Growing up in the Ice Age

Growing Up in the Ice Age represents both the first book-length work on the lives of children throughout the Plio-Pleistocene, and a superlative example of how the study of children can be fully integrated into more traditional areas of Palaeolithic research. After making a strong case for why we should study children in the Palaeolithic and refuting persistent claims of the perceived invisibility of children in early prehistory, Nowell leads the reader through a careful and critical weaving of evidence from multiple fields (archaeology, palaeoanthropology, primatology, psychology, ethnography) in her reconstruction of Palaeolithic childhood, a reconstruction both scholarly and full of compassion for these Palaeolithic โ€˜little onesโ€™. The breadth of evidence consulted allows her to eschew the traditional focus on burial data โ€“ and the deaths of Palaeolithic children โ€“ to consider the lives of Palaeolithic children and their wider roles within their families and communities. Moving beyond typical monolithic presentations of childhood in early prehistory, Nowellโ€™s thoughtful study emphasises the different experience(s) of children of different ages, sexes, and hominin species. Most strikingly, her analysis of the role of children within wider society presents a compelling case for Palaeolithic children as the drivers of hominin cultural and biological evolution. This is a must-read for those interested in childhood in the past, and for those seeking a rare humanistic volume on human evolution and Palaeolithic archaeology.

Growing up in the Ice Age, April Nowell Oxbow Books, ยฃ38 ISBN 978-1789252941.
Review by Jennifer C French.