Peter N. Peregrine

Peter N. Peregrine
Lawrence University · Anthropology

PhD, RPA

About

180
Publications
66,155
Reads
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2,505
Citations
Citations since 2017
50 Research Items
1338 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200
Introduction
Additional affiliations
June 2012 - June 2018
Santa Fe Institute
Position
  • External Faculty
June 1996 - present
Human Relations Area Files
Position
  • Research Associate
September 1995 - present
Lawrence University
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (180)
Article
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Archaeology is a source of essential data regarding the fundamental nature of human societies. Researchers across the behavioral and social sciences use archeological data in framing foundational arguments. Archaeological evidence frequently undergirds debate on contemporary issues. We propose here to answer “What are archaeology’s most important s...
Chapter
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Tell Mardikh lies on an arid plain to the east of Hamas, Syria. It is not an unlikely place for an ancient city, nor is it a particularly obvious one. It is surrounded by tillable land, and is adjacent to the Orontes River valley. It is not a particularly impressive site. It has massive walls, the ruins of which can be seen for several miles, but t...
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We test for universal patterns in cultural evolution by Guttman scaling on two different worldwide samples of archaeological traditions and on well-known archaeological sequences. The evidence is generally consistent with universal evolutionary sequences. We also present evidence for some punctuated evolutionary events.
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During the Holocene, the scale and complexity of human societies increased markedly. Generations of scholars have proposed different theories explaining this expansion, which range from broadly functionalist explanations, focusing on the provision of public goods, to conflict theories, emphasizing the role of class struggle or warfare. To quantitat...
Preprint
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During the Holocene the scale and complexity of human societies increased dramatically. Generations of scholars have proposed different theories explaining this expansion, which range from functionalist explanations, focusing on the provision of public goods, to conflict theories, emphasizing the role of class struggle or warfare. To quantitatively...
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The threat of nuclear winter from a regional nuclear war is an existential hazard that must be actively addressed by policy makers to ensure the shared future of humanity. Here a cross-cultural analysis of 20 societies that experienced the Late Antique Little Ice Age (ca. 536–556CE) is performed in the hope of providing security policy makers with...
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The Late Antique Little Ice Age, spanning the period from 536 CE to roughly 560 CE, saw temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere drop by a degree C in less than a decade. This rapid cooling is thought to have caused widespread famine, epidemic disease, and social disruption. The relationship between cooling and social disruption is examined here usi...
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In a recent Weather, Climate and Society article two hypotheses about social resilience to disaster were tested. One was that societies allowing greater political participation and access to decision-making were more resilient to catastrophic climate-related disasters; the second was that societies with stronger social norms were more resilient. Su...
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The causes, consequences, and timing of the rise of moralizing religions in world history have been the focus of intense debate. Progress has been limited by the availability of quantitative data to test competing theories, by divergent ideas regarding both predictor and outcomes variables, and by differences of opinion over methodology. To address...
Preprint
Seshat: Global History Databank, established in 2011, was initiated by an ever-growing team of social scientists and humanities scholars to test theories about the evolution of complex societies (Francois et al. 2016; Turchin et al. 2015). Seshat reflects both what is known about global history (within certain practical constraints, discussed below...
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This article introduces the Seshat: Global History Databank, its potential, and its methodology. Seshat is a databank containing vast amounts of quantitative data buttressed by qualitative nuance for a large sample of historical and archaeological polities. The sample is global in scope and covers the period from the Neolithic Revolution to the Ind...
Preprint
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Over the past 10,000 years, human societies evolved from “simple”—small egalitarian groups, integrated by face-to-face interactions—to “complex”— societies of millions, characterized by great differentials in wealth, status, and power, extensive division of labor, and elaborate governance structures. At the heart of this transformation was the rise...
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Current literature on disaster response argues that societies providing greater local participation in decision-making and that have more community coordination and governance organizations are more resilient to climate-related disasters. In contrast, recent research in psychology has argued that societies with tighter social norms and greater enfo...
Article
Franz Boas was an American anthropologist who is considered to be one of the founders of American anthropology. He is best known for his commitment to a “holistic” practice of anthropology, combining linguistics, archaeology, physical anthropology, and ethnography in a complete biocultural and historical understanding of a given culture. He opposed...
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"We thank Tosh et al. for their interest in our research but note that their analyses do not undermine the main findings of our article."
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Four hypotheses concerning the relationship between climaterelated disasters and conflict are tested using archaeological data in a controlled cross-cultural comparison. The four hypotheses are (1) Conflict increases following climate-related disasters because local economic conditions deprive polities of tax revenue so that they can no longer supp...
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New advances in computer science address problems historical scientists face in gathering and evaluating the now vast data sources available through the Internet. As an example we introduce Dacura, a dataset curation platform designed to assist historical researchers in harvesting, evaluating, and curating high-quality information sets from the Int...
