National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Jane Baxter

Affiliation: DePaul University

Jane Eva Baxter is Associate Professor in Anthropology at Depaul University, where she is a recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Award.  She holds her degrees from the University of Michigan (Ph.D.) and Boston University.  Her research interests include the archaeology of childhood in 19th century America, and she has directed a number of research projects with DePaul, currently serving as Co-Director of the Bahamas Study Abroad Program.


It is hard to imagine, given how ever-present children are in our modern world, that archaeologists did not begin to study children until about 25 years ago. What can the study of children and childhood offer to archaeology that the study of adults alone cannot? Where can we find traces of children in the archaeological record? How can an archaeology of children and childhood help us develop more human understandings of our shared past?  As an archaeologist whose work on children began in the 1990s, I will answer some of these questions using examples from the paleolithic to the present, and from around the globe. (If the group has special areas of interest I can incorporate those!) I will discuss topics like children in families, education, apprenticeship, and learning, children at work and play, and the death and commemoration of children. This presentation of children living very different lives than young people in our own society can help us question the assumptions we make about our own lives while gaining an appreciation for the lives of those who came before us.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

The Archaeological Study of Children- blog post on Allegra Labs, May 2015

The Archaeology of Childhood- Dirt 129. The Archaeology Podcast Network 2021.

support Us

The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.