A 10,000 year old Baby Carrier

Young parents – especially mothers, have always had to find ways to carry around their babies safely whilst still being able to get on with their daily activities.

Today there is a wide range of baby carriers/slings but evidence of what was used in the past , especially in pre-historic times, is difficult to establish because materials rot away.

At an excavation at the Arma Veirana site in Liguria, Italy, a team from Arizona State University and the University of Colorado Denver, believe they have found what was used 10,000 years ago as a baby carrier.

Team of researchers including Claudine Gravel-Miguel from Arizona State University, Jamie Hodgkins from the University of Colorado Denver work at the excavation of Arma Veirana. Image credit:

Researchers used innovative analytical methods to extract hard-to-obtain information about perforated shell beads found at the burial site of the oldest documented burial of a female infant in Europe, a 40- to 50-days-old baby, named by the researchers as Neve.

More than 70 small, pierced shell beads and four big, pierced shell pendants, were most likely sewn into a piece of leather, wrapped around the baby for her burial. Most of the beads bear heavy signs of use that could not have been produced during Neve’s short life, demonstrating they were handed down to her as heirlooms.

It is further thought that the leather cloth, adorned as it was with the beads, was a baby carrier.

Click on this link to access the paper in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory: The Ornaments of the Arma Veirana Early Mesolithic Infant Burial

a mother carrying her baby
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