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CIAMS Lecture Series: Catherine Cameron

Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 4:30pm

Goldwin Smith Hall, G22
232 East Ave, Central Campus

The Work Captives Did:  The Consequences of Captive’s Labor in Small Scale Societies


Catherine M. Cameron

University of Colorado, Boulder


Captives, mostly women and children, were common in small-scale societies in the past, but archaeologists have tended to ignore them and the impacts they had on the societies they joined.  My worldwide study of captive-taking brings these stolen people out of the shadows and explores the work they did in ancient societies.  Using ethnohistoric, ethnographic, and historic accounts of captive-taking and enslavement in small-scale societies I have found that they were an economically valuable resource to their captors, gathering or growing food, processing it, creating craft goods for trade, building houses and canoes, and taking part in virtually every sort of task available among the groups in which they were held.  I explore the gendered division of labor in these societies and the ways that captive labor was “de-gendered.”  Taken during raids or warfare, these unwilling migrants were widely traded and served as an item of wealth themselves. 

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Event Type



Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS)

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Eilis Monahan


Catherine Cameron

Speaker Affiliation

University of Colorado

Disability Access Information

Enter through the southwest ground floor entrance of GSH.


A reception will follow the talk.

Open To

free and open to the public

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