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Significance Do human societies from around the world exhibit similarities in the way that they are structured and show commonalities in the ways that they have evolved? To address these long-standing questions, we constructed a database of historical and archaeological information from 30 regions around the world over the last 10,000 years. Our an...
Article
Do human societies from around the world exhibit similarities in the way that they are structured and show commonalities in the ways that they have evolved? To address these long-standing questions, we constructed a database of historical and archaeological information from 30 regions around the world over the last 10,000 years. Our analyses reveal...
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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the political participation in pre-Columbian societies to determine empirically if greater local participation in political decision-making provides greater resilience to natural disasters. Design/methodology/approach: A cross-cultural analysis of 21 archeologically known societies bracketing the per...
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The founding members of the Cultural Evolution Society were surveyed to identify the major scientific questions and 'grand challenges' currently facing the study of cultural evolution. We present the results and discuss the implications for an emergent synthesis in the study of culture based on Darwinian principles.
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The vast amount of knowledge about past human societies has not been systematically organized and, therefore, remains inaccessible for empirically testing theories about cultural evolution and historical dynamics. For example, what evolutionary mechanisms were involved in the transition from the small-scale, uncentralized societies, in which humans...
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This article represents a systematic effort to answer the question, What are archaeology’s most important scientific challenges? Starting with a crowd-sourced query directed broadly to the professional community of archaeologists, the authors augmented, prioritized, and refined the responses during a two-day workshop focused specifically on this qu...
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The title of this article employs the term oikoumene, meaning the inhabited or known world. Among European archaeologists, it has long been assumed that, by at least the Bronze Age, local populations were in regular contact with one another, forming an oikoumene within which processes or events in one region might have an impact on processes or eve...
Chapter
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Archaeology is inherently comparative. Comparison is necessary to understand the material record, for one cannot identify or understand an object never before seen without comparing it to a known object. Comparison is also necessary to understand variation over time and space, for one cannot identify or investigate variation unless one has examples...
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As archaeologists, we seek to understand variation and change in past human societies. This goal necessitates a comparative approach, and comparisons justify the broad cross-cultural and diachronic scope of our work. Without comparisons we sink into the culture-bound theorizing against which anthropology and archaeology have long sought to broaden...
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This article provides an introduction to the four articles that comprise this special issue of Cross-Cultural Research.
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This article introduces the special issue and provides a brief overview of Melvin Ember’s life and work.
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The author hypothesizes that games of strategy will be more prevalent in societies where political power is based on a “network strategy.” In such societies, political leaders manipulate social relations and symbols to aggrandize themselves. The author hypothesizes that such activities will promote the importance of obedience, and will foster the e...
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In 1961, John L. Fischer employed a cross-cultural analysis to demonstrate that art styles correlated with social hierarchy and postmarital residence patterns. He suggested that with further work, these correlations might be developed into useful predictors of variation in social hierarchy and postmarital residence in archaeologically known societi...
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The emergence of states has been a focal concern of archaeology for many years. Although comparative methods have played a significant role in these approaches, controlled comparisons employing large samples of cases and multivariate statistical methods of analysis have been rare. The authors follow up on a previous article by employing multivariat...
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Archaeology has tremendous potential for developing world-systems approaches to non-Western and noncapitalist societies because it has the ability to both explore non-Western and noncapitalist societies with the sophistication of anthropology and to explore societies in existence long before the capitalist world-system began to evolve. I suggest th...
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This programmatic article describes how the two types of cross-cultural research (comparative ethnography and comparative archaeology) can provide a Rosetta stone to help us discover the original homelands of protolanguage groups. Here, the focus is on Proto-Afroasiatic and Proto-Indo-European. If words reconstructed by historical linguists for a p...
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Christopher Chase-Dunn and colleagues have demonstrated cycles of synchronous growth and decline in cities in East Asia and in the Mediterranean. They argue that synchrony is rooted in systems of economic and political interdependence, cutting across broad regions of the world for long periods of history. Using a new strategy for cross-cultural res...
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The authors used data coded on all 289 cases in the Outline of Ar-chaeological Traditions, a sampling universe developed by the Hu-man Relations Area Files for comparative archaeological research, to predict future values of political integration. The authors found that political integration has increased during the past 12,000 years following a qu...
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The relationship between the Great Plains and the Hollywood Western has always been a strange one. The "classic" era of the Hollywood Western, the period between roughly 1864 and 1887, is also the "classic" era of the Great Plains-the era of the pioneer, the gunslinger, the cattleman, and, of course, the Indian fighter. Oddly, the Great Plains are...
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Cross-cultural approaches have been used widely in archaeological research. Comparative ethnology has provided a number of archaeological indicators of behavior, but large segments of the archaeological record have not yet been subjected to extensive comparative analysis. Comparative archaeology has aided in exploring variation among societal types...
