Rowan Flad

Rowan Flad

Harvard University, John E. Hudson Professor of Archaeology
2020 Grant Recipient

Chengdu Plain Archaeological Survey (2004-2011)

Rowan K. Flad is the John E. Hudson Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University.  He holds an A.B. from the University of Chicago and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. At Harvard he has served as the Archaeology Program Director, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Department Chair for the Department of Anthropology and the Chair of the Standing Committe on Archaeology, and is an affiliated faculty member of the Inner Asian and Altaic Studies Department. At Harvard, he organizes the Asian Archaeology Seminar, which coordinates activities across campus related to archaeology across Asia, with a focus on Archaeology in China and adjacent regions. He also serves on the academic board (and was a founding board member) of the Institute for Field Research and serves on the founding board of the Esherick-Ye Family Foundation. For the past five years he has served as the editor for Asian Perspectives, and he sits on the editorial boards of half a dozen other journals as well as serving as the editor for a book series for Routledge Press. He is the author of two books: Ancient Central China: An Archaeological Study of Centers and Peripheries Along the Yangzi River, and Salt Production and Social Hierarchy in Ancient China: An Archaeological Investigation of Specialization in China’s Three Gorges In addition, he has edited four volumes / special journal issues, and is the author of fifty articles in peer-reviewed journals, more than 30 book reviews an other publications, and has translated over two dozen scholarly articles from Chinese for publication in English. His research is  focused on the emergence and development of complex society during the late Neolithic period and the Bronze Age in China. This work incorporates interests in diachronic change in production processes and technology, the intersection between ritual activity and production, the role of animals in early Chinese society - particularly their use in sacrifice and divination, and the processes involved in social change in general. He has conducted excavations at a salt production site in the eastern Sichuan Basin, regional archaeological survey in the Chengdu region focusing on prehistoric settlement patterns and social evolution, and currently directs an international collaborative survey and excavation project in the Tao River Valley in Gansu that focuses on technological change in various domains and investigates the formation processes of community interaction involved in the development of the Proto-Silk Road. Current research and writing projects focus on several aspects of social complexity including: specialized production and technology, the anthropology of value, mortuary analysis, archaeological landscapes, interregional interaction, cultural transmission, and animal and plant domestication.

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