Grant TypeHunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Institutional AffiliationPennsylvania, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10051
Approve DateOctober 2, 2020
Project TitleHammer , Emily (Pennsylvania, U. of) "Toward An Empirical Archaeology of Pastoralism and Pastoral Mobility"
Though mobile pastoralists were long a significant component of societies in steppe, desert, and mountain zones of Europe, Asia, and Africa, archaeologists have long considered them to be materially and documentarily ‘invisible.’ Instead, the archeological study of pastoralism has relied largely on ethnographic analogies and environmentally deterministic models, often with little or no data on historically-specific pastoralist communities. This approach has yielded a static picture of pastoralism through time that has only recently begun to be challenged. In the book that I will complete during this fellowship, I draw from recent advances in anthropology, archaeology, and laboratory analysis in order to articulate a new paradigm for a critical archaeology of pastoralism. In it, I articulate a new framework for conceiving of pastoralist variability, propose ways of developing a more rigorous relationship with analogical reasoning, and promote the use of new archaeological and scientific methodologies for collecting direct data on pastoralism. Wider adoption of this new paradigm will allow archaeologists to better investigate the historical role of pastoralist communities. This new paradigm more broadly promotes efforts within anthropology to dismantle the legacy of evolutionary classifications of human societies, which drew sharp distinctions between agriculturalists and pastoralists, and to investigate ways that diverse non-agricultural and mobile groups have shaped complex society and environment.