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Theme list | Session organizers index | Accepted sessions list |

T05. Comparative Archaeologies in the Globalized World
Kunihiko Wakabayashi
In the globalizing world, archaeological activities and their results should be comparable beyond the borders of various nationalities, continental traditions, or regional ethnicities. Attempts have been made to make sense of regional differences in methodology, theory-building and archaeological narrative production through inter-regional comparison. But for such comparable discussions to exist, it is essential that archaeological studies of each region be showed as some kind of meaningful sequences or explainable processes. We set this theme to give a stage for presentations and discussions based on both regional studies and comparable interregional perspectives. Topics included in this theme may include the distributional process of Homo sapiens, the cultural transitions associated global climate change, the beginning of agricultural societies, the rise of states and complex societies, or the archeological reconstruction of settlements and cities in the historic era. We invite individuals to volunteer exciting sessions that give us a new agenda for regional and comparable archaeologies.


Craft Production in State Economies

Organiser(s): Lisa Kealhofer (Santa Clara University / USA), Peter Grave (University of New England / Australia) and Miriam Stark (University of Hawaii / USA)
Type: Symposium
Despite an extensive literature on the archaeology of craft specialization, few studies examine what roles the state might play in the development of novel divisions of labor for the production of more widely-used crafts, like metal goods, ceramics, textiles, and stone tools, or  “commoner crafts” (Schortman and Urban 2004). The technological styles of these crafts often signal affiliation with particular polities; archaeologically, state extent is typically identified with the geographic footprint of such items.
In this session participants will explore the political economy (economic spheres that directly underpin the state) of craft production in ancient states. We focus here on materials including – but are not limited to – metal, ceramics, textiles, and stone tools. What is the interplay between craft production and state control, at what scale and in what contexts? How does craft production articulate with state management? This hybrid session will combine formal presentations with discussion.
Keywords: Pre Modern State, political economy, craft production


Archaeologies of Childhood I: Learning and skills

Organiser(s): Robin Derricourt (University of New South Wales / Australia) and Jody Joy (University of Cambridge / UK)
Type: Symposium
Contact:  r.derricourt(at)unsw.edu.au
In most of the past, children represented almost half of the human population, yet despite periodic symposia and case studies, children are still under-represented in archaeological work. Two linked sessions on Archaeologies of Childhood will consider interpretations, methodology and theoretical approaches in our current archaeological understanding of childhood, and children’s position in society. What new questions can be asked of existing data, in both prehistoric and historical societies? Session 1 will discuss the evidence archaeology can uncover for experimental learning and apprenticeship in skills. It also considers how much can we draw on studies and analogies from historic, ethnographic and primate biological studies to help in understanding childhood and the acquisition of skills in an archaeological context?
Keywords: Children, childhood, learning, skills


The Impact of Human (Homo sapiens) on Prehistoric Island Environments: Global Perspectives

Organiser(s): Hiroto Takamiya (Kagoshima University / Japan) and Scott Fitzpatrick (University of Oregon / USA)
Type: Symposium
Contact:  takamiya(at)cpi.kagoshima-u.ac.jp
Island environments are ecologically fragile and highly susceptible to human impacts after colonization and long-term settlement. Research on a global scale clearly demonstrates the deleterious effects that humans had on island environments, which led to animal extirpations and extinctions, resource depression, landscape alteration, and many other impacts. While many plant and animal species were highly susceptible to the arrival of humans and other non-native taxa, some were more resilient. In other instances, resource acquisition, even when intensified over time, seems to have been sustainable, suggesting that human groups were practicing some form of conservation. This session focuses on examining human-island ecodynamics from a global perspective using case studies from various island regions. The goal is to explore how the interplay between Homo sapiens and island environments manifested itself through time and whether they can serve as case studies for future research.
I have just organized this session, and will try to find out appropriate scholars to give presentations in this session. Thank you.
Keywords: slands, Homo sapiens impact, global perspectives


