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The Archaeology of Circulation, Exchange and Human Migration

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The Archaeology of Circulation, Exchange and Human Migration marshals an array of techniques and evidence, including microsatellite DNA analysis, trace element chemistry, isotopic analysis of artifacts and human remains, and GIS in addressing a long-standing issue that recently re-emerged as a foundational problem of anthropological archaeology: the mobility of people, animals, and objects in the distant and recent past. In 11 case studies that range geographically from China to Easter Island and in time from remote prehistory to European colonialism, the authors apply a remarkable variety of techniques and approaches in evaluating archaeological evidence for human and animal movements and the exchange of artifacts and materials, and the impacts these insights bring to present understandings of demography, social interactions, and group identity. This is a timely contribution to the recent debate over the role of science in anthropology, and will assist in placing archaeological science on more even footing with traditional modes of anthropological inquiry. The contributions are broad, accessible, clearly presented, and introduce cutting-edge uses of archaeometric methods in solving anthropological problems. The book’s content and structure will make it desirable for graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses and seminars on archaeological science, material culture studies, archaeological theory, and the history of the discipline.

Published: Nov 1, 2025

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
1. The Circulation of Ideas and Techniques: Archaeology and Archaeological Science in 21st Century Anthropology David L. Peterson, John V. Dudgeon, Carolyn Freiwald
Section I: Object Itineraries and Destinations
2. Tracing Networks: Tracking Objects, Modeling Movements Lin Foxhall, Katharina Rebay-Salisbury, Roderick Salisbury, Ann Brysbaert, Jose Fiadeiro, Anthony Harding, Colin Haselgrove, Yi Hong, Monika Solanki, Emilio Tuosto, Peter van Dommelen, Ian Whitbread
3. Made to Move? A Consideration of Pipe Circulation among Native Groups in the Middle Atlantic (A.D. 1000-1600) Elizabeth Bollwerk, Jeff Speakman, Nicole Little
4. On the Hoof: The Expansion of States and the Circulation of Animals in Third Millennium B.C. Upper Mesopotamia Phillip Trella
5. The Social Death of Things: An Archaeological Inquiry into the Foreign Exchanges and the Rote of Ritual De-Commoditization in Ancient Magan Daniel Contreras, Kristin Nado
Section II: The Character and Consequences of Circulation
6. Geochemical Characterization of Obsidian Networks at Chavín de Huántar, Peru Jamie Anderson
7. Linking Chronologies and Archaeological Interpretations Using Distal Tephrochronology: A Case Study from the West Fjords, Iceland Ling-yu Hung, Jianfeng Cui
8. The Circulation of Majiayao Painted Pottery Production in late Neolithic northwestern China with LA-ICP-AES Lisa Niziolek
Section III; Human Mobility
9. A Geochemical Study of Earthenware Production and Distribution in the Protohistoric Philippines Carolyn Freiwald
10. Maya Migration Networks: A Comparison of Patterns of Population Movement in the Belize River Valley, Vaca Plateau, and Maya Mountains Kristina Killgrove
11. Caput mundi: Paths of Circulation in the Roman Empire Kristina Killgrove
12. Trace Elements, Residues and DNA Microsatellite Data in Archaeological Mobility Studies: Evaluating Demographic Barriers to Panmixia in Rapa Nui (Easter Island) John V. Dudgeon, Amy Commendador, Monica Tromp

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