Opendata, web and dolomites


The value of mothers to society: responses to motherhood and child rearing practices in prehistoric Europe

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 VAMOS project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the VAMOS project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "VAMOS" about.

death    graves    roles    demographic    infant    contextualize    extends    refer    feeding    data    birth    innovative    bc    isotope    investigation    15    practices    infanticide    palaeo    pathological    care    latest    social    abuse    burials    mundane    double    iron    foundations    prehistory    natural    political    neolithic    archaeological    probability    explores    risks    significantly    motherhood    ancient    3000    neglect    naive    aid    individual    frequently    society    lifeways    interpretative    counter    woman    central    narratives    women    contingent    reproductive    cultural    first    exploring    pregnant    discourses    reproduction    childrearing    predict    status    entrenching    highlight    lives    pregnancy    systematically    science    gender    workforce    stratification    analysing    explore    mother    millennia    parts    mothers    density    children    markers    societies    dna    alternative    link    inevitable    insights    age    combined    pathology    significance    historically    population   

Project "VAMOS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: WIEN
postcode: 1010

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Austria [AT]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙499˙680 €
 EC max contribution 1˙499˙680 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-07-01   to  2021-06-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Analysing the link between reproduction and women’s social status, this project explores social responses to pregnancy, birth and childrearing from the late Neolithic to the late Iron Age (c.3000-15 BC) through case studies in central Europe. Motherhood and childrearing, often seen as natural, mundane and inevitable parts of women’s lives, are also cultural and historically contingent practices that build the foundations of societies. Exploring the value of mothers to society will aid in understanding important long-term developments such as social stratification, increasing population density and the entrenching of gender roles during the three millennia under investigation.

Bringing together the latest developments in archaeological science, including palaeo-pathology, ancient DNA and isotope analyses, with innovative interpretative approaches, this project will explore if all women were expected to become mothers, highlight alternative lifeways, evaluate risks and consequences of becoming a mother and analyse the social value of reproductive success.

It is the first study that aims to systematically predict the probability of whether or not a woman has given birth using palaeo-pathological markers combined with individual age information and population-specific demographic data. It will contextualize the findings with an in-depth status analysis of women’s graves. Graves of pregnant women, double burials of women and children as well as infant burials will provide further data. The study extends to childrearing (care, feeding, but also abuse, neglect and infanticide) and explores how children were treated after death for insights into their significance.

Current political discourses about mothers in society and workforce frequently refer to ‘natural’ and ‘ancient’ childrearing practices. This project will contribute significantly to our understanding of motherhood and counter naive narratives of childrearing in prehistory with science-based information.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2017 Rebay-Salisbury, K.
Breast is best – and are there alternatives? Feeding babies and young children in prehistoric Europe
published pages: 13-29, ISSN: 0373-5656, DOI:
Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft 147 2019-07-08
2017 Rebay-Salisbury, K.
Bodies, identities and social relations in Bronze and Iron Age Central Europe.Kumulative Habilitationsschrift zur Erlangung der Venia Docendi im Fach Urgeschichte und Historische Archäologie
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2017 Fritzl, M.
Die mehrfach belegten Gräber des Gräberfeldes von Inzersdorf ob der Traisen, NÖ. Eine Studie zu sozialen, religiösen und rituellen Implikationen von mehrfach belegten Gräbern der Urnenfelderkultur.Master Thesis, Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Universität Wien
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2018 Rebay-Salisbury, Katharina
Personal relationships between co-buried individuals in the central European Early Bronze Age
published pages: 35-48, ISSN: , DOI:
Across the Generations: The Old and the Young in Past Societies, Childhood in the Past Monograph Series 8 2019-04-10
2018 Katharina Rebay-Salisbury, Doris Pany-Kucera, Michaela Spannagl-Steiner, Fabian Kanz, Patrik Galeta, Maria Teschler-Nicola, Roderick B. Salisbury
Motherhood at Early Bronze Age Unterhautzenthal, Lower Austria
published pages: 71-134, ISSN: 0003-8008, DOI: 10.1553/archaeologia102s71
Archaeologia Austriaca 1 jo 2019-04-10

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