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