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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Publication details for Professor Rebecca Gowland

Gowland, R.L. & Penny-Mason, B. (2018). Overview: Archaeology and the Medieval Life-Course. In Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain. Gerrard, C. & Gutiérrez, A. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 759-773.

Author(s) from Durham


Historical evidence has provided a rich source of information concerning the structure and experience of the medieval life-course. Archaeology has also contributed to these debates, through the material remains associated with different age groups and the structural remains of houses, but primarily via the wealth of evidence provided by the medieval cemeteries. Human skeletal remains are proving to be a particularly fruitful source of data for understanding the relationship between chronological, biological, and social ages in medieval England. This overview examines the historical, archaeological, and bioarchaeological evidence for the medieval life-course, from infancy to old age. This range of evidence is integrated and discussed with reference to current theoretical approaches to the life course and age identity within the social sciences.