Alex W. Barker

Research Areas

My research focuses on three main topics: 1) the economies of prestate hierarchical societies, and in particular the articulation of household and political economies in such societies; 2) the role of both household and political economies in the rise of social inequality; and 3) the role of symbols and iconography in leveraging and legitimating social inequalities.

These are, of course, closely related and intertwined topics, and they are less a series of discrete topics than themes that inform my research and influence my thinking. Most of my research is in the temperate latitudes of the North American mid-continent and east-central Europe, and examines various permutations of these three research themes.

Two other research topics worthy of mention are an interest in the historical and literary dimensions of the Moundbuilder Myth, the idea that the mounds of ancient North America were built by one or another lost peoples or civilizations, and in the complex and contentious topic of cultural property and museum title. Iím working on books on both topics.

gorget-Southeastern Ceremonial Complex
Southeastern Ceremonial Complex
Obsidian tools - Ancient Trade
Ancient Trade
Prehistoric Economics
Prehistoric Economics
Moundbuilder Myth
Moundbuilder Myth