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  Subjects -> ARCHAEOLOGY (Total: 300 journals)
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Journal of Archaeological Research
Journal Prestige (SJR): 2.159
Citation Impact (citeScore): 4
Number of Followers: 53  
 
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1573-7756 - ISSN (Online) 1059-0161
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2467 journals]
  • Social Complexity and the Middle Preclassic Lowland Maya

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      Abstract: Abstract Intensified social complexity emerged in some parts of the lowland Maya region during the Middle Preclassic period (800–300 BC). Though data for Middle Preclassic complexity remain very thin, states may have formed in the Mirador Basin and other areas that exhibit settlement hierarchy, evidence of centralized administration, and specialization. However, these developments have been obscured by a shift from a more cooperative to a more competitive system during the Late Preclassic period (300 BC–AD 200). Unilinear thought has confused this change in organization with a shift toward greater complexity. Such positions incorrectly assume that divine kingship and its accouterments are a baseline for complexity. Judging Middle Preclassic period complexity according to Classic period developments is dubious given the cooperative–competitive oscillations; the tendency in the Maya area for states to have been secondary with longstanding interactions among Chiapas, Pacific Coast, Isthmian, and the Gulf Coast areas; and internal innovations. New data are needed to characterize early complexity in the Maya lowlands on its own terms.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • The Etruscans: Setting New Agendas

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      Abstract: Abstract The Etruscans, who dominated central Italy for much of the first half of the first millennium BC, are ripe for new analysis: the quantity of data for their culture is now substantial, wide ranging, and qualifies for large-scale comparison. In this paper, we survey how research in the last decade has affected our understanding of settlements, of changing models of the transfer of ideas, and of Etruscan religious behavior, among other topics. We place them into complex spatial, architectural, and economic narratives to show that the interplay between microhistorical case studies and macrohistorical trends has now achieved what ought to be a paradigmatic status. Despite the continuous flow of specialist publications and an industry of exhibitions, however, the Etruscans have not broken through into mainstream archaeological awareness. We argue that this could be achieved if future research becomes more thematic and agenda driven and embraces comparative study.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Aşıklı Höyük: The Generative Evolution of a Central Anatolian PPN
           Settlement in Regional Context

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      Abstract: Abstract The first Neolithic settlements in Southwest Asia began with a dual commitment to plant cultivation and a sedentary lifestyle. The benefits that foragers-turned-farmers gained from this commitment came with some inescapable constraints, setting new evolutionary pathways for human social and economic activities. We explore the developmental process at the early Pre-Pottery Neolithic site of Aşıklı Höyük in central Anatolia (Turkey), specifically the relationship between internal dynamics and external influences in early village formation. Feedback mechanisms inherent to the community were responsible for many of the unique developments there, including domestication of a variant of free-threshing wheat and the early evolution of caprine management, which gave rise to domesticated stock. Gradual change was the rule at Aşıklı, yet the cumulative transformations in architecture, settlement layout, and caprine management were great. The many strands of evidence reveal a largely local (endemic) evolution of an early Pre-Pottery Neolithic community. However, burgeoning inequalities stemming from production surplus such as livestock likely stimulated greater regional interaction toward the end of the sequence.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • An Archaeological Contribution to the Kalahari Debate from the Middle
           Limpopo Valley, Southern Africa

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      Abstract: Abstract The Kalahari debate deals primarily with the influence that contact with incoming groups had on San communities in southern Africa. Two schools of thought emerged and engaged in heavy debate. The traditionalists, most of whom collected primary ethnographic data in the Kalahari Desert, argued that the San were relatively isolated and affected minimally by contact with outsiders. Arguing against this were various revisionists who contended that “San” identity arose due to a long period of social and cultural interactions with farmer communities. This conflict—broadly isolationism versus historical production—has overarching implications for the use of ethnography to understand precolonial forager groups. In this contribution, the debate’s salient points are revisited and contrasted with the archaeology of the middle Limpopo Valley, where forager communities participated in the rise of a state-level kingdom within farmer society. Interactions in the valley led to a range of forager responses including craft development, hunting intensification, and trade relations, but also social and cultural continuity. These reactions and their feedbacks offer different perspectives to those provided by the two schools of thought in the Kalahari debate and reinforce their antithetical perspectives. Here it is argued that a binary approach is incapable of capturing transformations that took place in the middle Limpopo Valley, and that a focus on historicism and social systems associated with cultural sequences leads to greater insights.
      PubDate: 2022-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09166-0
       
