Department of Archaeology

Care In The Past: Archaeological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

6th October 2012, Joachim Room, College of St. Hild & St. Bede, Durham University.

One of the major social challenges faced today is the provision of care for the elderly, the disabled and the young within society, with contemporary debates dominating local, national and global agendas. The importance of the study of care has been recognised by all research councils, resulting in the formation of the cross-council programme on Lifelong Health and Well-Being. Until recently the study of care has been shied away from in archaeological thought. However, cutting-edge research in both archaeology and bioarchaeology has begun generating questions that implicate care, particularly with regards to the social identity of those who required it. Such research, whilst promising, is still incipient, and the ways in which archaeology can contribute to and interact with other disciplines studying historical care have yet to be realised. This one day multidisciplinary conference aims to further this agenda and will cover perspectives on: childhood care, attitudes towards the disabled and elderly, and methods of treatment from across prehistoric and historical contexts.

Sessions will include keynote speeches by:

Session 1 - Childhood – Dr. Mary Lewis (University of Reading)

Session 2 - Disability – Dr. Irina Metzler (Independent Researcher)

Session 3 - Treatment and Care – Dr. Rebecca Gowland (Durham University)

Registration Fee - £10.00 (to be paid in advance by cash or cheques made payable to ‘Durham University’), please send payment with a completed registration form to:

Lindsay Powell, Durham University, Department of Archaeology, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE

Registration Deadline – 21st September 2012

For further information, please contact us at

Care in the Past: Archaeological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives – Saturday 6th October 2012

Location: Joachim Room, College of St. Hild and St. Bede, Durham University

Registration – 9:00-9:45

Conference Welcome/Introduction – 9:45-10:00

Session 1 – Childhood

10:00-10:20 – Keynote – Mary Lewis (Department of Archaeology, University of Reading) – Child Palaeopathology: Current Status and Future Directions

10:20-10:40 – Jessica Cooney (Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge) – Palaeolithic Babysitters: Understanding Childcare through the Study of Cave Art

10:40-11:00 – Dawn McLaren (AOC Archaeology) – In Sickness and in Health: Aspects of Early Bronze Age Child Burials in Britain

11:00-11:30 – COFFEE BREAK and Poster Session

11:30-11:50 – Katherine Huntley (Department of History, Boise State University) – Supervision of Young Children in the Roman world

11:50-12:10 – Heidi Dawson (Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol) – Examining Perceptions of Status and Care of the Young in Late Medieval England and how they relate to Skeletal Markers of Stress and Diet

12:10-12:30 – Hannah Newton (Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge) – ‘With Great Care and Paines’: Tending the Sick Child in Early Modern England, 1580-1720

12:30-12:45 – Discussion

12:45-13:45 – LUNCH BREAK

Session 2 – Disability

13:45-14:05 – Keynote - Irina Metzler (Independent Researcher) - Disability and Charity in the Middle Ages

14:05-14:25 – Nick Thorpe (Department of Archaeology, University of Winchester) - The Palaeolithic Compassion Debate - Alternative Projections of Modern-Day Disability into the Distant Past

14:25-14:45 – Veronique Thouroude (Wadham Collage, University of Oxford) - "Care in Britain’s Earliest Hospitals

14:45-15:00 – Discussion

15:00-15:30 – Coffee Break

Session 3 – Treatment and Care

15:30-15:50 – Keynote – Rebecca Gowland (Department of Archaeology, Durham University) - ‘That Tattered Coat upon a Stick, the Ageing Body’: a Bioarchaeological Approach to the Invisible Elderly in Roman Britain.

15:50-16:10 – Marlo Willows (School of History, Classics, and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh) – The Treatment of the Sick at the Isle of May

16:10-16:30 – Gary King (Department of Archaeology, University of Durham) – Rare Secrets of the Physicke: the Role of Insects in Historical Remedies and Treatment

16:30-16:50 – Bryn James (Department of Archaeology, University of Manchester) – ‘Spirit of the Plant’: The Ethnopharmacopoeia of Traditional Healers in Madina, Accra

16:50-17:00 – Discussion

17:00-18:00 – Wine Reception

19:00 onwards – Conference Dinner (details TBC)