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Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology - Jean-Luc Houle

Dr. Jean-Luc Houle

Dr. Jean-Luc Houle

Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Office:  FAC 312
Phone:  270 745-5910


Anth 130  Introduction to Archaeology

Anth 366  Archaeology of East Asia


I am an anthropological archaeologist whose research interests focus on the study of early complex societies with a particular emphasis on East Asia and the Eurasian steppe region. Particularly, my interests and methodological foci include: the origins and development of complex societies, landscape archaeology, regional settlement pattern studies, household archaeology, quantitative and spatial analysis, nomadic pastoralist socio-political organization, ethnoarchaeology, and ritual practices.

As senior co-PI of the Khanuy Valley Archaeology Project, I direct a multiscalar and multidisciplinary field research project in Mongolia, where I am studying the development of societal complexity among early mobile pastoralists of the Bronze and Iron Ages. This research comprises a specialized and complementary suite of analytical strategies that include regional survey and excavation of habitation sites, as well as the use of zooarchaeology, paleobotany and geoarchaeology (including new archaeometric methods). The project also includes a significant ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological component aimed at a better understanding of human-animal relationships and the relationship between humans and their environment. Every year I take student volunteers with me to conduct archaeological, ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological fieldwork in the amazing steppes of Mongolia, which continues today to be inhabited by horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who have maintained much of their traditional lifeways.


Houle, Jean-Luc. Under Contract. The Archaeological Heritage of Mongolia. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Springer.

Houle, Jean-Luc. 2011 (in press). Entry for ‘Archaeology of Mongolia’. The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Houle, Jean-Luc and Lee Broderick. 2011 (in press). Settlement Patterns and Domestic Economy of the Xiongnu in Khanuy Valley, Mongolia. In Ursula Brosseder and Bryan K. Miller (eds.). Xiongnu Archaeology: Multidisciplinary Perspectives of the First Steppe Empire of Inner Asia. Bonn Contributions to Asian Archaeology, vol.5. Bonn: Bonn University Press.

Houle, Jean-Luc. 2009. ‘Socially Integrative Facilities’ and the Emergence of Societal Complexity on the Mongolian Steppe. In Monuments, Metals and Mobility: Trajectories of Complexity in the Late Prehistory of the Eurasian Steppe, edited by Bryan K. Hanks, and K. M. Linduff. Cambridge University Press.

Houle, Jean-Luc. 2009. Investigating Mobility, Territoriality and Complexity in the Late Bronze Age: A Perspective from Monuments and Settlements. In Current Archaeological Research in Mongolia. Papers from the First International Conference on ‘Archaeological Research in Mongolia’, edited by J. Bemmann, H. Parzinger, E. Pohl, and D. Tseveendorj, Bonn Contributions on Asian Archaeology 4, Bonn, Germany.

Houle, Jean-Luc and Diimaajav Erdenebaatar. 2009. Taking Small Steppes: Conducting Graduate-Level Collaborative Research in Mongolia. The SAA Archaeological Record 8(2):22-24—Special Issue: International collaborative research in East and Southeast Asia.

Allard, Francis, D. Erdenebaatar, and J.-L. Houle. 2006. “Recent Archaeological Research in the Khanuy River Valley, Central Mongolia”. In Beyond the Steppe and the Sown: Proceedings of the 2002 University of Chicago Conference on Eurasian Archaeology, edited by David L. Peterson, Laura M. Popova and Adam T. Smith., Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14