  • Denisovans, Neanderthals, and Early Modern Humans: A Review of the
           Pleistocene Hominin Fossils from the Altai Mountains (Southern Siberia)

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      Abstract: Abstract This paper reviews significant issues related to the fossil hominins from the Altai Mountains of Siberia (Russia), namely Denisovans, Neanderthals, and early modern humans. Uncritical acceptance of the recovered information by some authors has resulted in unreliable chronologies of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic artifact assemblages and the animal and hominin fossils. We examine the chronostratigraphic contexts and archaeological associations of hominin and animal fossils and the lithics discovered at the Denisova, Okladnikov, Strashnaya, and Chagyrskaya cave sites. Taphonomic, site formation, and geomorphological studies show evidence of disturbance and redeposition caused by carnivore activity and sediment subsidence at these sites, which complicates the dating of the human remains. Our analysis indicates that the Middle Paleolithic is dated to ca. 50,000–130,000 years ago, and the Upper Paleolithic to ca. 12,000–48,000 years ago. The best age estimate for Denisovans is ca. 73,000–130,000 years ago. The ages of Neanderthals can be determined as more than 50,000–59,000 years ago, and of modern humans at roughly 12,000–48,000 years ago. Denisovan and Neanderthal fossils are associated with Middle Paleolithic complexes only.
      PubDate: 2022-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09164-2
       
  • Establishing the Middle Sea: The Late Bronze Age of Mediterranean Europe
           (1700–900 BC)

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      Abstract: Abstract The Late Bronze Age (1700–900 BC) represents an extremely dynamic period for Mediterranean Europe. Here, we provide a comparative survey of the archaeological record of over half a millennium within the entire northern littoral of the Mediterranean, from Greece to Iberia, incorporating archaeological, archaeometric, and bioarchaeological evidence. The picture that emerges, while certainly fragmented and not displaying a unique trajectory, reveals a number of broad trends in aspects as different as social organization, trade, transcultural phenomena, and human mobility. The contribution of such trends to the processes that caused the end of the Bronze Age is also examined. Taken together, they illustrate how networks of interaction, ranging from the short to the long range, became a defining aspect of the “Middle Sea” during this time, influencing the lives of the communities that inhabited its northern shore. They also highlight the importance of research that crosses modern boundaries for gaining a better understanding of broad comparable dynamics.
      PubDate: 2022-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09165-1
       
  • Distributed Urban Networks in the Gulf Lowlands of Veracruz

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      Abstract: Abstract The concept of low-density urbanism has developed in archaeology over the past 20 years to characterize settlements that display the same types of features as nucleated cities (monumental architecture, services provided for a hinterland, division of labor, class differences) but lack dense populations. Ancient cities that emerged in tropical regions typically resemble a distributed urban network (Scarborough and Isendahl 2020) with interconnected and regularly spaced monumental nodes scattered among dispersed residences and agricultural land. The monumental nodes in the region did not permanently house dense populations but drew the countryside into a habitual pattern of centripetal movement to frequent religious, economic, and administrative services provided there. We demonstrate that the Gulf lowlands of Mexico exemplify this type of urbanism, and we highlight its features related to land use, governance, and longevity. Given the formidable challenges of understanding a distributed urban network, we advocate approaches that do not impose hierarchical interpretations or discrete territories but, rather, explore them as a network of places.
      PubDate: 2022-08-30
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-022-09178-4
       
  • Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age Trade in Archaeological Perspective: A
           Review of Interpretative and Empirical Developments

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      Abstract: Abstract In the Bronze Age Mediterranean, trade was a key mechanism that defined the era’s political, social, and economic dynamism. This paper reviews recent methodological and empirical developments in the study of trade in the Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean, with a focus on the Late Bronze Age. The complexity of the relevant evidence presents nontrivial interpretative challenges, and a variety of schools of thought concerning the methods and approaches best suited for enlightening economic exchange through the study of archaeological remains co-exist. New insights based on empirical study of archaeological evidence have primarily coalesced around topics that have long been central to the study of trade, especially the sources and destinations of metal resources and the distribution of ceramic containers and their contents. Developing areas of emphasis, such as the roles of merchants and traders, have simultaneously emerged. Both novel methods and recent empirical insights highlight the difficulty inherent in attempts to relate artifacts to commercial exchange due to the variety of human and material mobilities apparent in the archaeological record. The path forward for understanding Bronze Age trade economies will require carefully tailoring research questions that may be answered in concrete ways with the evidence available and developing interpretative frameworks that can accommodate both bottom-up views emphasizing individual agency and generalizing models that facilitate comparison through space and time.
      PubDate: 2022-08-03
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-022-09177-5
       