The Comparative Urban Archaeology: Kyoto and Global Comparison of Cities

Organiser(s): Kunihiko Wakabayashi (Doshisha University / Japan) and Kunikazu Yamada (Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts / Japan)
Type: Symposium
Contact:  kwakabay(at)mail.doshisha.ac.jp
The purpose of the session is a global comparison of the sites of the cities and prehistoric urbanized settlements in Japan and around the world. Kyoto hosting the WAC-8 was the capital of Japan over 1200 years since it was called Heian-kyo in later 8th century AD. There is an accumulation of archaeological studies on Kyoto as well as other cities. In the session we will discuss the definition of the city and what was the social background of the establishment and the abandonment of the city, while looking into the case studies on excavated sites. We will call for papers on various sites around the world including the cities as well as large pre-historic settlements that played a central role in the area. Archaeological site of city or urbanized settlement provide information on how the nation has been formed and developed into complex society. And it should be discussed not only in the social context of political or economic centripetal force but also in religious and ideological context. The session will provide various viewpoints on urban  “archaeology”.
Keywords: Kyoto, Urban Archaeology, Large pre-historic settlements


Enclosures – Dividing and connecting people

Organiser(s): Jan Turek (Czech Institute of Egyptology / Czech Republic) and Ndukuyakhe Ndlovu (University of Pretoria / South Africa)
Type: Symposium
Contact:  turekjan(at)hotmail.com
Dividing the cultural space is an essential need of humans. The enclosed space if giving people feeling of security from the otherness and dividing the world into concepts of peaceful domus safe inside and wild agrios, dangerous outside. Enclosures were created to protect human
communities, their properties and livestock but also to perform their cult. Walls and ditches were often acting as symbolic manifestations of unity and creating shared identity, such as when Rome was founded by Romulus ploughing the furrow outlining the future Eternal City. Walls
and ditches were also created as fortifications and symbols of domination and/or segregation, such as the case of Limes Romanus or the Great Wall of China. Enclosures were, however, also defining the holy places, dividing the sacred from the profane and creating arenas of
spiritual and social communication, such as ditch monuments in Neolithic Europe. Walls and ditches are dividing people even now. The Korean wall or the wall at the West Bank present the reflection of the current human behaviour.
Regional variability World-wide and the reasons for enclosing the space, changing forms, purposes and symbolic meaning of enclosures throughout the past to present day will be discussed in our session.
Keywords: enclosures, walls and ditches, sacred & pofane, segregation, fortification


The Archaeology of Migrations

Organiser(s): Joseph Mangut (University of Jos / Nigeria), Dante Angelo (University of Tarapaca / Chile), Kaushik Gangopadhyay (University of Calcutta / India), Joanna  Dębowska-Ludwin (Jagiellonian University / Poland),  Mariam I. Al-mulla (Qatar university / Qatar) and Miroslava Surinova (Charles University / Czech)
Type: Symposium
Contact:  jomangut(at)yahoo.com
We view human migration as the local, internal, international and intercontinental movements of people either freely or constrained. In spite of the complexities of theoretical and methodological debates, we note that migration often serves as the bedrock for social change when we take into account the interchange of ideas and the physical contact of people. Migration is therefore such an important element of human behaviour that comprehensive studies are important. This session is therefore interested in addressing migrations and the resulting effects of cultural contact over all time scales and geographical areas. We are particularly interested in the identification of the various types and modes of migrations in the archaeological record. This session encourages both theoretical and methodological presentations as well as detailed case studies.
Keywords: Human Migrations, Types and modes of migrations, Archaeological Record.


