"A Study of Archaeological Survey in East Asia, or There Really Seem to Have Been Some Fascinating Configurations of Intermediate Scale Societies here", a talk by Joshua Wright (University of Aberdeen)


Thursday, November 18, 2021, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


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ABSTRACT     The study of societies of a particular scale has been out of fashion since critiques of the evolution of societies rose to prominence. However, the intermediate scale remains a topic for archaeological investigation even when unmoored from an evolutionary sequence. It is not simply a change the foci of archaeological theory that brought this about, there has been less collection of the primary data for the analysis of later prehistorical political configurations as regional archaeological survey in its historic heartlands became less possible or popular. Where this has not been the case is East Asia. The last two decades have seen a steady growth in regional survey. Focused on both the historical core regions of early state societies as well as previously peripheral areas, the collection of dense data from outside the boundaries of historical narrative has brought to light a complex landscape of interlinked communities, peer polities and multi-actor networks.


BIO     Wright is a landscape archaeologist with a research focus on East Asia. He studies the monumentality and movement, settlement patterns, mobile pastoralist economies, political landscapes, and the spatial structure of communities in many contexts. Currently he carries out research in Mongolia and China using primarily archaeological survey and other spatial data sources.

He received an M.Phil. from Cambridge University (East Asia Archaeology 1995) and his Ph.D. from Harvard University (2006, Anthropology) where he studied the adoption of nomadic pastoralism and the dynamics of subsistence and landscape in Northern Mongolia. He is currently at lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen. In addition to China and Mongolia, he has carried out fieldwork in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Greece, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Jordan and Belize.


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