  • Was There a 3.2 ka Crisis in Europe' A Critical Comparison of
           Climatic, Environmental, and Archaeological Evidence for Radical Change
           during the Bronze Age–Iron Age Transition

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      Abstract: Abstract The globalizing connections that defined the European Bronze Age in the second millennium BC either ended or abruptly changed in the decades around 1200 BC. The impact of climate change at 3.2 ka on such social changes has been debated for the eastern Mediterranean. This paper extends this enquiry of shifting human–climate relationships during the later Bronze Age into Europe for the first time. There, climate data indicate that significant shifts occurred in hydroclimate and temperatures in various parts of Europe ca. 3.2 ka. To test potential societal impacts, I review and evaluate archaeological data from Ireland and Britain, the Nordic area, the Carpathian Basin, the Po Valley, and the Aegean region in parallel with paleoclimate data. I argue that 1200 BC was a turning point for many societies in Europe and that climate played an important role in shaping this. Although long-term trajectories of sociopolitical systems were paramount in defining how and when specific societies changed, climate change acted as a force multiplier that undermined societal resilience in the wake of initial social disjunctures. In this way, it shaped, often detrimentally, the reconfiguration of societies. By impacting more directly on social venues of political recovery, realignment, and reorganization, climate forces accentuate societal crises and, in some areas, sustained them to the point of sociopolitical collapse.
      PubDate: 2022-08-02
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-022-09176-6
       
  • Erlitou: The Making of a Secondary State and a New Sociopolitical Order in
           Early Bronze Age China

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      Abstract: Abstract This article builds on recent archaeological theorizing about early complex societies to analyze the political anthropology of Neolithic and Bronze Age China in a culture-specific trajectory over the longue durée. Synthesizing the latest archaeological discoveries, I show that a series of successive declines, beginning around 2000 BC, took place throughout lowland China. This put an end to the lowland states of the Longshan period (2400–1900 BC) and provided the context for the constitution of the Erlitou secondary state (1900–1500 BC). Following the shift in “archaic states” studies from identifying “what” to investigating “how,” I focus on the strategies, institutions, and relations that undergirded and sustained the Erlitou secondary state. I explore how heterogeneous lowland populations were reorganized after collapse, how a new collective identity was created through ritual and religious performance at the household level at Erlitou, and how Erlitou’s ideologies, political system, and economic network were shaped by the upland polities and societies. Through a series of innovative practices, the Erlitou secondary state did not replicate the preceding Longshan states but instead pioneered a sociopolitical order that was repeatedly reenacted and referred to as a source of legitimacy in successive Bronze Age Central Plains polities.
      PubDate: 2022-06-09
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-022-09173-9
       
  • Survey Archaeology in the Mediterranean World: Regional Traditions and
           Contributions to Long-Term History

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      Abstract: Abstract In this paper, we describe the development and state of archaeological surface survey in the Mediterranean. We focus especially on surface survey as a means of documenting long-term settlement patterns at various scales, as an approach to the archaeology of regions, and as a pathway to the interpretation of past landscapes. Over the last decades, the literature on Mediterranean survey has increasingly emphasized a distinct set of practices, viewed both favorably and critically by regional archaeologists in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. We show that Mediterranean survey in fact comprises several discrete regional traditions. In general, these traditions have much to offer to wider dialogs in world archaeology, particularly concerning sampling and research design, the interpretation of surface assemblages, and the integration of complex, multidisciplinary datasets. More specifically, survey investigations of Mediterranean landscapes provide comparative data and potential research strategies of relevance to many issues of global significance, including human ecology, demography, urban–rural dynamics, and various types of polity formation, colonialism, and imperialism.
      PubDate: 2022-06-08
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-022-09175-7
       
  • The Later Phases of Southern Mesopotamian Urbanism: Babylonia in the
           Second and First Millennia BC

