James A. Johnson

November 14, 2013 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

James A. Johnson, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh

A public dissertation presentation

"Community Matters? Investigating Complexity through Differentiation and Demography during the Bronze Age Southern Urals, Russian Federation, 2100 – 1000 BC"


Recent investigations of Bronze Age pastoral developmental trajectories in the Eurasian steppe have revealed complex social, economic and political organization at the pan-regional and regional scales. Such studies have proposed drastic increases in social complexity among pastoral groups based heavily upon highly speculative long-distance exchanges between state societies in western and south-central Asia and pastoral societies of the southern Urals region in northern central Asia. Other related studies have proposed grand narratives connecting various regions of northern Central Asia through metal production and consumption and other transferable technologies, such as horse domestication and chariots. Each of the studies has drawn upon the later Middle Bronze Age (ca. 2100 – 1700 BC) of northern Central Asia as the primary example of complex socio-economic and political organization for Bronze Age pastoral societies. This is because of the Sintashta culture developments, epitomized by the appearance of twenty-two enclosed settlements, chariot burials, and hypothesized large scale, intensified metal production. But
as has been pointed out recently, this leaves other scales of analysis under-investigated. As a part of the Sintashta Collaborative Archaeological Research Project, my dissertation fieldwork and research address these concerns evaluating social complexity through changing relationships between social differentiation and demography at the community scale. I present the results of my research, focusing on the appearance of more complex forms of social and political organization in the post-Sintashta periods related to a persistent emphasis on community ideology, history and mobility.


Thursday, November 14th, 4pm, Anthropology Lounge


Location and Address

3106 WWPH Anthropology Lounge