21-23 January 2018.
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
University of Cambridge

The conference brought together world-leading scholars as well as early career researchers to discuss multidisciplinary approaches to the investigation of non-egalitarian and egalitarian social relationships in prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies.

The conference photo gallery can be found here.

Sponsored by ArchaeoLink

ArchaeoLink assists the archaeologist / heritage researcher in achieving long term, positive impact within the community in which they work, by facilitating the community to obtain sustainable, educational, societal and economic benefits from the research. 

All of our initiatives are aimed to contribute to one of more of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

 
 
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Conference rationale

For much of the twentieth century, the emergence of human social inequality was seen as the outcome of the domestication of plants and animals by agricultural communities in relation with the ability to produce food surpluses. However, as more evidence becomes available, and advances in theory provide a better appreciation of what social inequality means, questions, methods and master-narratives underwent fundamental changes during the last decade.

The proposed conference differs from the classic approach of telling Prehistory from the point of view of a directional increase of inequality towards agriculture. Instead, it will be non-dogmatical and multidisciplinary in scope and it will explore both social inequality and egalitarianism from different angles by bringing together specialists from different disciplines: archaeology, cultural anthropology & computational modelling. The workshop aims to revisit the pre-agricultural record of Europe and further afield in the light of recent advances brought about by cross-cultural studies of extant hunter-gatherer societies, as well as by formal theory and quantitative modelling.

It seeks to identify and interpret the archaeological correlates of variable expressions of social inequality, and to adapt and refine theoretical ideas on the ecological conditions and socio-economic factors underlying the emergence of social inequality, hierarchy and leadership, or alternatively,

the maintenance of egalitarianism in prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies. By bringing together both internationally recognised experts from a variety of disciplines, as well as early career researchers, the workshop will create continuity with previous studies and point out new ways for future archaeological research.

The theme "Social inequality before farming?" will be developed in several sessions, which will be centred on specific topics that fit well within the overall conference objectives:

1. Inequality in the European Upper Palaeolithic record? 

2. Complex hunter-gatherers, resource intensification, and social inequality in the Holocene

3. Potentials & limitations of rock art studies to unveil forms of socio-political organisation in prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies

4. Egalitarianism & social inequality in extant hunter-gatherers

5. Social inequality, interpersonal violence & warfare in hunter-gatherer societies

6. Computational modelling approaches of social inequality

The conference programme can be downloaded here.

 

KEYNOTES & SPEAKERS

Group photo.jpg
  Prof. Amy Bogaard   Professor of Neolithic and Bronze Age Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK.  The farming - inequality nexus    FULL BIO

Prof. Amy Bogaard

Professor of Neolithic and Bronze Age Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK.
The farming - inequality nexus

FULL BIO

  Prof. James Woodburn   Professor Emeritus, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.  Relevant Factors when examining Equality and Inequality among Contemporary Hunter-Gatherers    FULL BIO

Prof. James Woodburn

Professor Emeritus, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
Relevant Factors when examining Equality and Inequality among Contemporary Hunter-Gatherers

FULL BIO

  Dr. Enrico R. Crema   Lecturer in Computational Analysis of Long-Term Human Cultural and Biological Dynamics, University of Cambridge, UK.  Are we there yet? Modelling the origins of social inequality    FULL BIO

Dr. Enrico R. Crema

Lecturer in Computational Analysis of Long-Term Human Cultural and Biological Dynamics, University of Cambridge, UK.
Are we there yet? Modelling the origins of social inequality

FULL BIO

  Dr. William Davies   Associate Professor of Archaeology, University of Southampton, UK.  Responses of Upper Palaeolithic (UP) humans to spatio-temporal variations in resources: inequality, storage and mobility    FULL BIO

Dr. William Davies

Associate Professor of Archaeology, University of Southampton, UK.
Responses of Upper Palaeolithic (UP) humans to spatio-temporal variations in resources: inequality, storage and mobility

