Cooperative Bodies: Bioarchaeology and Non-ranked Societies

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 84th Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, NM (2019)

This collection contains the abstracts of the papers presented in the session entitled "Cooperative Bodies: Bioarchaeology and Non-ranked Societies," at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Modern archaeologists and bioarchaeologists have increasingly integrated broad theoretical approaches to social aspects of human societies, addressing topics such as identity, post-mortem agency, colonization, community, and social complexity. Woven throughout these investigations have been themes concerning gender, class, and power to reexamine social inequalities built into hierarchical systems. However, as prior anthropological research has shown, not all societies are predicated on hierarchy (e.g., Albarracín-Jordán 2003; Becker 2017; Bondarenko 2005; Crumley 1987, 2005, 2007, 2012; Demarrais 2016; Juengst 2018; Kunen and Hughbanks 2003; Levy 2006; O’Reilly 2003; Von Goldammer et al. 2003). While not necessarily apart from linearly oriented or organized social structures, people negotiate their worlds through collaborative, cooperative, and heterarchical relationships, such as kinship networks, ritual ties, reciprocal trade relationships, household and community divisions of labor, among others.

This session will examine how humans cooperated to create and thrive in their worlds, and contribute new methods of inquiry to this important conversation, especially in our modern and sometimes divisive world. These data driven, theoretical papers use methods in mortuary archaeology and bioarchaeology and cover topics such as political alliances, gendered complementarity, landscape use, and queered archaeology, presenting global case studies of collaboration and cooperation in the past.