Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationWashington State U.
Grant numberGr. 9770
Approve DateOctober 25, 2018
Project TitleFournier, Nichole A., Washington State U., Pullman, WA - To aid research on 'Childhood in Times of Change: A Diet and Life History Reconstruction from San Francisco Bay,' supervised by Dr. Shannon Tushingham
NICOLE A. FOURNIER, then a graduate student at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, was awarded a grant in October 2018 to aid research on ‘Childhood in Times of Change: A Diet and Life History Reconstruction from San Francisco Bay,’ supervised by Dr. Shannon Tushingham. This study took an interdisciplinary approach to studying childhood during significant environmental and social changes in the past, specifically how diet, health, and life history patterns of San Francisco Bay Area children were impacted by the Medieval Climatic Anomaly (MCA) and socioeconomic changes (e.g. transition to terrestrial economy, sedentism, increased social inequality) that began during the Middle Period and intensified during the Late Period. By reconstructing the diet and health profiles of 45 juveniles from five prehistoric Bay Area sites (CA-SCL-134, CA-SCL-215, CA-ALA-329, CA-SCL-623, and CA-SCL-870), individual diets were studied, as well as patterns observed in life history milestones relating to diet (e.g. weaning age and age at which children begin independent foraging) within the sample. Results suggest that the aforementioned changes could have influenced weaning behavior, based on a decrease in the mean age of the start of weaning during the Late Period. However, independent foraging appears to be a typical part of childhood and not simply a consequence of stress. This study contributes to the important anthropological discussion of the facultative nature of childhood and life history.