FULL BIO

  Dr. Cornelis Drost   Research Associate, University College London, UK.  Burials and complex foragers towards the European Last Glacial Maximum? Testing ecological factors    FULL BIO

Dr. Cornelis Drost

Research Associate, University College London, UK.
Burials and complex foragers towards the European Last Glacial Maximum? Testing ecological factors

FULL BIO

  Dr. Mark Dyble   Junior Research Fellow in Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK.  The impact of equality in residential decision making on group composition, cooperation and cultural exchange    FULL BIO

Dr. Mark Dyble

Junior Research Fellow in Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK.
The impact of equality in residential decision making on group composition, cooperation and cultural exchange

FULL BIO

  Prof. Ben Fitzhugh   Professor of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.  Reciprocity and asymmetry in social networks: dependency and hierarchy in North Pacific comparative perspective    FULL BIO

Prof. Ben Fitzhugh

Professor of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
Reciprocity and asymmetry in social networks: dependency and hierarchy in North Pacific comparative perspective

FULL BIO

  Prof. Douglas P. Fry   Professor of Anthropology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA.  Social Complexity, Inequality, and War before Farming: Congruence of Comparative Forager and Archaeological Data    FULL BIO

Prof. Douglas P. Fry

Professor of Anthropology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA.
Social Complexity, Inequality, and War before Farming: Congruence of Comparative Forager and Archaeological Data

FULL BIO

  Dr. Mietje Germonpré   Palaeontologist and Archaeozoologist, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium.  Could incipient dogs have enhanced differential access to resources among Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers in Europe?    FULL BIO

Dr. Mietje Germonpré

Palaeontologist and Archaeozoologist, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium.
Could incipient dogs have enhanced differential access to resources among Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers in Europe?

FULL BIO

  Dr. Matt Grove   Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Liverpool, UK.  A comparative perspective on the origins of social inequality    FULL BIO

Dr. Matt Grove

Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Liverpool, UK.
A comparative perspective on the origins of social inequality

FULL BIO

  Prof. Brian D. Hayden   Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University and Research Associate at the University of British Columbia, Canada.  Did secret societies create inequalities in the Upper Palaeolithic?    FULL BIO

Prof. Brian D. Hayden

Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University and Research Associate at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
Did secret societies create inequalities in the Upper Palaeolithic?

FULL BIO

  Dr. Emmanuelle Honoré   Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow, University of Cambridge, UK.  Same but different: Equality and inequality in group depictions in the rock art of the Eastern Saharan last hunter-gatherers    FULL BIO

Dr. Emmanuelle Honoré

Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow, University of Cambridge, UK.
Same but different: Equality and inequality in group depictions in the rock art of the Eastern Saharan last hunter-gatherers

FULL BIO

  Prof. Robert L. Kelly   Professor of Anthropology, University of Wyoming, USA.  Social Inequality and Hunter-Gatherer Mobility: What’s the link?    FULL BIO

Prof. Robert L. Kelly

Professor of Anthropology, University of Wyoming, USA.
Social Inequality and Hunter-Gatherer Mobility: What’s the link?

FULL BIO

  Noa Lavi M.A.   PhD student in Cultural Anthropology, University of Haifa, Israel.  Learning egalitarianism: a cross-cultural review of forager children    FULL BIO

Noa Lavi M.A.

PhD student in Cultural Anthropology, University of Haifa, Israel.
Learning egalitarianism: a cross-cultural review of forager children

FULL BIO

  Prof. Robert H. Layton   Professor of Anthropology, University of Durham, UK.  Cumulative processes versus adaptations in human prehistory.    FULL BIO

Prof. Robert H. Layton

Professor of Anthropology, University of Durham, UK.
Cumulative processes versus adaptations in human prehistory.

