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Defining infancy and childhood

The English word infancy is derived from the Latin infantia, meaning inability to talk

Modern English Health Authorities emphasise the developmental milestones of movement, handling objects, hearing and talking, and seeing

Scott 1999: 4 proposes these definitions:

Scott 1999: 2 ‘We can only ever have a social understanding of biology’, and pp.10-11 ‘the obvious fact of biological difference between infants and older humans are really socially significant differences, and although human societies throughout the world recognise biological differences between infants and adults and between infants and children, how they “record” these differences materially (and therefore archaeologically) is variable and extremely difficult to detect’

She notes further that our treatment of such variability depends on our own ideas concerning social versus biological aspects of infancy.

In Egyptian formal art children appear as miniature adults with an attribute of childhood (nakedness, a single sidelock)

In the Egyptian language, note the following words:

inp “(kingly) child”

Xrd “child” (common word for child, sometimes also used to refer to servants)

Sr (feminine Srt) “child” (literally ‘little one’)



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