Department of Archaeology
   
   
  

Tiny archaeologies: the world of children in Mycenaean Greece

Moving beyond traditional approaches, this project puts forward a child-centred approach in which Mycenaean children are linked to aspects of time, space, culture and identity, and can reveal their own identities and form their own relationships to their peers and to the adult community.

The study of Aegean childhood to date has considered children as “little adults rather than human beings and individuals living in a present” (to quote Grete Lillehammer’s own words for the state of archaeological research on children and childhood in general), and has focused on a few aspects of their material culture, of constructions of age and gender, and their connection to the adult world (almost exclusively their relationship to motherhood).

Mycenaean-ivory-trio
Ivory female triad from Mycenae, Late Minoan I (Athens, National Archaeological Museum no 7711)

 

Overview

Project overview

The aim of this research project is to redress the omission of children from archaeological research in the Aegean, introduce the interdisciplinary study of children and childhood to Greek archaeology, and place it to the forefront of prehistoric archaeology in the Old World. Moving beyond traditional approaches, this project puts forward a child-centred approach in which Mycenaean children are linked to aspects of time, space, culture and identity, and can reveal their own identities and form their own relationships to their peers and to the adult community.

The core of the project is to develop a new interdisciplinary approach to Aegean archaeology. The evidence from Mycenaean Greece provides an excellent case study of a society with varied attitudes towards children. The methodological approach incorporates:

a) data collection (from burials, depictions, texts, architectural space and children’s material culture)

b) source criticism combining, where appropriate, the disciplines of archaeology and art history, physical anthropology, developmental cognitive neuropsychology and sociology of childhood.

The research methodology, goes substantially beyond the conventional limits of present scholarship on the topic, it employs the strengths of inter- and multi-disciplinarity that will enable the achievement of the goals of the project and its successful completion, and it initiates fresh interdisciplinary productive lines of thinking and opens new avenues to the study of childhood in the past.

 

 

Publications

Gallou, C. 2010. “Children at work in Mycenaean Greece (ca. 1680-1050 BC): A brief survey‟ in Children and Violence from the Greeks to the Present, ed. L. Brockliss and H. Montgomery. Oxbow Books, pp. 162-167. Oxford.

Gallou, C. 2004. “More than little perishers: the case of child burials in Mycenaean Greece‟, Ethnographisch-Archäologische Zeitschrift (EAZ) 45, pp. 365-375.

C. Gallou, forthcoming. “The children’s role in Mycenaean palatial and domestic economies” in The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Childhood, ed. S. Crawford, D. Hardly and G. Shepherd. Oxford University Press.
 

Project team

Principle investigator: Chrysanthi Gallou

 
 

Department of Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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