James Conolly

James Conolly
Trent University · Department of Anthropology

Professor

About

87
Publications
36,762
Reads
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3,204
Citations
Citations since 2016
30 Research Items
1957 Citations
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Introduction
My interests lie at the intersection of archaeology and geography, and I integrate methodological and theoretical approaches from both disciplines. My early academic work focused on the economic and geographic patterning of European Neolithic and Bronze Age societies. I worked for twenty years in the Mediterranean region, including the Catalhoyuk Project (1992 to 2002), the Kythera Island Project (1998 to 2003), and the Antikythera Survey Project (2005 to 2010). Since 2010, my geographic interests have shifted and I now conduct field and laboratory research mainly in the Great Lakes region. I am particularly interested in the use of the waterways between Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay by ancestral First Nations, early European missions and explorers, and the impacts of nineteenth-century European farming and mercantile colonialism on regional ecology. My ongoing SSHRC-funded project (Kawartha Lakes Project: 2016-2021) addresses the cultural and environmental history of the lakes, rivers and wetlands in the Kawartha Lakes area of Ontario to understand long-term changes in ecology, economy, settlement and land-use patterns. Our ongoing research involves applications of remote sensing and other geospatial methods of analysis, alongside the study of material culture (technology, design and function) and environmental data obtained from archaeological and geoarchaeological field research, both terrestrial and underwater.

