Not just middle-aged in the middle ages

From Nat Geog, via Cronaca, news that Philippe Aries was at least partly wrong:

Members of the London-based Society of Thames Mudlarks look very different today from the Victorian street children the group takes its name from. Where ragged waifs once searched for bits of bone and coal to sell, men in overalls, gloves, and rubber boots now comb the River Thames foreshore with metal detectors.


Dating from as early as the 13th century, items [found] include tiny cannons and guns, metal figurines, and miniaturized household objects such as stools, jugs, cauldrons, and even frying pans complete with little fish.


“In the 1960s French historian Philippe Aries claimed that there wasn’t really such a thing as childhood in the Middle Ages and that parents didn’t form emotional attachments with their offspring, regarding them as economic providers or producers for the household,” [said Hazel Forsyth, curator of post-medieval collections at the Museum of London.]


“His views had a lot of currency. And for very many years, people believed this,” Forsyth said, noting that it has only been recently, with discovery of ancient childhood items by contemporary treasure hunters, “that we’ve challenged this received wisdom.”

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