Discovering the Archaeologists of the World

Organiser(s): Kenneth Aitchison (Landward Research Ltd / Nepal) and Katsuyuki Okamura (Osaka City Cultural Properties Association / Japan)
Type: Symposium
Contact: kenneth.aitchison(at)landward.eu
Employment in archaeology around the world, the challenges it faces as a profession, and how we can usefully compare professional national archaeologies as a phenomenon
in the globalized world.
In 2012-14, the Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe project found that there were approximately 25,000 professional archaeologists working in 21 European countries. As well as measuring capacity, the data this project produced also enabled the exploration of sensitive economic and social issues across European archaeology, relating to skills losses and
training, to the changing sizes, ages and gender balances within the profession, to the profession’s distribution between the private and public sectors, academia and cultural resource management, and also to comparing qualifications and the salaries earned by archaeologists in different countries.
More regional or national projects can and are looking at how archaeology is delivered in all parts of the world, and there is potential for these to come together to be part of a super-project, a Discovering the Archaeologists of the World that can identify and support professional archaeological practice and training globally. Papers in this session will discuss the facts about working in archaeology on national, regional and global scales.
Keywords: professional archaeology, capacity building, work and employment


Food, Identity and Choice: using diet to explore past social change

Organiser(s): Jennifer Bates (University of Cambridge / UK), Xinyi Liu (Washington University / USA) and Cameron A. Petrie (University of Cambridge / UK)
Type: Symposium
Contact: jb599(at)cam.ac.uk 
The acts of acquiring, preparing and eating food go beyond simple sustenance to make statements about identity and shape interactions on a daily basis. This is especially important during periods of social change and when different societies make contact and interact. As a daily marker of social identity, food is vital to processes such as acculturation and resistance. At both the macro scale, with global patterns in the movement of crops and animals, and at the more regional scale, such as where an expanding urbanised society met a smaller rural or mobile community, exploring how humans have exploited food as part of their daily lives provides insights into how people negotiated the changing social landscape around them. This session aims to bring together the full range of specialisms including, but not limited to, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, isotope and residue analysis, and archaeogenetics from all regions of the world and across all time periods to discuss the ways in which food can be utilised as a method/material for exploring the nature of identity in regions of social contact and change, looking at the issues of colonisation and resistance, and globalisation and regionality.
Keywords: food, identity, social change


The dynamics of societal change over the longue durée:
Perspectives from comparative approaches in archaeology and the “Seshat: Global History Databank” project

Organiser(s): Thomas Currie (University of Exeter / UK) and Arkadiusz Marciniak (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan / Poland)
Type: Symposium
Contact: T.Currie(at)exeter.ac.uk
Comparative archaeology is a vital way of understanding the processes that have shaped human
societies. However, our collective knowledge about past societies is often scattered over many sources. Furthermore, a variety of factors can hamper comparisons including, diverse theoretical approaches, varying methods of analysis, and regional differences in preservation and
discovery. In this session we want to examine how we can overcome these issues. We will discuss the challenges of identifying suitable archaeological measures that are explicit, and broadly applicable. We believe this is best tackled through working collaboratively with
researchers from a variety of disciplines, including expert archaeologists who are interested in placing their sites of study within a broader comparative framework. We will illustrate this approach by describing our current efforts to build a large, global-scale historical
and archaeological database known as Seshat: Global History Databank, that is using the latest computer science technologies to collate, curate and organize information. We will discuss how we are assembling data on religions and rituals, agricultural productivity, and warfare in
order to assess how these factors may have shaped the dynamics of change in social and political organization in societies in different regions of the world over the longue durée.
Keywords: Comparative Archaeology, Databases, Social and Cultural Evolution


Archaeology of Salt between Local and Global

Organiser(s): Marius Alexianu (University of Iasi / Romania), Takamune Kawashima (Yamaguchi University / Japan), Olivier Weller (UMR 8215 Trajectories / France), Robin Brigand (UMR 8215 Trajectories / France ) and Felix-Adrian Tencariu (Alexandru I. Cuza University of Iasi / Romania)
Type: Symposium
Contact: takamune(at)yamaguchi-u.ac.jp
The archaeology of salt, an under-represented sub-discipline in the first half of the twentieth century, has seen in the last three or four decades a surprising increase worldwide. Research conducted in established areas such as Europe came to be „competed” by those made in many other places in the world. Thus, in whole new geo-historical areas, the role of salt in the development of local civilizations was highlighted, whether they were areas of reference for all humanity or idiographic situations. It is no accident that at the last Meeting at the Dead Sea in 2013, a session dedicated to the archaeology of salt was created for the first time in the history of WAC.
This new WAC session aims to provide much needed international attention to the latest discoveries in the field, both in the diatopic and diachronic plan, to the new approaches to older discoveries (archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, archaeometry, anthropology, chemistry, geology, etc.), to the synthesis on less known geographic areas. How is it that the exploitation techniques and instruments, as well as the uses, intangible heritage and so on of salt are very similar across the globe, although between those areas, direct or even indirect contact did not exist?
Keywords: salt, interdisciplinary, interregional comparison


