On the Move: Archaeologies of Human Mobility and Migration
Seminar | September 13 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Hearst Museum of Anthropology
This one-day public symposium brings archaeologists from Munich and Berkeley together to explore new horizons in mobility and migration practices in past societies. Abstracts can be read at bottom of this page. The Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology and the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich-UC Berkeley Research in the Humanities Program are co-sponsors of this event.
Each paper will be 20-minutes in length followed by 5 minutes for questions and discussions
10:00 Benjamin Porter (Berkeley) and Caroline von Nicolai (Munich), On the Move: An Introduction to the LMU-Berkeley Research Group on Mobility and Migration
10:25 Caroline von Nicolai (Munich), Last Hunters or First Farmers? Mobility Patterns during the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in the Austrian Alps
10:50 Tringham, Ruth (Berkeley), Walking to Nowhere: European Neolithic Migrations, Mobility and Movement
11:15 Meg Conkey (Berkeley) On the Move, Making Tracks, but Marking and Making Place in Ice Age Europe
11:40 Lisa Maher (Berkeley) Hunter-Gatherer Home-Making? Building Landscape and Community in the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic
12:05 Lunch Break
1:30 Jun Sunseri, Mario Castillo, and Erika Lin Contributions of GIS and Experimental Data to Landscape Archaeologies of Movement in Equestrian Societies
1:55 Alexander Schȕtze (Munich), Mobility in the Context of the Persian Empire: The Case of the Judaean Military Colony at Elephantine (Egypt)
2:20 Michael Roaf (Munich), The Migration of the Persians into Fars
2:45 Mélanie Flossmann-Schȕtze (Munich) Mobility of Animals in Late Period and Greco-Roman Egypt: A Case Study of the Ibiotapheion at Tuna el-Gebel
3:10 Julia Budka (Munich), Migration along the Nile during the 2nd Millennium BCE Case Studies from Sai Island, Sudan
3:35 Benjamin Porter (Berkeley), Making Jerusalem: Archaeologies of Pilgrimage and Cultural Mobility
4:00 PM Adjournment
Symposium -- On the Move: Archaeologies of Human Mobility and Migration
Caroline von Nicolai (Munich), Last Hunters or First Farmers? Mobility Patterns during the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in the Austrian Alps
In 2016, a camp-site with fire pits was discovered in the Karwendel Mountains (Austrian Alps) at an altitude of 1800 m asl. The recovered flint tools reveal both characteristics of the Mesolithic and the Neolithic period while radiocarbon dating indicates an age of 4950 BC, i.e. Middle Neolithic according to the standard chronology of Central Europe. This findspot thus positions us to adress questions which are fundamental to the study of human migration and mobility during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition: 1. Who used this site - hunter-gatherers or farmers? 2. Where did they come from? 3. Where did they go? 4. By which means did they travel?
Tringham, Ruth (Berkeley), Walking to Nowhere: European Neolithic Migrations, Mobility and Movement
Some kind of migration model whether colonization, demic diffusion or invasion has played a significant role in the interpretation of Neolithic archaeology and the Neolithization process since very early on in its history. My contribution starts with an overview of the trajectory of the debates that have focused on the beginning of the Neolithic in Europe and its end. The debates had dwindled in the 1990s, but have recently returned in full force, thanks to stable isotope and DNA analysis. I find that I am not inspired by these debates, any more than Tim Sørensen is for the mobility paradigm that similarly dominates European Bronze Age archaeology. So I explore why this is, and take a rather different attitude to movement, mobility and even migration by changing the scale at which the archaeological data are interpreted. I take another look at my earlier research in Neolithic Europe through the lenses of sensoriality, feminist enquiry, and a microhistorical standpoint.
Meg Conkey (Berkeley) On the Move, Making Tracks, but Marking and Making Place in Ice Age Europe
In this presentation, I will discuss four things in regard to the mobilities of our European Ice Age ancestors: 1) some thoughts on why being on the move has not been taken seriously or in a more positive vein, by archaeologists and others; 2) what some of the evidence is for both mobility and rootedness for Upper Paleolithic peoples, and how it is represented; 3) what are the impactful dimensions of having been mobile peoples, in terms of what social and cultural developments they fostered; and 4) how mobile peoples ,however, may have conceptualized place, how they marked their landscapes, and made places. The paper will try to re-frame
how we conceptualize and represent these hunter-gatherer peoples, and why this matters.
