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Infant and child burials rites in Roman Britain: a study from East Yorkshire

Millett, M.; Gowland, Rebecca

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Authors

M. Millett



Abstract

The discovery of infant burials on excavated domestic sites in Roman Britain is fairly common but in the past these burials have often been dismissed as a product of unceremonious disposal. There is a growing literature which considers the phenomenon, but it has been dominated by debates around the suggestion that these burials provide evidence for infanticide, with a focus on the osteological evidence for and against this hypothesis. There has been less systematic consideration of the archaeological context of such burials. In this paper we examine the excavated evidence of two large groups of such burials from sites in East Yorkshire which demonstrate that the burial of neonatal infants followed a careful age-specific funerary rite. We suggest that this conclusion further undermines the widespread assumption that infants were disposed of without ceremony and as a result of infanticide.

Citation

Millett, M., & Gowland, R. (2015). Infant and child burials rites in Roman Britain: a study from East Yorkshire. Britannia: A Journal of Romano-British and Kindred Studies, 46, 171-189. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0068113x15000100

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Apr 1, 2015
Publication Date Nov 1, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 22, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 16, 2016
Journal Britannia
Print ISSN 0068-113X
Electronic ISSN 1753-5352
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Pages 171-189
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/s0068113x15000100

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