Margins: Society and Economy in Challenging Environments

Organiser(s): Teresa Raczek (Kennesaw State University / USA), Prabodh Shirvalkar (Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute / India) and Atsushi Noguchi (NPO Japanese Center for South Asian Cultural Heritage / Japan)
Type: Symposium
Contact: traczek(at)kennesaw.edu
Early Complex societies that thrived in marginal environments such as deserts, high altitudes, circumpolar regions, and resource poor areas share much in common as the inhabitants of these places developed unique strategies to address the challenges presented by their environments. How did early complex societies located in such seemingly non-benevolent regions survive and thrive? This session argues that placing human-environment interactions at the center of inquiry allows for broader understandings of the ways that landforms, climate, water, and material resources interplay with developing social, economic, and political forms.
The inhabitants of marginal environments faced a number of economic challenges whether they relied on agro-pastoralism, pastoralism, foraging, fishing, or some other subsistence strategy. From procuring and producing food to obtaining raw materials such as metal ores, stones, woods, and clay, societies in marginal environments developed practical strategies and sustained social and political networks across difficult terrains. How were these early complex societies shaped by their environments and how did they shape them in turn? Papers in this session will explore how subsistence, settlement patterns, trade and exchange, and formation of networks in early complex societies are framed by extreme environments.
Keywords: Extreme environments, early complex societies, human-environment interactions


Case Studies in Ethnoarchaeology

Organiser(s): Ryuzaburo Takahashi (Waseda University / Japan) and Glenn Summerhayes (Otago University / New Zealand)
Type: Symposium
Contact: ryuza(at)waseda.jp
The goals of archaeology are to understand past culture, reconstruct past societies, and provide models to account for change over time. In general, ethnographic data have proved useful in modeling past societies and their applications in world archaeology have been very productive. The aim of this session is to present the results of ethnoarchaeological fieldwork from around the globe. Topics will include, but are not restricted to, subsistence, settlements, material culture, social organization and religion. Participants will examine methodologies, archaeological interpretations, and discuss the relevance of ethnographic data to archaeological modeling. By sharing the results of ethnoarchaeological research among researchers from diverse backgrounds, the symposium will stimulate discussion about the benefits and problems of current research in ethnoarchaeology.
Keywords: ethno-archaeology, field research, model building


Archaeologies of Childhood II: Children’s roles in peace and war

Organiser(s): Kirsty Squires (Staffordshire University / UK) and Caroline Sturdy Colls (Staffordshire University / UK)
Type: Symposium
Contact: kirsty.squires(at)staffs.ac.uk
Archaeological studies that focus on periods of conflict and peace in both the past and present typically lay emphasis on the roles and experiences of adult civilians and soldiers. In contrast, the youngest members of society are frequently ignored. Despite the fact that the study of childhood in the past is becoming a rapidly growing research area there is limited research that specifically explores children in peaceful and troubled times. The aim of this session is to highlight how children were assigned and, indeed, forged their own identities in periods of peace and war, and how the active participation and persecution of children in conflict changed their roles and responsibilities within immediate kin groups and wider society. Session two of the “Archaeologies of Childhood” symposia will draw upon bioarchaeological, historical, artefactual, and literary evidence to gain a greater insight into the identity, social standing, and roles of children in times of conflict and peace to establish how children lived in the prehistoric and historic past.
Keywords: children; conflict; warfare; identity


