Emerging Complexity

Emerging Complexity was the theme for this year’s Robert L. Stigler Jr. Archaeology Lecture Series.  Four distinguished speakers were brought to campus, each investigating the forces that drove the emergence of complex societies in diverse locations around the world. 

October 12, 2009

Joy McCorriston, Ph.D.

Professor of Anthropology The Ohio State University

Pilgrimage and Household in the Ancient Near East
Giffels Auditorium, Old Main
6:30 p.m.

Dr. McCorriston began the series with a talk on the importance of pilgrimage traditions and household structures in Arabia and Mesopotamia. Dr. McCorriston researches the development of agriculture and paleoenvironmental conditions in the ancient Near East.  She is currently the director of the RASA Project (Roots of Agriculture in Southern Arabia) exploring the emergence of complex societies in Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia.  She also directs the archaeobotany program at The Ohio State University. 

November 12, 2009

Timothy Pauketat, Ph.D.

Professor of Anthropology University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

The Living, The Dead, and The Sky: New Archaeological Discoveries and American Indian Religion in the Heartland
Giffels Auditorium, Old Main
7:00 p.m.

Dr. Pauketat gave a vibrant lecture on his research exploring Mississippian cultures of the Midwest, highlighting astronomical orientations of ritual structures and related archaeological evidence.  He advocates practice-theoretical, phenomenological, and historical approaches in archaeology and focuses on pre-Columbian eastern North America – specifically the relationship between religion, materiality, identity, and political formations in the Midwest, Midsouth and Eastern Plains. He is the author of eight books and directs several large-scale excavations of settlements, outposts, and ritual deposits associated with the city of Cahokia, in Southwestern Illinois. His ongoing field project seeks to understand an ancient instance of colonization and religious conversion in Wisconsin.

February 26, 2010

Willeke Wendrich, Ph.D.

Costen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles

Fayum Landscapes: Agricultural Adaptations in the Egyptian Neolithic and Greco-Roman Periods
Giffels Auditorium, Old Main
6:30 p.m.

Dr. Windrich presented her recent fieldwork in the Fayum region of the Egyptian Desert, an area where her work now shows a remarkable emergence of intensive agriculture and settlement during the Neolithic Period.

March 11, 2010

Clark Erickson, Ph.D.

Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

Monuments, Landscapes, and Chocolate Forests in the Bolivian Amazon
Giffels Auditorium, Old Main
6:30 p.m.

Dr. Erickson capped off the series with a riveting talk on a hitherto poorly known complex society located deep in the Bolivian Amazon, where his research has revealed monumental earthworks, fortifications and agricultural installations.


Funding provided by the Robert L. Stigler, Jr. Trust, and the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.