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Ageing and the Body in Archaeology
journal contributionposted on 2018-04-30, 15:48 authored by Jo Appleby
The old are rarely the focus of research in archaeology. Older skeletonized bodies are hard to give a chronological age, and this seems to justify the lack of research focus. In this paper I argue that the old are not naturally invisible to archaeologists, but have been made so by a focus on chronology at the expense of the bodily and by our ambivalence towards the ageing process. I suggest that, rather than applying numbers to skeletons, we should focus our research on understanding the ageing of the body itself in archaeological contexts, and the relationships between processes of continuity and processes of decline. This is achieved through analysis of four aspects of embodied ageing: changes in appearance; in bodily function; in age-related disease; and in skill. The ageing body is not invisible: it is present, variable and a rich resource for future archaeological analyses.
This article was largely written whilst on a period of academic study leave granted by the University of Leicester.
CitationCambridge Archaeological Journal, 2018, 28 (1), pp. 145-163 (19)
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of Archaeology and Ancient History/Core Staff
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)