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      Abstract: Abstract Although considerable attention has been devoted to early urbanism in southern Mesopotamia, the later development of cities in the region has been neglected. By studying the Babylonian cities of the second and first millennia BC, it is possible to trace continuity and change in urbanism over some 3000 years of recorded history, from city-state to empire. The ideal of the southern Mesopotamian city comprised a standardized inventory of architectural elements that was remarkably persistent but also flexible, since it did not dictate the details of their plan or construction, nor their spatial relationship with one another. The salient characteristic of the city was its role as religious center: each city’s identity was bound up with its main temple, which housed its patron deity and dominated the social and economic life of the city and its hinterland.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-022-09174-8
       
  • Crossing the Maelstrom: New Departures in Viking Archaeology

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      Abstract: Abstract This paper reviews the achievements and challenges of archaeological research on Viking Age northern Europe and explores potential avenues for future research. We identify the reemergence of comparative and cross-cultural perspectives along with a turn toward studying mobility and maritime expansion, fueled by the introduction of biomolecular and isotopic data. The study of identity has seen a shift from a focus on collective beliefs and ritual to issues of personal identity and presentation, with a corresponding shift in attention to individual burials and the “animated objects.” Network ontologies have brought new perspectives on the emergence of sea trade and urban nodes and to the significance of outfield production and resources. Field archaeology has seen an emphasis on elite manors, feasting halls, and monuments, as well as military sites and thing assembly places, using new data from remote sensing, geophysical surveys, geoarchaeology, and metal detectors. Concerns over current climate change have placed the study of environment as a key priority, in particular in the ecologically vulnerable North Atlantic settlements. Discussing future directions, we call for alignment between societal/economic and individual/cultural perspectives, and for more ethically grounded research. We point to diaspora theory and intersectionality as frameworks with the potential to integrate genomics, identity, and society, and to ecology as a framework for integrating landscape, mobility, and political power.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09163-3
       
  • Process and Dynamics of Mediterranean Neolithization (7000–5500 bc)

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      Abstract: Abstract Why did the farming lifestyle appear and proliferate so rapidly through the Mediterranean basin between 7000 and 5500 bc' In this paper, I review the archaeological and bioarchaeological data pertinent to Mediterranean Neolithization, suggesting that a preponderance of evidence indicates that this process involved migration—long-distance, targeted colonization along the north Mediterranean littoral. I argue that this process was driven by rapid fissioning within early farming communities, fissioning in turn caused by competing centrifugal and centripetal economic forces within small-scale egalitarian groups.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09161-5
       
  • Archaeology and Epigraphy in the Digital Era

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      Abstract: Abstract Archaeologists and epigraphers have long worked in concert across methodological and theoretical differences to study past writing. Ongoing integration of digital technologies into both fields is extending this collaboration’s scope by facilitating rapid information exchange, integration of multiple datasets in digital formats, and accumulation and analysis of large datasets. Recent research by the Maya Hieroglyphic Database Project, for example, has deployed social network analysis to correlate ritual practice, discourse, and material culture with political interactions. Similarly, epigraphers and archaeologists of pre-Angkorian and Angkorian Southeast Asia have conducted spatial analysis to illuminate the relationship between economy, human mobility, and land use. Collectively, these examples illustrate how scholars are already using digital technologies for research at larger scales and with more diverse datasets than was previously possible. Moreover, they point to further directions for articulating text, material, and context in future studies of the human past.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09162-4
       
  • The Iconography of Connectivity Between the Hohokam World and Its Southern
           Neighbors

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      Abstract: Abstract Archaeologists have long compared the Hohokam world of the North American Southwest to contemporary traditions in Mesoamerica and West Mexico. A degree of cultural connectivity between the Southwest and Mesoamerica is evident in similarities in public architecture, ceramic technology and design, ritual paraphernalia, and subsistence, among other qualities. Researchers commonly frame this connectivity in economic or cultural evolutionary terms that position Hohokam communities as somehow descendant from or dependent on more complexly and hierarchically organized societies far to the south. In this paper, I examine this connectivity through the lens of iconography to show that shared religious themes and archetypes were strands within the nexus. I focus on three iconographic subjects in Hohokam media—serpents, flowers, and “pipettes”—each of which materializes seemingly Mesoamerican religious concepts. From a careful consideration of the inception and breadth of each, I argue that Hohokam artisans began to portray these subjects in concert with a religious revitalization movement that drew a degree of inspiration from the south. However, while the iconography may have been new to Hohokam media, the religious themes were not. I show that the iconography references Archaic religious archetypes and cosmological principles that probably accompanied the spread of agriculture millennia before the formation of the Hohokam world. Rather than representing a new religion, I suggest Hohokam artisans materialized these long-established and unquestioned principles in novel iconographic ways as a means of naturalizing and ordaining the rapid social change that accompanied the religious revitalization movement.
      PubDate: 2022-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09159-z
       
