University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa College of Languages, Linguistics & Literature Classics Instructor Chelsea Gardner, along with co-author Katie Fine of Florida State University, was honored with the Best Pre-PhD Paper award from the Women’s Classical Caucus at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA)/Society for Classical Studies (SCS).
Gardner, a classical archaeologist who specializes in remote landscapes in southern Greece, received the award for her talk titled “Mycenaean Kourotrophoi Figurines and Lateralization Bias: How Recent Neurological Research Explains the Left-Cradling Phenomenon.” She presented at the January 2018 AIA/SCS meeting in Boston.
Gardner and Fine’s paper argued that the depiction of women holding infants in ancient Mycenaean kourotrophoi figurines intentionally reflects the neurobiological left-cradling bias (the result of right-hemispherical emotional motivation and an evolutionary adaptation for successful infant nurturing). A kourotrophos in Ancient Greek art is a portrayal of a figure holding a baby.
Additionally, they argued that, in the context of ancient representations of kourotrophoi, such depictions were reflections of lived experiences between female nurturers and infants, and may have had further implications for production and craftsmanship in the Aegean Bronze Age.