi is a doctoral student affiliated with the Cyprus Institute and its Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center, funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. She received her Bachelor and Masters Degrees from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, continuing her studies in the Doctoral Program in History and Anthropology in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences. She holds the Research Fellowship for Young Researchers, and a grant from the Overseas Challenge Program for Young Researchers, both funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

She has analysed assemblages of human remains from Iran and Iraq, and participated in excavations in Syria, Iran, Turkey and Iraq on sites ranging in date from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic. Her research interests include human bioarchaeology and burial customs pertaining to subadults, and the Neolithic and Chalcolithic of the Near East.

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