  • Re-approaching Celts: Origins, Society, and Social Change

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      Abstract: Abstract This work re-approaches the origins of “the Celts” by detailing the character of their society and the nature of social change in Europe across 700–300 BC. A new approach integrates regional burial archaeology with contemporary classical texts to further refine our social understanding of the European Iron Age. Those known to us as “Celts” were matrifocal Early Iron Age groups in central Gaul who engaged in social traditions out of the central European salt trade and became heavily involved in Mediterranean politics. The paper focuses on evidence from the Hallstatt–La Tène transition to solve a 150-year-old problem: how the Early Iron Age “Celts” became the early La Tène “Galatai,” who engaged in the Celtic migrations and the sacking of Rome at 387 BC.
      PubDate: 2022-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09157-1
       
  • Chinese Bronze Age Political Economies: A Complex Polity Provisioning
           Approach

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      Abstract: Abstract In this article we argue that several of the dominant narratives concerning the political economy of the Chinese Bronze Age are in need of major revision, including its chronological divisions and assumptions of unilineal development. Instead, we argue that for many parts of China, the Bronze Age should begin in the third millennium BC and that there was significant political economic heterogeneity both within and between regions. Focusing on the issues of centralization and commercialization, we argue that, in spite of the tendency in the Chinese archaeological literature to equate complexity with centralization and hierarchy and to posit top-down redistributive economic models, there is little evidence of such institutions. To the contrary, our survey of nearly 2000 years of development turns up significant investment in public goods, especially before the Anyang period, as well as ample evidence of horizontal exchange and increasing commercialization.
      PubDate: 2022-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09158-0
       
  • Caribbean Deep-Time Culinary Worlds Revealed by Ancient Food Starches:
           Beyond the Dominant Narratives

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      Abstract: Abstract Analysis of starch grains recovered from ancient human dental calculus provides unique insights into the spectrum of starchy plants that were available and consumed at different spatiotemporal scales. Applying this methodological approach to a dataset of dental calculus samples from 60 individuals from different Caribbean islands, we unfold new perspectives on the culinary practices from precolonial to colonial times in this region. Our phytocultural interpretations from the studied scenarios contrast with dominant historical and archaeological narratives of the Caribbean regarding the emergence and evolution of manioc-reliant plant food systems. Instead, our analysis strongly suggests that a diversity of plant-based culinary practices was in operation throughout the islands, and over time, the switching dietary role of maize and other important economic plants such as wild marunguey, manioc, bean, and sweet potato (among others) was the trademark of ancient Caribbean culinary scapes.
      PubDate: 2022-01-31
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09171-3
       
  • Aksumite Settlement Patterns: Site Size Hierarchies and Spatial Clustering

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      Abstract: Abstract Settlement pattern analysis offers a range of insights about social, economic, and political relationships of Aksumite civilization. Two common approaches involve analyzing site size distributions and the spatial distribution of sites to evaluate possible clustering. We review the history of archaeological survey and settlement pattern analyses for Pre-Aksumite, Aksumite, and Post-Aksumite periods. We focus on data from two areas of northern Ethiopia collected by the Eastern Tigray Archaeological Project and the Southern Red Sea Archaeological Histories Project. We conduct Ripley’s-K multi-distance spatial cluster analysis to evaluate spatial clustering/dispersion, and Gaussian mixture model/Bayesian information criterion analysis to evaluate possible site size hierarchies. Results show similar patterns in the two areas, including site clustering predominantly during the Pre-Aksumite period, an increase in the number of sites and decrease in average site size from the Pre-Aksumite to Aksumite periods, and no definitive evidence that site size hierarchies are an indicator of political changes over time. Overall, results indicate locally aggregated political organization during the Pre-Aksumite period, locally decentralized organization, infilling, and population growth during the Aksumite period, and a subsequent decline in population and political centralization during the Post-Aksumite period.
      PubDate: 2022-01-31
      DOI: 10.1007/s10814-021-09172-2
       
 
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