Barbara Mills

Regents' Professor of Anthropology

Curator of Archaeology, Arizona State Museum

Professor, American Indian Studies

Barbara Mills Outdoor Headshot

About Barbara Mills

I am an anthropological archaeologist with broad interests in archaeological method and theory, especially (but not exclusively) as applied to the North American Southwest.  My work has focused on ceramic analysis as a tool for understanding production, distribution, and consumption but more broadly is my interest in material culture to understand social relations in the past. My research on ceramic technology, craft specialization, and accumulations research led to a series of papers and edited volumes on social inequality, identity, feasting, and migration.  These interests were fostered by more than a decade of work in the Silver Creek area of east-central Arizona, including a multi-year collaborative project with the White Mountain Apache Tribe.  I also have field and research experience in a number of other areas of the Southwest including Zuni, Chaco, Mimbres, Grasshopper, and most recently the Greater Hohokam area.  Outside the U.S. I have research experience in Guatemala (Postclassic Maya), Kazakhstan (Bronze Age), and Turkey (Neolithic).  Besides ceramics I am interested in depositional practice, and how that can be used to understand memory, materiality, and relational logics.  Currently I am a PI on the Southwest Social Networks Project, which brings together data and a talented group of scholars to apply social network analysis (SNA) to archaeological data to the Southwest. This ongoing project continues my interest in looking at the dynamics of social relations from a multiscalar perspective.


Selected Publications


Mills, Barbara J., and Matthew A. Peeples (2019) Reframing Diffusion through Social Network Theory. In Interaction and Connectivity in the Greater Southwest, edited by Karen G. Harry and Barbara Roth, pp. 40-62. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Clark, Jeffery J., Jennifer A. Birch, Michelle Hegmon, Barbara J. Mills, Donna M. Glowacki, Scott G. Ortman, Jeffrey S. Dean, Rory Gauthier, Patrick D. Lyons, Matthew A. Peeples, Lewis Borck, John A. Ware (2019) Resolving the Migrant Paradox: Two Pathways to Coalescence in the Late Precontact U.S. Southwest. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 53:262-287.

Mills, Barbara J. (2018) Intermarriage, Technological Diffusion, and Boundary Objects in the U.S. Southwest. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 25(4):1051-1086.

Mills, Barbara J., Matthew A. Peeples, Leslie Aragon, Benjamin Bellorado, Jeffery Clark, Evan Giomi, and Thomas C. Windes (2018) Evaluating Chaco Migration Scenarios Through Dynamic Social Network Analysis. Antiquity 92(364):922-939.

Mills, Barbara J., and Severin Fowles (editors) (2017) The Oxford Handbook of Southwest Archaeology. Oxford University Press, NY.

Mills, Barbara J. (2017) Social Network Analysis in Archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology 46:379-397.

Mills, Barbara J. (2016) Communities of Consumption: Cuisines as Networks of Situated Practice. In Knowledge in Motion, Constellations of Learning Across Time and Place, edited by Andrew P. Roddick and Ann B. Stahl, pp. 248-270. Amerind Studies in Anthropology (SAA-Amerind Series), University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Mills, Barbara J., Jeffery J. Clark, and Matthew A. Peeples (2016) Migration, Skill, and the Transformation of Social Networks in the Prehispanic Southwest. Economic Anthropology 3(2):203-215.

Pailes, M. C., D. J. Killick, Barbara J. Mills, and T. J. Ferguson (2016) Diabase Temper as a Marker for Laguna Ceramics. Kiva 80(3-4):281-303.

Peeples, Matthew, Barbara J. Mills, W. Randall Haas, Jr., Jeffery J. Clark, and John M. Roberts, Jr. (2016) Analytical Issues in the Application of Newtwork Analyses to Archaeology. In The Connected Past: Challenging Networks in Archaeology and History, edited by Tom Brughmans, Fiona Coward, and Ana Collar, pp. 59-84. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Mills, Barbara J., Lewis Borck, Jeffery J. Clark, Wm. Randall Haas, Jr., Matthew Peeples, and John M. Roberts, Jr. (2015) Multiscalar Perspectives on Social Networks in the Prehispanic Southwest. American Antiquity 80(1):3-24.

Borck, Lewis, Barbara J. Mills, Matthew A. Peeples, and Jeffery J. Clark (2015) Are Social Networks Survival Networks? An Example from the Late Prehispanic U.S. Southwest. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 22(1):33-57. (Special Issue on “The Connected Past: Critical and Innovative Approaches to Networks in Archaeology”).

Collar, Anna, Fiona Coward, Tom Brughmans, and Barbara J. Mills (2015) Networks in Archaeology: Phenomena, Abstraction, Representation. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 22(1):1-32. (Special Issue on “The Connected Past: Critical and Innovative Approaches to Networks in Archaeology”).

Mills, Barbara J. (2015) Unpacking the House: Ritual Practice and Social Networks at Chaco. In Current Research on Chaco, A.D. 850-1150, edited by Carrie Heitman and Stephen Plog. Amerind Seminar Series of University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Mills, Barbara J. (2014) Relational Networks and Religious Sodalities at Çatalhöyük.  In Vital Matters: Religion at Çatalhöyük, edited by Ian Hodder, pp. 159-186. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Mills, Barbara J. (2014) Land, Labor, Bodies, and Objects: Comments on Inalienability and Mesoamerican Social Life. In The Inalienable in the Archaeology of Mesoamerica, edited by Brigitte Kovacevich and Michael Callahan, pp. 142-149. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, D.C.

Mills, Barbara J. Mills, Jeffery J. Clark, Matthew Peeples, Wm. R. Haas Jr., John M. Roberts Jr., Brett Hill, Deborah L. Huntley, Lewis Borck, Ronald L. Breiger, Aaron Clauset, and M. Steven Shackley (2013) The Transformation of Social Networks in the Late Prehispanic U.S. Southwest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(15):5785-5790.

Mills, Barbara J., John M. Roberts, Jr., Jeffery C. Clark, Wm. Randall Haas, Jr., Deborah L. Huntley, Matthew Peeples, Meaghan Trowbridge, Lewis Borck, and Ronald L. Breiger (2013) Late Prehispanic Social Dynamics in the Southwest U.S., A.D. 1200-1500. In Regional Network Analysis in Archaeology, edited by Carl Knappett, pp. 181-202. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Murray, Wendi Field, and Barbara J. Mills (2013) Identity Communities and Memory Practices: Logics of Material Deposition in the U.S. Southwest. In Relational Archaeologies, edited by Christopher Watts.  Routledge, London.




Courses Taught

ANTH 160D "Patterns in Prehistory"

ANTH 333 "Introduction to Archaeological Analysis"

ANTH 346 "From Clovis to Coronado: Archaeology of the Southwest" 

ANTH 495A "Archaeologies of Identity"

ANTH 496f/596f "Ceramic Analysis Seminar" 

ANTH 552R "Archaeology of the Southwest" 

Also rotations of ANTH 636 "Introduction to Archaeological Interpretation," ANTH 637 "Archaeological Methods," and ANTH 595A "Ethics and Professional Skills in Archaeology" 


Areas of Study

Geographic Area of Interest:
Southwest US

Research Interests

Ceramic analysis, archaeologies of inequality, migration, colonialism, memory and materiality, heritage preservation, Southwest archaeology, social network analysis in archaeology