The Mother-Infant Nexus in Anthropology

Small Beginnings, Significant Outcomes

  • Rebecca Gowland
  • Siân Halcrow

Part of the Bioarchaeology and Social Theory book series (BST)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Infant and Maternal Health in Bioarchaeology

  3. Nourishment and the Nexus

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 83-83
    2. Ellen J. Kendall, Andrew Millard, Julia Beaumont, Rebecca Gowland, Marise Gorton, Andrew Gledhill
      Pages 103-123
    3. Aunchalee Palmquist
      Pages 125-142
  4. Social and Cognitive Interactions in Early Life

  5. Rupturing the Nexus: Infant Loss in the Archaeological Record

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 279-284

About this book


Over the past 20 years there has been increased research traction in the anthropology of childhood. However, infancy, the pregnant body and motherhood continue to be marginalised. This book will focus on the mother-infant relationship and the variable constructions of this dyad across cultures, including conceptualisations of the pregnant body, the beginnings of life, and implications for health. 

This is particularly topical because there is a burgeoning awareness within anthropology regarding the centrality of mother-infant interactions for understanding the evolution of our species, infant and maternal health and care strategies, epigenetic change, and biological and social development. 

This book will bring together cultural and biological anthropologists and archaeologists to examine the infant-maternal interface in past societies. It will showcase innovative theoretical and methodological approaches towards understanding societal constructions of foetal, infant and maternal bodies. It will emphasise their interconnectivity and will explore the broader significance of the mother/infant nexus for overall population well-being. 


developmental origins of health and disease origins of early life adversity maternal-infant health relationships in archaeological contexts immunological & social approaches to infant feeding stress responses in infants

Editors and affiliations

  • Rebecca Gowland
    • 1
  • Siân Halcrow
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  2. 2.Department of AnatomyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

Bibliographic information