Barbara Mills

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 from a large area of the western Southwest. This ongoing project continues my interest in looking at the dynamics of social relations from a multiscalar perspective.


Selected Publications


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.

Mills, Barbara J. (2011) Themes and Models for Understanding Migration in the Southwest. In Movement, Connectivity, and Landscape Change in the Ancient Southwest, edited by Margaret C. Nelson and Colleen Strawhacker, pp. 345-359. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Mills, Barbara J., and T. J. Ferguson (2008) Animate Objects: Shell Trumpets and Ritual Networks in the Greater Southwest.  Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 15(4):338-361.

Mills, Barbara J. (2008) How the Pueblos Became Global: Colonial Appropriations, Resistance, and Diversity in the North American Southwest.  Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress. 4(2):218-232.

Mills, Barbara J. (2008) Remembering while Forgetting: Depositional Practice and Social Memory at Chaco.  In Memory Work: Archaeologies of Material Practices, edited by Barbara J. Mills and William H. Walker, pp. 81-108. SAR Press, Santa Fe. [Reprinted in Contemporary Archaeology in Theory: The New Pragmatism, edited by Robert Pruecel and Stephen A. Mrozowski, pp. 362-384. Willey-Blackwell, Oxford, 2010].

Mills, Barbara J., and William H. Walker (2008) Introduction: Memory, Materiality, and Depositional Practice. In Memory Work: Archaeologies of Material Practices, edited by Barbara J. Mills and William H. Walker pp. 3-23. SAR Press, Santa Fe. 

Mills, Barbara J. (2007) Performing the Feast: Visual Display and Suprahousehold Commensalism in the Puebloan Southwest. American Antiquity 72(2):210-239. 

Mills, Barbara J. (2004) The Establishment and Defeat of Hierarchy: Inalienable Possessions and the History of Collective Prestige Structures in the Puebloan Southwest. American Anthropologist 106(2):238-251. (winner of the Gordon Willey Award, Archeology Division, AAA).



Courses Taught

ANTH 160D "Patterns in Prehistory"

ANTH 333 "Introduction to Archaeological Analysis"

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

ANTH 496f/596f "Ceramic Analysis Seminar" 

ANTH 552R "Archaeology of the Southwest" 

ANTH 595A "Ethics and Professional Skills in Archaeology" (taught every other year in the Fall)

Also rotations of ANTH 636 "Introduction to Archaeological Interpretation" and ANTH 637 "Archaeological Methods"


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

Barbara Mills's picture

Contact Information

Professor of Anthropology, Curator of Archaeology (ASM), Professor (American Indian Studies)
Telephone: (520) 621-9671
Fax: (520) 621-2088
Office: Emil W. Haury Building, Room 408E
Office Hours: W 1-3 PM


BA University of Pennsylvania (1976), MA University of New Mexico (1983), PhD University of New Mexico (1989)

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