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date: 18 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The relatively high proportion of children in early Greek communities has important implications for understanding material culture. This essay considers the importance of children as learners and participants in cultural reproduction through the evidence of ritual material. Anthropological models and ethnographic parallels are used to articulate criteria and possible models for learning environments, with a focus on the eighth and seventh centuries BCE as a period of significant change. Evidence from three different material categories reveal possible products of young rising craftsmen and worshippers: a special class of miniature pottery made for use in the Artemis sanctuary at Eretria, miniature vessels placed in child graves in Athens, and bronze votive figurines at Olympia. Approaching children not just as passive recipients of culture but also as agents and partners in the creation of new social and political structures can more fully elucidate social change in early Greece.

Keywords: Material culture, anthropological model, ethnography, children’s agency, child graves, sanctuary, ritual material, Eretria, Athens, Olympia

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