Department of Anthropology

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David L. Peterson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Ph.D., University of Chicago (2007)

David Peterson has affiliations with the Center for Archaeology, Materials and Applied Spectroscopy (CAMAS), and the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Elemental and Isotopic Analysis (ILEIA).

Research Interests

Early complex societies in the Caucasus Mountains region and Eurasian Steppes, and archaeometallurgy in the Old and New World. Current archaeological fieldwork centers on Bronze and Iron Age village and cyclopean fortress sites in the Marmarik Valley of Armenia. Archaeometallurgical research includes analysis of Bronze and Early Iron Age copper, bronze, gold and silver metalwork from Armenia, Daghestan (North Caucasus), and Samara, Russia (Middle Volga region), as well as copper beads and pendants from the Pacific Northwest.

Ongoing Research (students are invited to inquire about research opportunities in the field and laboratory)

South Caucasus Archaeometallurgy Project (Director), field and laboratory investigations in collaboration with Dr. Khachatur Meliksetian (Institute of Geological Sciences, and Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia), and Dr. Aram Gevorkyan and Dr. Arsen Bobokhyan (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia)

Copper, bronze, gold and silver artifacts and slags from Samara, Russia (3rd-2nd millennium BC)

Native American copper beads and pendants from the Pacific Northwest (AD 1777-1840)

Selected Publications

(Find PDFs for many of these at


n.d. Peterson, D., and J. Dudgeon (eds.). The Past in Motion: Archaeological Perspectives on the Movement of People and Objects, edited by David Peterson and John Dudgeon. (in preparation)

2006. Peterson, D., L. Popova, and A. T. Smith (eds.). Beyond the Steppe and the Sown: Proceedings of the 2002 University of Chicago Conference on Eurasian Archaeology. Brill, Leiden.


n.d. Peterson, D. Forging Networks of Authority: Early Metal Production in the Middle Volga and the Caucasus. In Regimes and Revolutions: Materiality and Authority across Eurasia from the Present and Past, edited by Charles Hartley, G. Bike Yazicoglu and Adam T. Smith. Cambridge University Press. (in press)

n.d. Peterson, D., P. Northover, C. Salter, and B. Maldonado. Early Metal Technology and Related Practices in the Caspian Coastal Plain: Metalwork from the Velikent Cemetery, for Works of the Velikent Archaeological Expedition Volume 1 – The Western Caspian Coastal Plain in the Early and Middle Bronze Age: Investigations at Velikent and Its Environs, edited by Philip Kohl and Rabadan Magomedov. (forthcoming)

2011. Peterson, D. The East European Plain on the Eve of Agriculture, edited by Pavel M. Dolukhanov, Graeme R. Sarson and Anvar M. Shukurov. Book Review. The Holocene 21(2): 374-375.

2010. Peterson, D. Pastoralist Landscapes and Social Interaction in Bronze Age Eurasia, by Michael D. Frachetti. Book Review. American Antiquity 75(3): 702-703.

2009. Peterson, D. Production and Social Complexity: Bronze Age Metalworking in the Middle Volga. In Social Complexity in Prehistoric Eurasia: Monuments, Metal, and Mobility, edited by Bryan Hanks and Kathryn Linduff, pp. 222-261. Cambridge University Press.

2009: Peterson, D. The Making of Bronze Age Eurasia, by Philip L. Kohl, 2007. Book Review. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 19(1): 139-141.

Courses Taught

ANTH 4499/5599 - Ancient Landscapes

ANTH 4492- Senior Seminar

ANTH 4413/5513 - Old World Archaeology (topics vary by semester)

ANTH 4405/5505 Analytical Techniques Lab

ANTH 4404/5504 - Material Culture Analysis

ANTH 4403/5503 - Method and Theory in Archaeology

ANTH 2237/HIST 2299- The Ancient Near East, ca. 7000-323 BC

ANTH 2237- Nomads in Anthropology

ANTH 2237- Ancient States and Empires of Asia

In development: ANTH 2237/HIST 2299 Silk Roads and Steppe Empires: Central Asia, ca. 5000 BC- AD 1500

Grants and Fellowships since joining the Anthropology Faculty

2011-2012 Faculty Development Funds (College of Arts & Letters, ISU) to purchase a Trimble GeoXT handheld GNSS collector ($5k)

2010-2011 Faculty Enhancement Grant (College of Arts & Letters, ISU) for software, equipment and supplies ($4k)

2010-2011 Humanities/Social Science Research Committee Grant (ISU) for Archaeological and Geoarchaeological Investigation of Early Mining and Metal Production on the Armenian Plateau through the Early Iron Age ($15k)

2009-2010. Collaborative Research Fellowship in Eurasian and East European Research from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and American Councils for International Education, for Collaborative Investigations of Early Mining and Metal Production on the Armenian Plateau, ca. 7000-800 BC. ($20k)

2009-2010. Faculty Research Council Grant (ISU) for Geoarchaeological Research of Ancient Copper Production and Sources in the Republic of Armenia ($5k)



Department of Anthropology • College of Arts and Letters • Idaho State University
921 S. 8th Avenue, Stop 8005, Pocatello, ID  83209-8005
Tel: (208) 282-2629 • Fax: (208) 282-4944 • Email:


921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209