FULL BIO

  Dr. Andrea Migliano   Lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology, University College London, UK.  Sex equality and division of labour in simple hunter-gatherer: a window into the origins of hunter-gatherer social structure    FULL BIO

Dr. Andrea Migliano

Lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology, University College London, UK.
Sex equality and division of labour in simple hunter-gatherer: a window into the origins of hunter-gatherer social structure

FULL BIO

  Dr. Preston T. Miracle   Senior Lecturer in Zooarchaeology, University of Cambridge, UK.  Title to be communicated    FULL BIO

Dr. Preston T. Miracle

Senior Lecturer in Zooarchaeology, University of Cambridge, UK.
Title to be communicated

FULL BIO

  Dr. Luc Moreau   Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow, University of Cambridge, UK.  Burials and complex foragers towards the European Last Glacial Maximum? Testing ecological factors    FULL BIO

Dr. Luc Moreau

Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow, University of Cambridge, UK.
Burials and complex foragers towards the European Last Glacial Maximum? Testing ecological factors

FULL BIO

  Prof. Paul B. Pettitt   Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology, Durham University, UK.  Was there an inequality of artists in Palaeolithic Europe?    FULL BIO

Prof. Paul B. Pettitt

Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology, Durham University, UK.
Was there an inequality of artists in Palaeolithic Europe?

FULL BIO

  Dr. Alexander Pryor   Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Exeter, UK  Food, firewood and the accumulation of surplus in the European Upper Palaeolithic    FULL BIO

Dr. Alexander Pryor

Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Exeter, UK
Food, firewood and the accumulation of surplus in the European Upper Palaeolithic

FULL BIO

  Rachel Reckin M.A.   PhD student in Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK.  Learning egalitarianism: a cross-cultural review of forager children    FULL BIO

Rachel Reckin M.A.

PhD student in Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK.
Learning egalitarianism: a cross-cultural review of forager children

FULL BIO

  Prof. John Robb   Professor of European Prehistory, University of Cambridge, UK.  Achieving equality: egalitarian strategies and the shape of long-term history    FULL BIO

Prof. John Robb

Professor of European Prehistory, University of Cambridge, UK.
Achieving equality: egalitarian strategies and the shape of long-term history

FULL BIO

  Prof.   Paul “Jim” Roscoe   Professor of Anthropology, University of Maine, USA.  What do we mean by social inequality and could it have existed prior to farming?    FULL BIO

Prof. Paul “Jim” Roscoe

Professor of Anthropology, University of Maine, USA.
What do we mean by social inequality and could it have existed prior to farming?

FULL BIO

  Dr. Rick Schulting   Associate Professor in Scientific and Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK.  Unequal in death and in life? Linking burial rites with individual life histories    FULL BIO

Dr. Rick Schulting

Associate Professor in Scientific and Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK.
Unequal in death and in life? Linking burial rites with individual life histories

FULL BIO

  Dr. Duncan Stibbard Hawkes   Teaching Fellow in Evolutionary Anthropology, Durham University, UK.  Equality and access to the means of coercion: an understudied approach    FULL BIO

Dr. Duncan Stibbard Hawkes

Teaching Fellow in Evolutionary Anthropology, Durham University, UK.
Equality and access to the means of coercion: an understudied approach

FULL BIO

  Prof. Marta Mirazon Lahr   Professor for Human Evolutionary Biology and Prehistory, University of Cambridge, UK.  The ecology of prehistoric inter-group conflict in African hunter-gatherers     FULL BIO

Prof. Marta Mirazon Lahr

Professor for Human Evolutionary Biology and Prehistory, University of Cambridge, UK.
The ecology of prehistoric inter-group conflict in African hunter-gatherers

FULL BIO

 

 

This conference is generously funded by the annual conference competition award (call 2017) of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge

 

This conference has the support of the International Society for
Hunter-Gatherer Research


Luc Moreau is a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow funded by an EC H2020 Individual Fellowship of the European Commission (PALMOBI, Grant nr. 654927)

 
 
 

THE VENUE

McDonald Institute for
Archaeological Research
Downing Street
Cambridge CB2 3ER
Map

Email: lm704@cam.ac.uk

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