Christian E. Peterson

Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa


postal address:

Anthropology Dept.

2424 Maile Way

Saunders 346, UH-Manoa

Honolulu, HI, 96822 USA

office: Dean Hall 204


I’m an anthropologically-trained archaeologist specializing in the comparative study of early complex societies. I identify and analyze patterned variation in trajectories of societal growth and decline so as to better understand the dynamics of social change. I’m especially interested in how different kinds and degrees of inequality contribute to these dynamics. Topics emphasized in my research include regional settlement distribution, community patterning, and demography; ritual landscapes; labor investment in public works; household artifact assemblage analysis and the identification of prestige, wealth, ritual, and productive differentiation within and between communities. I have a penchant for quantitative and spatial analytical methods (with a bent toward Exploratory Data Analysis [EDA] and the use of free and open-source software [FOSS]).

I co-direct multi-scalar archaeological fieldwork projects aimed at understanding the emergence and development of Middle Neolithic Hongshan period (4500-3000 BCE) societies in NE China’s Western Liao River Valley and of Early Iron Age (CE 700-950) communities in the Letaba-Olifants Confluence Area of South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

I’m also a husband, father, dog lover, inveterate cyclist, sci-fi aficionado, accomplished flintknapper, and would-be guitarist with blues, rock, jazz, and other roots-based musical influences.


Jul 9, 2023 website launched! 🎇: 🚀: 🎇
Jul 1, 2023 Conference paper: “First Millennium Villages and Early Trade in Northeastern South Africa”, by Xander Antonites, Annie R. Antonites, and Christian Peterson. Presented June 4, 2023 at the Society of Africanist Archaeologists’ (SAFA) 26th Biennial Conference at Rice University in Houston, TX.
May 11, 2023 New publication: Drennan, Robert D., C. Adam Berrey, and Christian E. Peterson, 2023. Desigualdad y poder desde hace más de 8,000 años en el Continente Americano y China: Una visión desde la antropología. In América Latina y el Caribe - China. Historia, Cultura y Aprendizaje del Chino 2022, Enrique Dussán (ed.), pp. 79–99. Union de Universidades de America Latina y el Caribe, Mexico City.