The North American Oikoumene

Peter N. Peregrine and Stephen H. Lekson

in The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195380118
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The North American Oikoumene

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  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology of North America



The title of this article employs the term oikoumene, meaning the inhabited or known world. Among European archaeologists, it has long been assumed that, by at least the Bronze Age, local populations were in regular contact with one another, forming an oikoumene within which processes or events in one region might have an impact on processes or events in another, perhaps distant, region. The article explores the value of a continental perspective for North American archaeology, one which assumes that populations in North America, like those in Europe, existed within an oikoumene of mutually known polities.

Keywords: oikoumene; European archaeologists; Bronze Age; local populations; North American archaeology; continental perspective

Article.  3971 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology of North America

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