Lisa Maher (Berkeley) Hunter-Gatherer Home-Making? Building Landscape and Community in the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic
The transition from mobile hunter-gather to sedentary food-producing societies in Southwest Asia was a pivotal shift in human prehistory and its impacts on landscape and resource sustainability, long-distance interaction networks, technological innovation, and social issues, such as overcrowding and migration, continue to resonate today. Yet, despite decades of research, the Neolithic remains a highly-debated and high-profile period, and comparatively little research has been done on hunter-gatherer populations that represent the first 10,000 years of this transition. Indeed, much hunter-gatherer research here focuses on Late Epipalaeolithic (Natufian) trajectories towards Neolithic agricultural lifeways, tracing the appearance of settled villages, elaborated symbolic behaviours, the creation of a built environment, long-distance social networks, and other features, as markers of increased cognitive and social complexity. We now recognize that this transition was protracted, nonlinear, and entailed multiple entangled social, technological, ideological and economic facets, and, crucially, that this process began millennia earlier in the Epipalaeolithic. Here, I trace some of these Neolithic lifeways back into the Epipalaeolithic focusing, in particular, on the concept of home-making. I argue here that the hunter-gatherer home (imbued with symbolic meaning) is visible not just in the structured use of space within sites (huts), but that this home should be extended to include certain landscape features or even an entire landscape (albeit with poorly defined boundaries)the Epipalaeolithic hunter-gather landscape was every bit as experiential and constructed or built as that of a farmer. Through a nuanced approach to landscape that integrates concepts of dwelling, microscale examination of the organization of space, reconstructions of daily practice and object life histories, social networks and landscape-level datasets we are better able to understand hunter-gatherer place- and home-making. While I do not suggest that EP sites are the same as later Neolithic villages with stone architecture, communal buildings, and other supposed hallmarks of Neolithic farming village life, our current approach that highlights the differences between these periods grossly overshadows continuities. In reconstructing prehistoric lifeways, emphasis could more fruitfully be placed on the movements of people throughout a landscape that is created and transformed over time by those who dwell in these places, viewing sites as connected to others across a dynamic social landscape.
Jun Sunseri, Mario Castillo, and Erika Lin (Berkeley) Contributions of GIS and Experimental Data to Landscape Archaeologies of Movement in Equestrian Societies
Uniformitarian biomechanics of equine bodies over different types of terrain must complicate our understandings of temporality and territoriality in the different needs and capabilities of these species to structure and reproduce relationships between people, places and landscapes. Actualistic and geographic information systems-aided investigation can retrain archaeological focus on the kinds of travel dynamics experienced by equestrians moving through landscapes both constraining and created by their partnership. By more closely interrogating the data returned via an experimental approach, archaeological programs around the world may offer insights into the dynamic interplay of factors which might be considered in analyses of landscapes where people made a living with their equine mounts.
Alexander Schȕtze (Munich), Mobility in the Context of the Persian Empire: The Case of the Judaean Military Colony at Elephantine (Egypt)
The settlement of Judean military colonists at Elephantine Island at the southern border of Egypt is the best documented foreign community in this province of the Persian Empire. Recent excavations at Elephantine Island and Syene (modern Aswan) indicate that the settlement of foreign colonists there was organized by the Persian administration including the creation of entirely new living quarters. Based on both Aramaic papyri and the archaeological record, I will discuss the living conditions of these colonists as well as indicators for the identification of foreign military settlements in Persian Period Egypt.
Michael Roaf (Munich), The Migration of the Persians into Fars
It is now generally accepted that, by at least the late second millennium, Iranian people had infiltrated this territory [i.e. Persis or Fars] and mingled with the local population, a process leading to the emergence, or better ethnogenesis, of the people we call Persians. This statement by Amelie Kuhrt in her magisterial The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period (2007, p. 47) epitomises the current view of most of the leading historians of the Achaemenid Empire. In my talk, I will re-examine this thesis, showing that there is no evidence that the Persians arrived in Fars before the second half of the 8th century BC and that the ethnogenesis of the Persians is a modern, largely fictional construction. Instead, the textual and archaeological sources are consistent with the proposal that the Persians migrated into Fars from a region some 750 km to the north-west, after 745 BC when their original homeland, Parsua, was annexed by the Assyrians.
Mélanie Flossmann-Schȕtze (Munich) Mobility of Animals in Late Period and Greco-Roman Egypt: A Case Study of the Ibiotapheion at Tuna el-Gebel
Julia Budka (Munich), Migration along the Nile during the 2nd Millennium BCE Case Studies from Sai Island, Sudan
The ERC AcrossBorders project has investigated the occupation and setting of the New Kingdom town of Sai (c. 1539‒1077 BCE) in northern Sudan (Nubia) in the last five years (2013-2017). Excavations in the town area and the cemetery were complemented by archaeometric analyses of pottery (especially iNAA) and strontium isotope analysis of soil, water, faunal and human remains. Preliminary data high lightening the possible origin of ceramics, animals and people will be presented, illustrating complex ways of trade and migration along the Nile during the 2nd Millennium BCE.
Benjamin Porter (Berkeley), Making Jerusalem: Archaeologies of Pilgrimage and Cultural Mobility
This paper is one component of a larger project that examines the cultural forces over the past 2,500 years that created Jerusalem, a city that looms large in ancient and modern imaginaries as a sacred and contested space. While scholars have long recognized the role that pilgrimage and migration has played in the citys dynamics, less acknowledged are the material effects of these cultural practices that ultimately contributed to Jerusalems built spaces. Fruitful case-studies abound in which one can deploy lessons from mobility and material culture studies, as buildings such as the Dome of the Rock, and the Holy Sepulcher possess iterative biographies crafted through the peoples and things that were drawn to them. This paper explores these examples and discusses what they convey about the pilgrimage strategies that made Jerusalem.