Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Brown, James A.
Location Northwestern University
Primary Field Anthropology
 Election Citation
Brown, a leader in North American archaeology, has documented Native American societies of the past 1,000 years and explained their transformation from small-scale horticulturalists to powerful chiefdoms with hereditary inequality. He has shown how they built monumental public works, created religious artifacts with elaborate iconography, and arose and collapsed.
 Research Interests
From various material remains recovered archaeologically Brown studies the social processes that created evolutionary change in low-density part-time agriculturalists of the eastern United States. Examples include the rise of population aggregation centers with massive earthworks at different times and places. Specifically, Mound City (OH), Cahokia (IL) and Spiro (OK) have been the subject of detailed analyses to reveal the ritual practices, including the treatment of the dead, that index the social and political factors that made these locations of particular importance at specific times. Current interest has been engaged in the identification of specific social processes that continue through long periods of time and leave their imprint on such topics as settlement aggregation, food production, institution building, craft production, and image production.

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