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Current Folk Studies and Anthropology Faculty and Staff

Dr. Jean-Luc Houle
Dr. Jean-Luc Houle
- Associate Professor, Anthropology

Current courses:

ANTH 130 Introduction to Archaeology

ANTH 316 The Archaeology of Environmental Change

ANTH 333 Archaeology of Ancient China

ANTH 335 Old World Prehistory

ANTH 360 Applied Anthropology

ANTH 366 Special Topics: The Archaeologist Look at Death

ANTH 395 Lab Practicum in Archaeology or Biological Anthropology

ANTH 432/432G Field Course in Archaeology

ANTH 438 Archaeological Laboratory Methods

ANTH 495 Directed Study 

Past courses:

ANTH 366 Special Topics: Archaeology of East Asia

ANTH 366 Special Topics: Fantastic Archaeology! or How to Make Sense of the Past

Background and Interests

Ph.D., Anthropology/Archaeology, University of Pittsburgh
M.Sc., Anthropology/Archaeology, Université de Montréal
B.Sc., Anthropology/Archaeology, Université de Montréal 

I am an anthropological archaeologist whose research interests focus on the study of early complex societies with a particular emphasis on East Asia and the Eurasian steppe region. My goal as an anthropological archaeologist is to explore the processes that maintain and transform sociocultural systems. I am particularly interested in the relationship between mobility and place-making, and I see my research as a broader effort in the social sciences to study the interactions linking human mobility, territorial behavior, and the development of complex social organizations. Specifically, my research focuses on the social and ritual construction of landscapes and the sense of territoriality among mobile pastoralists, as well as on human-environment relationships and how all this relates to the development of complex societies in Inner Asia. These interests have led me to investigate variables affecting changes in political economy, subsistence practices, mobility patterns, and the causes of the development of increasingly complex societies and social inequality among mobile pastoralists in Mongolia. I approach this broad research focus from an anthropological perspective utilizing principles of cultural ecology and geography in order to evaluate the limitations and opportunities that the environment (both natural and cultural) imposes on the sociocultural evolution of these human societies. In order to accomplish this, I engage in multiscalar and multidisciplinary research that combines regional and landscape archaeology, household archaeology, quantitative and spatial analysis, geoarchaeology, palaeobotany, zooarchaeology, and GIS. My research projects also include a significant ethnoarchaeological component aimed at a better understanding of human-animal relationships and the relationship between humans and their environment, both in the past and present. Finally, my research projects in Mongolia have always included local and international students, including students from WKU. As fieldwork is an important element of my research, my professional goals include continuing to incorporate students in my research projects, providing them with hands-on experience in the field and opportunities to publish and present at various local, regional, and international conferences.

 I am currently the director of the WKU Anthropology Lab.

Selected Publications

Houle, Jean-Luc, 2016. Bronze Age Mongolia. Oxford Handbooks Online in Archaeology.
Houle, Jean-Luc, 2016. Long-Term Occupation and Seasonal Mobility in Mongolia: A comparative analysis of two mobile pastoralist communities. In Fitful Histories and Unruly Publics: The Archaeology of Eurasia from Past to Present, edited by Kathryn Weber, Emma Hite, Adam T. Smith, and Lori Khatchadourian. Oxford University Press.
Houle, Jean-Luc, 2016. The Killing Season: Ethnographic and Zooarchaeological Perspectives on Residential Mobility in Bronze Age Mongolia. In People with Animals: Perspectives and Studies in Ethnozooarchaeology, edited by Lee G. Broderick. Oxford, Oxbow Books Ltd.
Broderick, Lee. G., Oula Seitsonen, Jamsranjav Bayarsaikhan, and Jean-Luc Houle, 2016. Lambs to the Slaughter: A Zooarchaeological Investigation of Stone Circles in Mongolia. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 26:537-543.
Houle, Jean-Luc, 2015. Occupation de longue durée et mobilité saisonnière en Mongolie. In Les systèmes de mobilité de la Préhistoire au Moyen Âge. XXXVe rencontres internationales d’archéologie et d’histoire d’Antibes. Sous la direction de N. Naudinot, L. Meignen, D. Binder, G. Querré. Éditions APDCA, Antibes, 2015.
Broderick, Lee. G., Jean-Luc Houle, Oula Seitsonen, and Jamsranjav Bayarsaikhan, 2015. The Mystery of the Missing Caprines: Stone Circles at the Great Khirigsuur in the Khanuy Valley. Studia Archaeologica 34 (Археологийн Cудлал).
Seitsonen, Oula, Jean-Luc Houle, and Lee G. Broderick, 2014.  GIS Approaches to Past Mobility and Accessibility: An Example from the Bronze Age Khanuy Valley, Mongolia.  In Past Mobilities: Archaeological Approaches to Movement and Mobility, edited by Jim Leary.  Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing (now Routledge).
Houle, Jean-Luc and Jamsranjav Bayarsaikhan, 2014. The Archaeological Heritage of Mongolia. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Springer.
Broderick, Lee G. and Jean-Luc Houle, 2012. More than Just Horse: Dietary Breadth and Subsistence in Bronze Age Central Mongolia. Mongolian Journal of Archaeology, Anthropology and Ethnology, Vol. 7 (1):149-157.
Houle, Jean-Luc, 2012. Entry for 'Archaeology of Mongolia'. The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Houle, Jean-Luc and Lee G. Broderick, 2011. Settlement Patterns and Domestic Economy of the Xiongnu in Khanuy Valley, Mongolia. In Xiongnu Archaeology: Multidisciplinary Perspectives of the First Steppe Empire of Inner Asia, edited by Ursula Brosseder and Bryan K. Miller. Bonn Contributions to Asian Archaeology, vol.5. Bonn: Bonn University Press.
Houle, Jean-Luc, 2009. ‘Socially Integrative Facilities’ and the Emergence of Societal Complexity on the Mongolian Steppe. In Monuments, Metals and Mobility: Trajectories of Complexity in the Late Prehistory of the Eurasian Steppe, edited by Bryan K. Hanks, and K. M. Linduff. Cambridge University Press.
Houle, Jean-Luc, 2009. Investigating Mobility, Territoriality and Complexity in the Late Bronze Age: A Perspective from Monuments and Settlements. In Current Archaeological Research in Mongolia. Papers from the First International Conference on ‘Archaeological Research in Mongolia’, edited by J. Bemmann, H. Parzinger, E. Pohl, and D. Tseveendorj. Bonn Contributions on Asian Archaeology 4, Bonn, Germany.
Houle, Jean-Luc and Diimaajav Erdenebaatar, 2009. Taking Small Steppes: Conducting Graduate-Level Collaborative Research in Mongolia. The SAA Archaeological Record 8(2):22-24—Special Issue: International collaborative research in East and Southeast Asia.
Allard, Francis, Diimaajav Erdenebaatar, and Jean-Luc Houle, 2006. Recent Archaeological Research in the Khanuy River Valley, Central Mongolia. In Beyond the Steppe and the Sown: Proceedings of the 2002 University of Chicago Conference on Eurasian Archaeology, edited by David L. Peterson, Laura M. Popova and Adam T. Smith., Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.

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 Last Modified 2/17/22