Peter N. Peregrine

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Peter Neal Peregrine
Peter Neal Peregrine.jpg
Born November 1963 (age 55)
Residence United States
Citizenship American
Fields Anthropology, archaeology
Institutions Lawrence University, Wisconsin USA; Santa Fe Institute
Alma mater Purdue University (PhD 1990)
Academic advisors Richard Blanton
Known for North American archaeology
quantitative analysis of cultural evolution
cross-cultural research
scientific anthropology
Notable awards Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Peter N. Peregrine (born 1963) is an American anthropologist, registered professional archaeologist,[1] and academic.[2] He is well known for his staunch defense of science in anthropology,[3][4] and for his popular textbook Anthropology (with Carol R. Ember and Melvin Ember).[5] Peregrine did dissertation research on the evolution of the Mississippian culture of North America, and then did fieldwork on Bronze Age cities in Syria. He is currently Professor of Anthropology at Lawrence University and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

Peregrine developed a comprehensive data set and methodology for conducting diachronic cross-cultural research. This work has produced the Atlas of Cultural Evolution[6] and the Encyclopedia of Prehistory (with Melvin Ember),[7] and also forms the basis for the Human Relations Area Files eHRAF Archaeology.[8] Peregrine has published extensively on the Mississippian culture and on archaeological method and theory.[9][10]

Peregrine serves on the editorial boards of American Anthropologist, Cross-Cultural Research, and is past-president of the Society for Anthropological Sciences. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[11]

Contributions to North American archaeology

Peregrine argued that Mississippian cultures should be seen as participants in a large system that integrated much of eastern North America in a single political economy. He initially employed world-systems theory to do this, arguing that large centers were cores of political and economic authority which were supported by peripheral regions though the exchange of objects used in rituals of social reproduction such as initiation and marriage.[12] The Mississippian cores themselves competitively manufactured and traded these objects, linking them into what Peregrine called a prestige-goods system. Polities vied for power over exchange, and rose and fell as their ability to control prestige-goods strengthened or waned. The response to Peregrine’s view was mixed, with some calling it “exaggerationalist” and others adopting it into their own work.[13]

In the mid-1990s Peregrine and colleagues Richard Blanton, Gary M. Feinman, and Steven Kowalewski developed “dual-processual” theory, which Peregrine applied to Mississippian polities. Dual-processual theory posits that political leaders adopt strategies for implementing power ranging along a continuum from being highly exclusionary to highly inclusive. Exclusionary (or network) strategies are like those Peregrine argued were in place among Mississippian polities. Peregrine argued that inclusive (or corporate) ones were in place among some Ancestral Puebloan polities. While not without controversy, dual processual theory has come to be seen as a valuable tool for understanding both Mississippian and Ancestral Puebloan polities.[14]

More recently Peregrine and colleague Steven Lekson have argued that the Mississippian and Ancestral Puebloan worlds should be viewed as linked together, along with Early Postclassic Mesoamerica, in a continent-wide “oikoumene”.[15] They argue that only such a continental perspective can allow archaeologists to understand broad processes of coordinated change such as the emergence of urban-like communities in many parts of North America around 900 CE. Again, though not without controversy, Peregrine’s drive to promote a multi-regional perspective has been seen as useful for addressing some questions in North American archaeology.[16]

Contributions to cross-cultural studies

In addition to archaeology Peregrine has also made a number of contributions to cross-cultural studies. The focus of his work has been on developing archaeological correlates for various types of behavior, including warfare, postmarital residence, and social stratification.[17] Peregrine also developed a sampling universe for conducting diachronic cross-cultural research using archaeological cases. The Outline of Archaeological Traditions, as this sampling universe is called, formed the basis of the Encyclopedia of Prehistory and the Human Relations Area Files Collection of Archaeology.[18]

Personal life

Peregrine played John Muir's father Daniel Muir in the Emmy Award winning film John Muir in the New World (American Masters, PBS, 2011).[19]

Peregrine lives in Appleton, Wisconsin with his wife and two daughters.[2]


  1. "Register of Professional Archaeologists".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Who's Who in America (63 ed.). Berkeley Heights, NJ: Marquis Who’s Who. 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. David Glenn (Nov 30, 2010). "Anthropologists Debate Whether 'Science' Is a Part of Their Mission". Chronicle of Higher Education.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Nicholas Wade (December 9, 2010). "Anthropology a Science? Statement Deepens a Rift". =New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Carol R. Ember; Melvin Ember; Peter N. Peregrine (2010). Anthropology (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Peter N. Peregrine, Atlas of Cultural Evolution, World Cultures 14(1), 2003
  7. Ember, Melvin; Peregrine, Peter Neal, eds. (2001–2002). Encyclopedia of Prehistory. 9 Volumes. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "eHRAF Archaeology". Human Relations Area Files.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "WorldCat Identities:Peregrine, Peter N. (Peter Neal) 1963-". OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. SSCI average 17 citations per year (
  11. Science 23 December 2011:Vol. 334 no. 6063 pp. 1659-1663
  12. Peter N. Peregrine (1992). Mississippian Evolution: A World-Systems Perspective. Madison: Prehistory Press. ISBN 978-1881094005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. King, Adam (2002). Etowah: The Political History of a Chiefdom Capitol. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 978-0817312244.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Butler, Brian; Welch, Paul (2006). Leadership and Polity in Mississippian Societies. Carbondale: Center for Archaeological Investigations. ISBN 0-88104-090-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Peter N. Peregrine; Steven Lekson (2012). "The North American Oikoumene". In Timothy Pauketat. Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 64–72. ISBN 978-0195380118.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Pauketat, Timothy R. (2012). "Questioning the Past in North America". In Timothy Pauketat. Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 3–17. ISBN 978-0195380118.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. see, e.g., Melvin Ember et al. "Cross-cultural research as a Rosetta Stone for finding the original homelands of language groups," Cross-Cultural Research Volume 40, Number 1, pages 18-28, 2006.
  19. "John Muir in the New World" (PDF). Lawrence University.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>