Kintigh, Keith

Kintigh, Keith
Arizona State University

Keith Kintigh's career-long commitment to understanding political organization in middle-range societies has focused on the Cíbola area along the Arizona-New Mexico border near Zuni Pueblo. This constitutes most of the independent field work he has undertaken (with graduate students) in his 21 years at ASU and continues to be a major focus of his independent research effort. In addition to extensive excavation, Kintigh and his team have surveyed on the order of 100km² and recorded more than 900 archaeological sites in the area. In years past, he also engaged in extended fieldwork in Morocco and Peru.

Kintigh's other major research focus has been on the development and application of quantitative methods in archaeology. Recent efforts are largely devoted to the topics of diversity and spatial analysis. Through this work he was invited to be a member, secretary and vice president of Commission 4 (Data Management and Mathematical Methods in Archaeology) of the Union Internationale des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques.

Over the last few years, Kintigh has devoted increasing amounts of time to three collaborative research teams. Kintigh is leading an effort toward the development of a digital information infrastructure for archaeology that would not only preserve and make more accessible archival data sets, but—through an ability to integrate data across projects—has the potential to transform the scholarly landscape for synthetic and comparative research.  

A second group is using resilience theory to understand stability and change in coupled socioecological systems through a synthesis of data from several prehistoric cases in the Southwest U.S. Zuni is a key case study in this effort, and the collaborative project will contribute importantly to progress on his Cíbola research.

A third effort is a joint archaeology and ecology field project on Perry Mesa, in Agua Fria National Monument just north of Phoenix. Its goal is to understand the social and ecological circumstances under which semi-arid ecosystem structure and function are permanently transformed in the course of relatively short-term, low-intensity human occupation.