Revisiting 'seasonal variations' and their implications for how we think Event as iCalendar

(Anthropology, School of Social Sciences)

28 March 2019

4 - 5:30pm

Venue: Room 802, Te Puna Mārama / Social Sciences Building (201E)

Professor David Wengrow | University College London

The tendency for human societies to alternate routinely between strikingly different systems of organisation was once a mainstay of anthropological theory in the tradition of Marcel Mauss and Robert Lowie, who explored the ‘seasonal variations’ of hunters and foragers such as the Inuit and the peoples of the Great Plains. Today, seasonality studies are becoming an important feature of archaeological interpretation again, through the introduction of scientific techniques like isotopic analysis.

The purpose of my talk will be to renew a dialogue between the fields of archaeology and anthropology, by revisiting some of the earlier ethnographic literature on seasonal variations in foraging societies, and considering its implications for some knotty problems of contemporary archaeological interpretation, especially as these relate to the nature of political systems and social inequality in Palaeolithic and Early Holocene societies.

David Wengrow is Professor of Comparative Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. His books include The Archaeology of Early Egypt: Social Transformations in North-East Africa, 10,000 - 2650 BC; What Makes Civilisation? and The Origins of Monsters: Image and Cognition in the First Age of Mechanical Reproduction. David has conducted archaeological fieldwork in various parts of the Middle East and Africa, most recently investigating the beginnings of urban life in Iraqi Kurdistan. He is currently writing a book on human history and inequality with the social anthropologist David Graeber.