Publications

Publications (87)
Article
Full-text available
The emergence of collective burial practices is of central interest to archaeologists interested in understanding the evolution of cooperative corporate group behaviour. We here provide an interim report of our documentation and analysis of one of the earliest known collective burials in south-central Ontario, located in a narrowly circumscribed (0...
Article
This paper examines patterning in bifacial tool manufacturing traditions associated with the Laurentian Archaic in Northeastern North America, which dates to between approximately 6500- 5000 cal BP. The three linked goals of the paper are,first, to define and characterize the within- and between-class variation of the three major Laurentian biface...
Article
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This paper presents an analysis of the faunal material obtained from the 1950s Royal Ontario Museum excavation of the shell midden at the Middle Woodland Serpent Mounds on Rice Lake, Ontario (BbGm-2). The zooarchaeological and taphonomic data presented here provide significant information for understanding subsistence activities at the site, as wel...
Article
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In this paper, we review the goals, methods, and results of our modelling of the shoreline history and archaeological survey of the inundated portions of a freshwater lake system within the Lake Ontario watershed of south-central Ontario, Canada. We first review the character of the regional archaeological record and highlight the likelihood that t...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Middle to Late Woodland transition in Southern Ontario (ca. AD 500 to AD 1000) is widely acknowledged as the time during which there were significant changes to settlement and subsistence systems, often characterized as a gradual shift from seasonally-mobile foraging-based communities to increasingly maize-focused horticulture and village socie...
Article
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This study uses a combination of isostatic rebound, hydrological flow, and sedimentation models to generate predictions about the postglacial evolution (from ca. 12.0 ka cal BP to the modern‐day) of the Kawartha Lakes region of central Ontario, Canada. Changes in shoreline and wetland configuration are mapped and quantified so as to inform understa...
Article
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A synthetic history of human land use Humans began to leave lasting impacts on Earth's surface starting 10,000 to 8000 years ago. Through a synthetic collaboration with archaeologists around the globe, Stephens et al. compiled a comprehensive picture of the trajectory of human land use worldwide during the Holocene (see the Perspective by Roberts)....
Article
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The focus of this paper is the Neolithic of northwest Europe, where a rapid growth in population between ~5950 and ~5550 cal yr BP is followed by a decline that lasted until ~4950 cal yr BP. The timing of the increase in population density correlates with the local appearance of farming and is attributed to the advantageous effects of agriculture....
Article
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Investigating diet breadth is critical for understanding how archaic Homo populations, including Neanderthals, competed for seasonally scarce resources. The current consensus in Western Europe is that ungulates formed the bulk of the human diet during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic, while small fast prey taxa were virtually ignored. Here, we pres...
Article
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Aim Archipelagos provide ideal natural systems for testing the effects of isolation and fragmentation of habitats on the genetic makeup of populations—an important consideration, given that many insular species are of conservation concern. Two theories predominate: Island Biogeography Theory (IBT) posits that proximity to the mainland drives the po...
Article
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We present detailed accounts of the archaeobotanical remains recovered from the excavations of the southern Levantine Pre-Pottery Neolithic A site of Dhra‘, including metric and morphological analysis of barley grains. Comparisons with other early Epi-Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites indicate that the Dhra‘ grains are larger than recorded wild spec...
Article
Extensive archaeological surveys are critical for understanding past human-landscape interaction, but they are frequently impeded by access difficulties, rugged terrain, or obscurant vegetation. These challenges can make extensive surveys prohibitively costly and time-consuming. Consequently, many archaeologists are interested in predictive techniq...
Article
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It has long been recognised that the proportions of Neolithic domestic animal species-cattle, pig and sheep/goat-vary from region to region, but it has hitherto been unclear how much this variability is related to cultural practices or to environmental constraints. This study uses hundreds of faunal assemblages from across Neolithic Europe to revea...
Article
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The timing and context of the first emergence of cemeteries is of broad interest to archaeologists who wish to understand and explain changes in social complexity in late hunter-gatherer societies. Eastern North America has a particularly informative archaeological record for generating insight into how and why relatively small scale communities tr...
Conference Paper
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In 2012, a settlement survey was conducted on the North Vaca Plateau in west-central Belize as part of the Social Archaeology Research Program (SARP). The survey was intended to test the predictions of a new archaeological potential assessment method called the Locally-Adaptive Model of Archaeological Potential (LAMAP). A LAMAP assessment was produ...
Article
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In this paper we estimate the degree to which the range and proportion of wild plant foods are under-represented in samples of charred botanical remains from archaeological sites. We systematically compare the differences between central European Neolithic archaeobotanical assemblages that have been preserved by charring compared to those preserved...
Article
It has been argued that the corporate kin-group was the main form of socioeconomic organization at the Turkish site of Çatalhöyük during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB). This hypothesis is linked to a claim of long-term repetitive patterning in the use of household space. Çatalhöyük's corporate kin-groups, it is suggested, would have been mainta...
Book
This volume tackles the fundamental and broad-scale questions concerning the spread of early animal herding from its origins in the Near East into Europe beginning in the mid-10th millennium BC. Original work by more than 30 leading international researchers synthesizes our current knowledge about the origins and spread of animal domestication. In...
Book
Mediterranean landscape ecology, island cultures and long-term human history have all emerged as major research agendas over the past half-century, engaging large swathes of the social and natural sciences. This book brings these traditions together in considering Antikythera, a tiny island perched on the edge of the Aegean and Ionian seas, over th...
Article
A new method for modelling archaeological resource potential is presented that avoids some of the mathematical violations and inconsistencies of previously-favoured techniques. The Minanha research area in west-central Belize and a database of other Maya centres from within Belize are used as a case study for demonstrating the utility of the propos...
Article
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The small Greek island of Antikythera has a long history of human exploitation, of which one of the most interesting episodes is represented by a fortified settlement on the north coast of the island that can be plausibly identified as a centre of Hellenistic piratical activity. Hellenistic ‘Aegila’ has left both impressive standing remains and a r...
Article
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Species distribution models are widely used by ecologists to estimate the relationship between environmental predictors and species presence and abundance records. In this paper, we use compiled faunal assemblage records from archaeological sites located across southwest Asia and southeast Europe to estimate and to compare the biogeography of ancie...
Article
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Terraces are ubiquitous, in some ways defining, features of Mediterranean environments, yet their longer-term history and relationship to human populations and food economies are not well understood. This paper discusses a complete system of terraces across the small island of Antikythera, Greece. We bring together the evidence from archaeology, et...