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Rushton argues that much variation in human behavior is explained by membership in one of only three genetic groups or ''races'' (''Negroids,'' ''Caucasoids,'' and ''Mongoloids''). Using previously coded data on the 186 society Standard Cross-Cultural Sample, we find no statistical support for the predicted associations between ''race'' and behavio...
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The Atlas of Cultural Evolution provides basic data on the evolution of cultural complexity using the Outline of Archaeological Traditions sample. The Outline of Archaeological Traditions constitutes a sampling universe from which cases can be drawn for diachronic cross-cultural research, an activity I refer to as archaeoethnology. Data for the Atl...
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Schillaci and Stojanowski employ an improper coding procedure in their reanalysis of Peregrine's (2001) finding that Chacoan societies practiced matrilocal residence, making their conclusions erroneous. Their finding that at least some apparent Chacoan descendants practice bilocal residence does not force a reassessment of matrilocality in the Chac...
Chapter
Climatic conditions in the Early Dynastic tradition were similar to those today. Winters were mild, while summers were hot and dry. Mean annual temperature was between 20 and 25° C, and mean annual rainfall is only about 200 mm.
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The main area of Iranian Iron Age development is located in what is known today as the Khuzistan, Luristan, Fars, and southern Kurdistan regions of Iran. These areas are dominated by the Zagros mountains and the river valleys that carry runoff and alluvium from their slopes. In the south of the region, Khuzistan is an arid plain dependent on the hi...
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Temperatures in southern Mesopotamia vary from highs well below 20° C in winter to over 40° C in summer. Rainfall also varies tremendously and is not sufficient for agriculture in most parts of the region. Agriculture is dependent on irrigation from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which are fed by snowmelt from the mountains of Turkey. The Tigris...
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The Arabian peninsula was arid throughout the Holocene. However, moderate grasslands were apparently present around lakes that formed in basins adjacent to stabilized dunes. In the middle Holocene, a period of higher precipitation led to an expansion of these grasslands and a consequent increase in both plant and animal populations. At this time, h...
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The Arabian peninsula has been arid throughout the Holocene. However, in the middle Holocene a period of higher precipitation led to an expansion of grasslands and a consequent increase in both plant and animal populations. It was at this time that human groups began penetrating the Arabian peninsula and exploiting the ocean and coastal resources t...
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The interior of the Arabian peninsula was, as it is today, hyperarid. Despite its aridity, the area supported a variety of scattered plant covers and grasses. Small lakes created by runoff from stabilized dunes provided regular sources of water for animals and humans. A great diversity of arid-adapted animal species was present, including oryx, gaz...
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The Upper Paleolithic climate in Southern Asia ranged, in general, from Mediterranean to arid and relatively hot. Periodic cycles of dry and humid conditions are suggested by some climatic studies in the region. Forests covered much of the area in the early Holocene, being replaced by grasslands later in the tradition.
Book
The Encyclopedia of Prehistory represents temporal dimension. Major traditions are an attempt to provide basic information also defined by a somewhat different set of on all archaeologically known cultures, sociocultural characteristics than are eth­ covering the entire globe and the entire nological cultures. Major traditions are prehistory ofhuma...
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Cross-cultural comparative approaches have been used widely in archaeological research, yet to date none seem to have achieved their full potential. Synchronic cross-cultural comparisons have provided a number of material correlates of behavior, as well as a few causal and noncausal associations that allow behavior to be inferred from material rema...
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Kinship is central to an understanding of sociopolitical organization and the organization of production in Chaco Canyon. Between A.D. 700 and 900, lifeways in the Chacoan world underwent a transformation that reflects the evolution of matrilocal residence. Matrilocal groups became the foundation of a polity based on a corporate political strategy....
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relative time period: Follows the Lowland Mesoame-rican Archaic tradition and precedes the Classic Maya tradition.
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relative time period: Follows the Early Mesoamerican Archaic tradition and precedes the Early Highland Mesoamerican Preclassic tradition.
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Relative Time Period: Follows the Late Paleolndian tradition, precedes the Late Sierra Nevada tradition.
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Relative Time Period: Follows the Early Eastern Woodland tradition and overlaps with the Adena tradition, precedes the Late Eastern Woodland traditions.

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
This project will use archaeological and historical information to examine societal resilience to a catastrophic atmospheric event caused by two volcanic eruptions, one in AD 536, the other in AD 540. The combination created the greatest concentration of atmospheric dust in recorded history, effectively blocking the sun across much of the Northern Hemisphere for up to 18 months. Temperatures cooled by roughly 1 degree centigrade, creating widespread social disruption. The project uses this event as a proxy for the expected atmospheric impact of a limited nuclear war in Europe and seeks to identify strategies of resilience by examining those societies that survived, and failed to survive, the A.D. 536 event.
Archived project
This interdisciplinary project tests the general idea that societies in more hazard-prone environments will have generally arrived at a suite of cultural practices that are generally adaptive for those environments. Specifically, the project looks at the relationships between political strategies, social norms, subsistence strategies, and cultural adaptations in hazard-prone environments. The project attempts to integrate ethnography, archaeology, psychology, and climatology. This project is funded by National Science Foundation award #SMA-1416651. See http://hrafarc.org/bin/hrafARC+Research+%2D+Chacult for publications and presentations.