Regional Approaches to Society and Complexity - Alex R. Knodell

Regional Approaches to Society and Complexity - Alex R. Knodell

16. Retrospect and Prospect in Regional Archaeology

Regional Approaches to Society and Complexity - Alex R. Knodell

Thomas P. Leppard [+-]
University of Cambridge
Thomas P. Leppard is Renfrew Fellow in the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge. His research concerns the comparative archaeology of island societies in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Pacific, especially issues of colonization, mobility, and emergent social complexity. Recent articles on these subjects have appeared in Human Ecology, Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Current Anthropology, Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, and World Archaeology. He currently conducts fieldwork in Micronesia and Sardinia.
Alex R. Knodell [+-]
Carleton College
Alex R. Knodell is Assistant Professor of Classics and Co-Director of the Archaeology Program at Carleton College. He currently co-directs the Mazi Archaeological Project (Northwest Attica, Greece) and previously served as field director of the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project (Petra, Jordan). Other research interests include the development of complex societies in the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Mediterranean, especially in relation to the Euboean Gulf of Greece. Recent articles have appeared in Antike Kunst, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Field Archaeology, and World Archaeology.


This concluding chapter situates the foregoing contributions in their wider disciplinary context and offers some suggestions on how archaeologists interested in regional studies of social complexity might look forward productively. We begin with a retrospective view of points of convergence and divergence in the chapters presented in this volume, focusing in particular how they contribute to past and ongoing debates in regional archaeology and studies of social complexity. Points of convergence include examinations of the role of the physical environment and material things in social interactions, as well as critical approaches to understanding the operation and maintenance of socio-political complexity. We see more divergent patterns in how scale is addressed, explicitly or implicitly, and in how comparison is attempted. The patterns witnessed here, we argue, in general reflect wider trends in archaeological thought. Finally, we turn to the future, suggesting that increasingly accessible technological and scientific developments will continue to have profound influence on the field. The nature and long-term effects of such innovations, however, are largely unpredictable. Rather than pointing toward unknown achievements of the future, we stress that the most valuable developments in this field moving forward concern methodological transparency, theoretical flexibility, and a critical, measured, and broadly engaged attitude toward collaboration, comparison, and disciplinary crossover.

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Leppard, Thomas; Knodell, Alex. 16. Retrospect and Prospect in Regional Archaeology. Regional Approaches to Society and Complexity. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 320-337 Jan 2018. ISBN 9781781795279. Date accessed: 11 Jul 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30819. Jan 2018

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