Visiting Scholars

Visiting Scholars in the Center for Comparative Archaeology are actively engaged in comparative archaeological research on long-term social change, pursuing projects they have designed and proposed themselves. They are postdoctoral scholars but are not necessarily recent Ph.D.'s. In addition to the comparative research they are pursuing, Visiting Scholars, in collaboration with permanent faculty members, lead an ongoing seminar on some topic or approach in comparative archaeological research.


Ben Raffield (PhD University of Aberdeen) is the visiting scholar during the 2018–2019 academic year. Ben is an archaeologist whose primary research interests lie in the Viking Age, especially the study of conflict and military organization from various socio-economic, political, and religious perspectives. His current work focuses on the comparative archaeology of slave-taking, trading, and exploitation in the early-medieval world, in order to explore how these processes contributed not only to the origins and evolution of Viking raiding, but also to socio-political development in Scandinavia during the 8th–11th centuries. While working at the Center for Comparative Archaeology, Ben’s research will focus on the archaeology of social inequality, slavery, and unfreedom in pre-contact Latin America, in order to study how enslavement and unfreedom manifests among societies of varying socio-political complexity. The application of a comparative approach will allow multiple strands of evidence to be drawn together and analyzed, with a view to situating these institutions within developmental trajectories of social and political evolution. Ben is also actively involved in research projects focusing on the cultural evolution of religion, as well as the archaeology of the 1941-45 Pacific War.

Applications for the position during the 2019–2020 academic year will be welcome in February, 2019. More Information >