Article
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The Antikythera Survey Project was an interdisciplinary programme of fieldwork, artefact study and laboratory analysis that considered the long-term history and human ecology of the small Greek island of Antikythera. It was co-directed by Andrew Bevan (UCL) and James Conolly (Trent), in collaboration with Aris Tsaravopoulos (Greek Archaeological Se...
Article
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This paper considers how to make the most out of the rather imprecise chronological knowledge that we often have about the past. We focus here on the relative dating of artefacts during archaeological fieldwork, with particular emphasis on new ways to express and analyse chronological uncertainty. A probabilistic method for assigning artefacts to p...
Technical Report
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In the summer of 2012 a high-resolution site potential model (see Carleton et al. 2012 for details) was field tested in order to establish its accuracy for predicting the probability of encountering previously unknown sites. A statistically robust method was established to check the predictions of the model against field-based observations of site...
Article
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Recent intensive survey over the entire extent of the small island of Antikythera has recovered an episodic sequence of human activity spanning some 7,000 years, including a Roman pottery assemblage that documents a range of important patterns with respect to land use, demography and on-island consumption. This paper addresses the typological and f...
Article
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Terraces are important capital investments in a range of agricultural landscapes worldwide, typically enduring well beyond any single farming cycle and over many human generations. This paper begins by emphasising that, while human population growth may often be loosely linked to terrace construction efforts, the association is by no means a straig...
Article
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An intensive archaeological survey covering the entire extent of the island of Antikythera has recently revealed a sequence of prehistoric activity spanning the later Neolithic to Late Bronze Age, with cultural affiliations that variously link its prehistoric communities with their neighbours to the north, south and east. Here we present and discus...
Article
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The episodic periods of climate change between the end of the Pleistocene and the Early Holocene had significant effects on vegetation in the Levant. The three Late Epipalaeolithic phases at Tell Abu Hureyra (c. 13·1 kya cal. BP to 12·0 kya cal. BP) span the onset of the Younger Dryas when there was a reversion to cold and dry conditions from the p...
Article
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Antikythera is a small, relatively remote Mediterranean island, lying 35 km north-west of Crete, and its few contemporary inhabitants live mainly in the small village at the only port. However, an extensive network of terraces across the island bears witness to the past importance of farming on the island, although the intensity of use of these cul...
Article
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In this paper we consider a crucial issue for survey archaeology: how we identify and make sense of the heterogeneous and often inter-dependent behaviours and processes responsible for apparent archaeological patterns across the landscape. We apply two spatial statistical tools, kriging and geographically weighted regression, to develop a model tha...
Article
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We document and quantify a significant reduction in crop diversity in the early central European Neolithic using a large multi-site database of archaeobotantical remains we compiled from published Neolithic sites across southwest Asia and Europe. Two hypotheses are proposed to account for the observed changes: one which claims that the different en...
Article
Phylogenetic techniques are used to analyse the spread of Neolithic plant economies from the Near East to northwest Europe as a branching process from a founding ancestor. The analyses are based on a database of c. 7500 records of plant taxa from 250 sites dated to the early Neolithic of the region in which they occur, aggregated into a number of r...
Article
Testing the Hinterland marks the first of the presumably several volumes that will collectively present the definitive results of the Boeotia Project. This volume is concerned with material recovered from the intensive survey of a 5.2 km2 "hinterland" zone that borders the ancient city of Thespiai, the remains of which are under modern cultivation....
Article
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While many Mediterranean islands have been subjected to archaeological survey methods of one kind or another, until now few if any have been covered in both a comprehensive and intensive manner. In this article the authors describe a survey on the Greek island of Antikythera (the Antikythera Survey Project – ASP) and demonstrate how full investigat...
Article
In this major new volume, leading scholars demonstrate the importance of archaeobotanical evidence in the understanding of the spread of agriculture in southwest Asia and Europe. Whereas previous overviews have focused either on Europe or on southwest Asia, this volume considers the transition from a pan-regional perspective, thus making a signific...
Article
Full-text available
Book description: In this major new volume, leading scholars demonstrate the importance of archaeobotanical evidence in the understanding of the spread of agriculture in southwest Asia and Europe. Whereas previous overviews have focused either on Europe or on southwest Asia, this volume considers the transition from a pan-regional perspective, thus...
Article
Full-text available
This paper has emphasized the highly reflexive approach necessary for the correct identification and interpretation of the processes behind settlement patterns. In our opinion, the key challenges are: (i) to define a sample/study area and its levels of search intensity appropriately (correcting for or exploring “edge effects” statistically where ne...
Article
Book description: Geographical Information Systems has moved from the domain of the computer specialist into the wider archaeological community, providing it with an exciting new research method. This clearly written but rigorous book provides a comprehensive guide to that use. Topics covered include: the theoretical context and the basics of GIS;...
Article
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The spread of agriculture is here examined from the perspective of changes in the composition of archaeobotantical assemblages. We apply multivariate analysis to a large database of plant assemblages from early Neolithic sites across South-West Asia and Europe and show that there are coherent and meaningful changes in their composition over time, t...
Article
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A major topic of debate in Old World prehistory is the relative importance of population movement versus cultural diffusion in explaining the spread of agriculture into and across Europe following its inception in southwestern Asia. An important set of data that has surprisingly been largely absent from this debate is the preserved crops and associ...
Article
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GIS and quantitative analysis are used to explore a series of simple but important issues in GIS-led survey. we draw on information collected during intensive archaeological field survey of the island of Kythera, Greece, and consider four questions: the relationship between terracing and enclosed field systems; the effect of vegetation on archaeolo...
Article
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Book description: As a mark of their gratitude to Lorraine Copeland, who since the 1970s has placed most of her research activities and her publications under their auspices, the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée Jean Pouilloux have gathered together in one work contributions by colleagues and students who know her well, with whom she has wo...
Article
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Agriculture is widely recognized as a defining characteristic of the Neolithic period in Southwest Asia and Europe, but, despite many years of research, and the discovery of much new arch a eobotanical evidence, there have been few attempts to investigate its origins and spread in the region as a whole. Now, in a new project at the Institute of Arc...
Article
Analysis of knapped obsidian and flint artefacts from the early ceramic Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük has shown that there were several strategies used for the production of knapped-stone tools, and that there was a profound change in the character of lithic production occurring approximately during the middle of the occupation sequence. This paper...