© 2020

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

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

About the editors

Rebecca Gowland is an Associate Professor in Human Bioarchaeology at the Department of Archaeology, Durham University. Her research focuses on the inter-relationship between the body and society in the past and she is particularly interested in the life course and age as an aspect of social identity. She has co-edited the Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains (2006, Oxbow) and Care in the Past: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (in press, Oxbow), and has co-authored Human Identity and Identification (2013, CUP). In addition, she has published widely in peer-reviewed journals on methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of skeletal remains. Rebecca teaches bioarchaeology, with a particular emphasis on palaeopathology, to undergraduate and postgraduate students

Siân Halcrow is an Associate Professor in Bioarchaeology at the University of Otago, with a research focus on infant and child stress and disease in the past and social aspects of childhood. She manages the skeletal analyses on several international archaeological projects in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, China and Chile. Dr Halcrow's research is funded through sources including the NZ Royal Society Marsden fund, University of Otago Research Grants, and Fulbright NZ. She is also a Partner Investigator on Australian Council Research Grants. She has published widely on infant and child bioarchaeology, and teaches undergraduate health science and biological anthropology courses, and a postgraduate bioarchaeological course.​

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Mother-Infant Nexus in Anthropology
  • Book Subtitle Small Beginnings, Significant Outcomes
  • Editors Rebecca Gowland
    Siân Halcrow
  • Series Title Bioarchaeology and Social Theory
  • Series Abbreviated Title Bioarch. Soc. Theo.
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-27392-7
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-27395-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-27393-4
  • Series ISSN 2567-6776
  • Series E-ISSN 2567-6814
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 284
  • Number of Illustrations 22 b/w illustrations, 8 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Archaeology
    Biological and Physical Anthropology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site