Human Migration as Understood from a Long-Term Perspective

Human migration is much in the news. Often, the public debate is loud and divisive, striking at core issues of global economics, national politics, and social relations. While much of the debate is ill informed, there is a substantial amount of good research on the various issues related to migration. Almost all of this research is focused on contemporary migration, with very little use of historical data older than a few generations. Migration, however, has been central to human existence since the dawn of humanity. The social processes involved in migration can unfold over hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Understanding these processes is central to designing successful policies on migration. Archaeology is key to this understanding.

In 2019, CfAS, Society for American Archaeology, the European Association of Archaeologists, and the Amerind Foundation co-sponsored a CfAS design workshop on human migration as understood from a long-term perspective. The workshop brought together 15 participants from seven countries, with experience from six continents. The workshop led to the development of three proposed projects, which CfAS will move toward implementation in 2020. The workshop is detailed in a report presented in the CfAS Fall 2019 newsletter and produced a statement published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Altschul,  Jeffrey H., Keith W. Kintigh,  Mark Aldenderfer, Elise Alonzi, Ian Armit, Juan Antonio Barceló, Christopher S. Beekman, Penny Bickle, Douglas W. Bird, Scott E. Ingram, Elena Isayev, Andrew W. Kandel, Rachael Kiddey, Hélène Timpoko Kienon-Kaboré, Franco Niccolucci, Corey S. Ragsdale, Beth K. Scaffidi, and Scott G. Ortman2020        Opinion: To understand how migrations affect human securities, look to the past. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  First published August 5, 2020.  doi: 10.1073/pnas.2015146117

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