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CFP: The Ancient DNA Revolution in Archaeology

Call for Papers:

State of the Field 2019:
The Ancient DNA Revolution in Archaeology

Friday, February 22 – Sunday, February 24, 2019

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Keynote Panelists:
Logan Kistler, Smithsonian Institution
Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith, University of Otago
Christina Warinner, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Oklahoma

Abstract Deadline: October 15, 2018


Ancient DNA has revolutionized archaeology and our understanding of human prehistory. Its insights have revealed hominins unknown from the fossil record, clarified global human migrations, and transformed how we understand plant and animal domestication processes. Despite these discoveries, many questions remain about how to interpret ancient DNA results and how to study the relationships between genes and culture:

  • How can we ensure that genetic results are interpreted within appropriate archaeological and anthropological frameworks?
  • How can we incorporate innovative paleogenetic methods into archaeological fieldwork and research design?
  • What are the ethical considerations of working with samples from archaeological contexts?

As laboratory and analytical methods continue to improve, the ancient DNA revolution is poised to expand even further within archaeology. At this time of innovation and possibility it is critical to assess the current trajectory and future of the discipline: the State of the Field.

Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World will host a conference titled State of the Field 2019: The Ancient DNA Revolution in Archaeology on February 22-24, 2019. Our gathering builds on a tradition of “State of the Field” workshops hosted by the Joukowsky Institute to reflect upon trends in archaeological research. This year’s conference aims to address the many issues surrounding the development and uses of ancient DNA methods around the world and to promote discussion between archaeologists, anthropologists, and geneticists in order to examine new opportunities and challenges for ancient DNA research in archaeology.

To submit a proposal for a paper of approximately 20 minutes or a poster, please send an abstract of 350 words or less to [email protected] by October 15, 2018. We will offer travel awards to multiple attendees, and encourage submissions from early-career scholars.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Genetic and archaeological perspectives on gene-culture co-evolution (e.g., lactase persistence and dairying in Neolithic Europe, high altitude adaptation and the peopling of the Tibetan Plateau, etc.)
  • Using ancient DNA to understand migration, exchange, and cross-cultural connections
  • Ancient DNA from plants and animals
  • Unconventional sources of ancient DNA data (e.g., environmental DNA in soils for identifying flora and fauna that do not preserve in the zooarchaeological or archaeobotanical record, dental calculus as a source of aDNA data on the oral microbiome, etc.)
  • Defining and naming ancient populations
  • Ethical considerations in aDNA research and involving descendant communities

For questions about this Call for Papers, or about the conference, please see our conference website, www.brown.edu/go/sotf2019 or email [email protected].

Download Call for Papers