Understanding prehistoric change in demography and subsistence

Organiser(s): Enrico R. Crema (University of Cambridge / USA), Junko Habu (University of California, Berkeley / Japan), Marco Madella (Universitat Pompeu Fabra / Spain) and Oki Nakamura (/)
Type: Symposium
Contact: erc62(at)cam.ac.u
The reconstruction of prehistoric population dynamics has long occupied a pivotal role in archaeology. Demographic transitions have both been identified as cause and consequence of changes in subsistence practices, while their relationship to external variables (e.g. climate) has often been given for granted without sufficient evidence.
Interests to this topical issue transcend multiple theoretical frameworks, and is shared amongst different research traditions across the globe. Recent theoretical advances are replacing earlier basic explanations, often suggesting that a simple linear correlation between demography, subsistence, and climate should not be expected. The buffering-effect of niche construction activities, for example, might determine a time lag in adaptive responses, while the amount of diversity in subsistence practice could lead to different reactions to similar selective pressures, as well as endogenic transformations that are independent from external forces.
The availability of richer datasets, multiple independent proxies, and new techniques for reconstructing prehistoric demography and subsistence are now offering robust grounds for testing these novel hypotheses against the empirical record. This session will showcase case studies on this topical theme from around the globe, as well as broader theoretical and methodological contributions.
Keywords: Demography, Climate, Subsistence


Giant Tombs and Social Complexity: A Comparative Perspective

Organiser(s): Ken’ichi Sasaki (Meiji University / Japan) and Shin’ya Fukunaga  (Osaka University / Japan)
Type: Symposium
Contact: ksasaki(at)meiji.ac.jp
The Kofun Period of protohistoric Japan (ca. middle third to early seventh centuries A.D.) is characterized by the construction of numerous giant mounded tombs of more than 250 meters in length.  Although within the process of state formation, the practice of building large funerary structures is not uncommon elsewhere, the size and number of giant mounded tombs in Japan is highly unusual.  This session will take a comparative, global approach to similar large funerary monuments for which a large amount of communal labor was required. Papers will examine cases from around the world and compare and contrast the different roles that substantial tombs played in the development of social complexity in different regions. We will also consider the meanings of these large burial structures for local people.
Keywords: Mounded tombs, state formation, archaeological heritage


Curiosity, Incomprehension, Indifference: Issues in Interdisciplinary Archaeological Research

Organiser(s): Naoko Nakamura (Kagoshima University / Japan) and Maria Shinoto (Heidelberg University / Germany)
Type: Symposium
Contact: k8315479(at)kadai.jp
Archaeology has always borrowed and developed methods and research questions from other disciplines, sometimes in cooperation with them.  Frequently, however, archaeologists borrow methods — as tools –without a fundamental understanding of the basic principles or ongoing discussions in the original discipline. The lack of adequate cross-disciplinary understanding can cause social as well as methodological problems. Since scientific research is evolving rapidly, this problem is becoming more severe.  In addition, problems with research in similar fields, for example in historically oriented archaeology and history, can also arise because each is based on different sources or methods. All interdisciplinary research needs careful consideration to avoid the premature application of hypotheses based on data sources and approaches that are not familiar to the users. This session will evaluate the merits and problems of different kinds of collaboration between archaeology and other disciplines.
Keywords: interdisciplinary research, interaction, archaeological method


What is different about early agriculture in the wet tropics?

Organiser(s): Cristina Castillo (Institute of Archaeology / UK), Alison Crowther (University of Queensland / Australia), Huw Barton (Leicester University / UK) and Tim Denham (The Australian National University / Australia)
Type: Symposium
Contact: criscastillo(at)mac.com
Early agriculture and plant domestication in the wet tropical regions of the world is often under-considered in global treatments. In this session, the multi-disciplinary evidence (agronomy, archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, genetics and palaeoecology) for early agriculture in different regions of the wet tropics is presented and re-evaluated. At the same time, methodological and conceptual contributions focus on the distinctive character of plant domestication and cultivation in these regions, primarily in regards to a vegetative disposition to plant exploitation and propagation.
Keywords: Tropical agriculture, vegetative propagation, early agriculture, microfossils