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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Wyoming
  • Jason Toohey
  • (307) 766-5320
  • Melissa S Murphy
Award Date:07/21/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 145,164
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 145,164
  • FY 2021=$145,164
Start Date:09/01/2021
End Date:08/31/2026
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Examination of Long Term Development of Inequality
Federal Award ID Number:2114574
DUNS ID:069690956
Parent DUNS ID:069690956
Program Officer:
  • John Yellen
  • (703) 292-8759

Awardee Location

Street:1000 E. University Avenue
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Wyoming
Street:1000 E. University Avenue
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

Researchers are conducting archaeological analysis focused on understanding the origins, emergence, persistence, and contraction of inequality in emerging complex societies. Archaeology is uniquely suited for the study of these dynamics due to the high-resolution material data and great time depth that the archaeological record affords investigators. The researchers consider the factors that contributed to inequality in the past with the aim of contributing to understanding inequality in the present-day. The project also increases access to leadership opportunities for individuals traditionally underrepresented in archaeology. Two members of project leadership are women and one is an underrepresented in science doctoral student. This research not only trains graduate students in the field but will be integrated into undergraduate courses including the “Origins of the State” where students will better understand the linkages between complex societies, emergent inequalities, and inequity, as well as the critical role played by archaeology in illuminating these issues. This multidisciplinary and multinational team will investigate inequality through the detailed, comparative excavation and analysis of ancient households, storage features, and mortuary contexts dating to multiple time periods. Large samples of households, storage features, and burials will be excavated, and comparative statistical analysis (Gini coefficients) will be applied to variables linked to inequality, such as, for example, house size and complexity. The Gini coefficient is a numerical measure of the unequal concentration of some measured variable within a community or among communities in a society and is used by economists to measure inequality in contemporary societies. These large archaeological datasets and their Gini coefficients allows the team to empirically measure inequality through time. This kind of large-scale statistical analysis provides an important case study to the understanding of inequality worldwide from the human past. The investigation challenges common impressions that once established, inequality is unchanging and inevitable. Intensities of economic and social inequality are instead highly situational and dynamically linked to broader social change, leadership strategies, and interregional interaction. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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