Care in the Past: Archaeological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives [Paperback]

Lindsay Powell (Editor); William Southwell-Wright (Editor); Rebecca Gowland (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781785703355 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2016 | Language: English 208p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w

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Care in the Past


Care-giving is an activity that has been practiced by all human societies. From the earliest societies through to the present, all humans have faced choices regarding how people in positions of dependency are to be treated. As such, care-giving, and the form it takes, is a central experience of being a human and one that is culturally mediated. Archaeology has tended to marginalise the study of care, and debates surrounding our ability to recognise it within the archaeological record have often remained implicit rather than a focus of discussion.

In order to address this, the 12 papers in this volume bring together archaeological, historical, and philosophical perspectives to examine the topic of care in past societies, and how we might recognise the provision of care in archaeological contexts. The topic of care is examined through three different strands: care throughout the life course, namely that provided to the youngest and oldest members of society; care-giving and attitudes towards impairment and disability; and the role of animals as both recipients of care and as tools for its provision.

Table of Contents

Preface – Charlotte Roberts
1. Introduction
William Southwell-Wright, Rebecca Gowland and Lindsay Powell
Section 1: Care and the Life Course
2. Childcare in the Past
Mary Lewis
3. The “Terrible Tyranny of the Majority”: Recognising Population Variability and Individual Agency in Past Infant Feeding Practices
Ellen Kendall
4.–Precious Things: Examining the Status and Care of Children in Late Medieval England Through the analysis of Cultural and Biological Markers
Heidi Dawson
5. “That Tattered Coat Upon a Stick the Ageing Body”: Evidence for Elder Marginalisation and Abuse in Roman Britain
Rebecca L. Gowland
Section 2: Care Impairment and Disability
6. The Palaeolithic Compassion Debate – Alternative Projections of Modern Day Disability into the Distant Past
Nick Thorpe
7. Setting the Scene for an Evolutionary Approach to Care in Prehistory: A Historical and Philosophical Journey
David Doat
8. “A Long Waiting for Death”: Dependency and the Care of the Disabled in a Nineteenth Century Asylum
Shawn Phillips
9 Prayers and Poultices: Medieval Health Care at the Isle of May, Scotland. C. AD 430-1580
Marlo Willows
Section 3: Animal and Plant Evidence for Care
10. Towards a Zooarchaeology of Animal ‘Care’
Richard Thomas
11. Rare Secrets of Physicke: Insect Medicaments in Historical Western Society
Gary King
12. Conclusion
Lindsay Powell, William Southwell-Wright, Rebecca Gowland

Reviews & Quotes

"I believe that Care in the Past will achieve its aim of becoming essential reading for both medical practitioners and medical historians. With the NHS still reeling from the revelations of the 2013 Francis Report, the Palaeolithic perspective brings both a comfort and a challenge. "
A.N. Williams
British Society for the History of Medicine (06/04/2017)

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