Composite photo showing cyclists at tree-lined New York City intersection and the archaeological remains of an ancient building in Tunisia.

Juxtaposing modern (NYC) and ancient (Utica, Tunisia) neighborhood life (J. Andrew Dufton)

The Archaeology of Neighborhood Life: Concepts, Communities, and Change

Conference organized by J. Andrew Dufton (ISAW) and Katherine Harrington (Florida State University)

The neighborhood offers rich ground to explore the social life of the ancient city—an intermediate unit of study, smaller than issues of top-down urban planning or state action but larger than the intimate details of the household. Yet despite this potential, the archaeology and history of neighborhoods remains underappreciated. This conference takes full advantage of a growing number of scholars interested in the communal and cultural aspects of city districts. Thematic topics include the conceptual and methodological implications of the neighborhood, its role in community formation, and its relevance in understanding long-term urban developments. Conference speakers, drawn from diverse departments with research in disparate regions and periods, all share a commitment to understanding and comparing neighborhoods. Their work relies not solely on quantification but on social foundations, not only on big data but also on close, comprehensive readings of the dynamic sphere of daily interaction among city residents. The interdisciplinary exchange and dialogue created by this event will set an exciting new research agenda for future studies on the archaeology of neighborhood life.

Session 1 — Concepts

9:00am – Welcome

9:15am – “Between Rich and Poor in the Roman City: Delineating the Socio-economic Texture of a Pompeian Sub-elite Neighbourhood”
Steven Ellis, University of Cincinnati

9:45am – “Ancient Neighbors: Reconstructing Social Relationships in Pre-Columbian Residential Communities”
David Pacifico, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

10:15am – Coffee Break

10:45am – “Engaging the State, Past and Present: A Neighborhood Perspective from Copán, Honduras”
Kristin Landau, Alma College

11:15am – “Imagining the Black Neighborhood: Race, Materiality, and 20th-Century African-American Space”
Paul R. Mullins, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

11:45am – Discussion

12:15pm – Lunch Break

Session 2 – Communities

1:15pm – “Craft, Community, and Ritual Practice in Classical Greek Industrial Neighborhoods”
Katherine Harrington, Florida State University

1:45pm – “Bioarchaeological Contributions to the Study of Community at the Late Shang Site of Yinxu”
Daniela Wolin, ISAW

2:15pm – “Communities and Neighborhoods at Harappa and in the Indus Valley”
Mary A. Davis, University of Wisconsin–Madison

2:45pm – Discussion

3:15pm – Coffee Break

Session 3 – Change

3:45pm – “Neighborhood (Re)Formation in Early Medieval Rome”
Margaret M. Andrews, University of Chicago

4:15pm – “Modelling Processes of Neighborhood Change in Urban Babylonia”
Heather D. Baker, University of Toronto

4:45pm – “Processing Processes: A Longue Durée Look at the Neighborhoods of Ancient North Africa”
J. Andrew Dufton, ISAW

5:15pm – Discussion

Registration is required at

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