Session: #228

Theme & Session Format

1. Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Agricultural Change and Social Inequality: Approaching Complexity
Social inequality and agricultural change are both “hot topics” in current societal debates, especially when facing the challenges of global climate change. It is obvious that there is a systemic connection between agricultural production and social inequalities. Those connections are evident, but the complexity of these interactions is not well understood: Archaeological approaches which assess social inequality and agricultural change offer a unique long-term, deep-time perspective. Today, vast amounts of archaeological and archaeobotanical data is available. New perspectives towards social inequality in archaeology have arisen in the last couple of years through the implementation of economic, demographic, and evolutionary methods. The Gini-index for measuring social inequality, for example, has been successfully applied to different archaeological datasets.
Progress in scientific methods makes it possible to analyse agricultural change in greater detail. Isotope analyses, sediment aDNA analyses, high resolution pollen analysis and land cover reconstructions enable us to measure land use change on various scales. Modes of production and societal organisation are intertwined. This applies to the level of societal organisation, ownership of production and the mobilisation of the workforce, to name but a few.
In this session we want to address the following issues: Does production determine societal complexity? Does social inequality constrain choices in the past and is it possible to discover path dependencies? What sources do we have and how do we combine them?
This session aims to explore the complex interconnections between production and social inequality. We invite evidence-based papers which discuss changes in social inequality, agricultural production, (or a combination of the two) on local, regional, interregional, and continental scales for all archaeological periods.
agricultural change, social inequality, environmental archaeology, social archaeology, agricultural production, quantitative archaeology
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Main organiser:
Tim Kerig (Germany) 1
Jutta Lechterbeck (Norway) 2
Fynn Wilkes (Germany) 1
1. ROOTS Subcluster Social Inequalities
2. Arkeologisk Museum Universitetet i Stavanger