Program in Early Cultures
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National Gallery of Art

Congratulations to Professor Jeffrey Moser

Congratulations to Professor Jeffrey Moser who is on sabbatical from Brown University (2021 - 2022) and is currently Paul Mellon Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, where he is working on his book Moral Depths: Making Antiquity in a Medieval Chinese Cemetery.
Getty Museum

Congratulations to Professor Stephen Houston

Congratulations to Professor Stephen Houston (Anthropology) for "The Life and Afterlife of an Ancient Maya Carving", an interview he did for the series, "Getty: Art and Ideas."
Brown University owns a number of cuneiform foundation cones and tablets, which are kept in the John Hay Library as a part of Special Collections. Kept alongside the objects are various archival materials attesting to their previous ownership and acquisition by former prominent members of the Providence, RI community.
Congratulations to two of our PEC community who received Richard B. Salomon Research Awards for 2021:

Alani Hicks-Bartlett (Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and French Studies), for her project," 'Soutenez moi, li max d'amours m'ocit' [Sustain me, for lovesickness is killing me]: A Translation and Critical Edition of Li Romanz de la poire".

Jeffrey Moser (Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture), for his project, "Moral Depths: Making Antiquity in a Medieval Chinese Cemetery."
Dean of the Faculty

Congratulations to Parker VanValkenburgh

Congratulations to Parker VanValkenburgh who is the recipient of the William G. McLoughlin Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences this year. Parker is Stanley J. Bernstein Assistant Professor of Social Sciences and Assistant Professor of Anthropology.
John Bodel and Stephen Houston, The Hidden Language of Graphic Signs: Cryptic Writing and Meaningful Marks. (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

John Bodel is W. Duncan MacMillan II Professor of Classics at Brown University and Director of the U.S. Epigraphy Project.
Stephen Houston serves as the Dupee Family Professor of Social Science at Brown University.
Columbia University

Congratulations to William S. Monroe

Congratulations to William S. Monroe, Senior Academic Engagement Librarian at Brown, who successfully defended his dissertation entitled "The Trials of Pope Formosus" on March 19, 2021 and officially received his PhD in History from Columbia University on May 19. Additionally, Dr. Monroe was nominated last year and elected early this year to a three-year term on the Council of the Medieval Academy of America. Well done, Bill!
This collection of essays on cultural astronomy celebrates the life and work of Clive Ruggles, Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy at Leicester University. Taking their lead from Ruggles’ work, the papers present new research focused on three core themes in cultural astronomy: methodology, case studies, and heritage. Through this framework, they show how the study of cultural astronomy has evolved over time and share new ideas to continue advancing the field.
Edited by Nicholas Carter, Stephen D. Houston, and Franco D. Rossi. The Adorned Body: Mapping Ancient Maya Dress. (University of Texas Press, 2020)

The Adorned Body is the first truly comprehensive book on what the ancient Maya wore, a systematic survey of dress and ornaments, from head to toe and everything in between.
Kelly Nguyen (Classics, PhD '21) was awarded the Eric Gruen Prize by the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) for her essay, "What's in a Natio: Negotiating Ethnic Identity in the Roman Empire." The Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus, of which Nguyen is a co-founder, also received the prestigious 2021 Professional Equity Award from the Women's Classical Caucus.
Published in Magdalena de Cao Viejo: An Early Colonial Town in Northern Peru, ed. J. Quilter.

During the early Colonial Period in the Americas, as an ancient way of life ended and the modern world began, indigenous peoples and European invaders confronted, resisted, and compromised with one another. Yet archaeological investigations of this complex era are rare. Magdalena de Cao is an exception: the first in-depth and heavily illustrated examination of what life was like at one culturally mixed town and church complex during the early Colonial Period in Peru.
Published in "Defining Shugendō: Critical Studies on Japanese Mountain Religion," eds. Andrea Castiglioni, Carina Roth, and Fabio Rambelli.

Defining Shugendo brings together leading international experts on Japanese mountain asceticism to discuss what has been an essential component of Japanese religions for more than a thousand years.
Published in KIVA: Journal of Southwestern Anthropology and History.

Chaco Canyon (850–1130 CE) served as the regional center for Ancestral Puebloan communities in the northern U.S. Southwest. Pueblo ethnographic traditions and the archaeological record demonstrate the importance of cosmological beliefs with origins at Chaco.
Maya Decipherment

Canonical Space and Maya Markets

by Stephen Houston, Anthropology. Maya Decipherment: Ideas on Ancient Maya Writing and Iconography, 2020.
Maya Decipherment

All the Small Things

Houston, Stephen. (Anthropology.) “All the Small Things.” Maya Decipherment: Ideas on Ancient Maya Writing and Iconography. 2020.
Published in the International Journal of Historical Archaeology.

Caribbean plantation landscapes were designed to mediate interactions between planters and enslaved laborers. In this paper, wind-powered sugar mills on the island of Montserrat are singled out as being prominent components of the plantation environment that were not only economically productive, but also served as markers of planter power and control.
Archeotech Podcast

Archaeology and Big Data

Parker VanValkenburgh (Stanley J. Bernstein Assistant Professor of Social Sciences) and Andy Dufton (PhD, '17, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World) recently visited the Archaeotech podcast ("Archaeology and Big Data," Episode 133) to discuss a supplement about digital archaeology and ethical considerations they brought to the Journal of Field Archaeology.
Maya Decipherment

A Sacrificial Sign in Maya Writing

Houston, Stephen. (Anthropology.) A Sacrificial Sign in Maya Writing (Dmitri Beliaev and Stephen Houston) Maya Decipherment: Ideas on Ancient Maya Writing and Iconography. 2020.
Published in the Journal of Human Palaeoecology.

This paper explores the concept of suitability within applications of Ideal Distribution Models (IDMs). Specifically, we investigate the effectiveness of single measures of suitability in contexts where diverse local populations practised a range of subsistence strategies with different environmental requirements and sociocultural consequences.
Published in Past Global Changes (PAGES) Magazine.

We seek to highlight how paleoecology, archaeology, and geoecology can add to the repertoires of ecotourism guides in Peru's Chachapoya region, providing informed portraits of the history of cloud forest ecology in Peru's northeastern Andes and raising concerns about the future conservation of these mountainscapes under human impact.
Published in Antiquity.

Excavation at nuraghe S'Urachi has yielded a wide range of archaeobotanical materials preserved through charring and waterlogging. This unusual evidence allows us to study the agricultural practices and diet of this community in the first millennium BC and to understand better the economic and cultural interactions between Sardinia and the wider Phoenician and Mediterranean world.
Published in the Journal of Field Archaeology.

Big data have arrived in archaeology, in the form of both large-scale datasets themselves and in the analytics and approaches of data science. Aerial data collected from satellite-, airborne- and UAV-mounted sensors have been particularly transformational, allowing us to capture more sites and features, over larger areas, at greater resolution, and in formerly inaccessible landscapes. However, these new means of collecting, processing, and visualizing datasets also present fresh challenges for archaeologists.
Published in the Journal of Field Archaeology.

Archaeologists study many phenomena that scale beyond even our most geographically expansive field methodologies. The promise of collecting archaeologically relevant data beyond the scale of regional surveys is among the most exciting prospects of the “data revolution.”