Cecelia Chisdock

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Notre Dame, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10410

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Chisdock, Cecelia (Notre Dame, U. of) "The Impacts of Monastic Services on Juvenile Stress in the Byzantine Levant"

Juveniles are often considered an especially vulnerable subset of the population, but how this group is defined and cared for varies based on socio-cultural context. Juvenile care is a major determinant of lifetime health not often investigated in bioarchaeology, resulting in gaps in knowledge of past communities’ health and social conceptions of the life course. This research proposes a childcare model which expands on bioarchaeology of care and infant caregiving theories. I will apply this model to the Byzantine southern Levant (4th-7th c. CE), where social/health welfare services emerged in association with monasteries and played an unprecedented role in the care of juveniles, particularly as family structures and belief systems shifted. These services have been suggested by historians to be the predecessors of modern Western welfare institutions. I propose to investigate their impact within an expanded childcare model by comparing incidences of stress between three juvenile skeletal collections, two of which had access to monastic services in different socio-economic contexts and one which did not. Through this, I ask how these early institutional services acted as one determinant of juvenile health in a network of care and how this reflects social concepts of both juvenility and health more broadly.