Session: #468

Theme & Session Format

5. Assembling archaeological theory and the archaeological sciences
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Biosocial Archaeology: When Ancient DNA Opens the Discussion to Social Structures
Over the last years, methodological advancements in ancient DNA allowed more specific studies, either at individual levels with high-covered genomes, or at group levels with extensive sampling. The evolution of the field makes now possible finer analysis at local scales, exploring in particular kinship and site organization. This increasing power of resolution offers new elements of analysis for the investigation of social structures, such as marital rules, female/male mobility, population size, consanguinity, networks at local or regional scales… As one can always object that biological kinship or affinities do not necessary demonstrate that the individuals either recognized this connection or bonded based on it, these elements open the discussion about the relationship between biological and social kinship. Developments of new analysis tools to explore these biological structures are actively in progress and will contribute to deeply improve our knowledge in this regard.
In parallel, the discussion now must include insights from social anthropology as well as archaeology to critically assess these new results in the light of human behavior. It also highlights our biases as modern societies and which we must question when coming to interpret social systems in ancient societies.
Many different perspectives can be brought together in this session to discuss this growing and exciting panel of ancient DNA data, with the aim to help building a critical and integrative research.

We welcome all researchers involved in genetics, archaeology, anthropology and social anthropology who want to contribute to an interdisciplinary discussion about biosocial archaeology. Contributions can address the following questions and research topics, for any time period:
- Case studies including analyses of social structures, kinship and site studies;
- New tools to explore genetic, archaeological or anthropological data in a social perspective;
- Theoretical discussions related to biosocial archaeology about interpretative choices, vocabulary, historical records and ethnoarchaeology.
ancient DNA, social structures, kinship, site organisation, interdisciplinarity
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Maïté Rivollat (France) 1,2
Anna Szécsényi-Nagy (Hungary) 3
Daniela Hofmann (Norway) 4
Lara Cassidy (Ireland) 5
István Koncz (Hungary) 6
1. PACEA, University of Bordeaux, France
2. MPI-SHH, Jena, Germany
3. Institute of Archaeology Research Centre for the Humanities, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre of Excellence, Hungary
4. Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen, Norway
5. Molecular Population Genetics Lab, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
6. Institute of Archaeological Sciences, ELTE - Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary