Associate Professor (Sr Res)
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Office: 541-737-4216

Radiation Center

Radiation Center A104

3451 SW Jefferson Way

3451 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331
Credentials: 
Ph. D. Anthropology University of Michigan 1994
M.A. Anthropology University of Chicago 1982
B.A. Archaeology Douglass College 1977
Honors and Awards: 

2016    SLCS Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Award

2016    Robert J. Frank Research, Scholarship, & Creativity Award, College of Liberal Arts

Profile Field Tabs

At OSU
Affiliated with: 
Radiation Center
Courses Taught: 

Anth331  Archaeological Inference

Anth332  Mesoamerican Prehistory

Anth425  Ceramic Analysis in Archaeology

Anth432  Domestication, Urbanization, and the Rise of Civilization

Anth531  Archaeology Theory

Research/Career Interests: 

 Archaeometry (Materials Science in Archaeology), Political Economy and Exchange in Early Complex Societies.

Archaeometry (Materials Science in Archaeology)

Compositional analyses of archaeological materials play a significant role in the investigation of past human behavior and ancient economies. Through trace-element characterization of artifacts, raw materials, human remains, and botanical samples, archaeologists are able to address a host of questions concerning resource utilization, trade and exchange, subsistence practices, and the environmental adaptations of past cultures. 

At OSU, we’re fortunate to have ready access to the premier method of trace-element characterization - Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA). I head the INAA program at the Radiation Center (OSU-RC) and serve as liaison to researchers using irradiation facilities and detector instrumentation. I also have an active research program in archaeometry and compositional analysis, through collaboration with faculty researchers at OSU and other academic institutions. Recent and on-going projects include analyses of Colonial-era bricks from Maryland, Aztec ceramics from central Mexico, chert from Idaho, and obsidian from Armenia.

Political Economy and Exchange in Early Complex Societies

One key application of trace-element data is in monitoring how raw materials and finished goods circulated in prehistory. Archaeologists can “source” artifacts from their trace-element signature or fingerprint. Once finished artifacts have been linked in their geographic point of origin, mechanisms of trade and exchange, political geography, and social controls over the circulation of goods can be modeled based on the distribution of artifacts from that source.

I am particularly interested in the development of market exchange systems, and the role of elites in regulating market exchange in early states. Although we tend to characterize market exchange as a purely commercial activity, elites frequently intervened in the “commercial sector” to promote their own agenda. Research on market exchange is on-going in three areas: the core of the Aztec empire, the early Zapotec state in central Oaxaca, and the Bronze Age states of Armenia. In each case, key questions include: What mechanisms existed to regulate access to and control over the flow of goods? And, how did these controls affect the decisions of individual producers and consumers?

 Publications 

2017 Pérez Rodríguez, V., A. Martinez Tuñón, L. Minc, L. Stiver Walsh, and M. Navarro Rosales. Chronological trends in the use of Valley of Oaxaca ceramics and ceramic styles at Cerro Jazmín, Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca.  Ms. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, accepted March, 2017.
2017 Mutin, B., L.D. Minc, C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, and M. Tosi.  Regional and Long-Distance Exchange of an Emblematic “Prestige” Ceramic in the Indo-Iranian Borderlands: Results of Neutron Activation Analysis. Ms. Paléorient, accepted January, 2017.
2017 Minc, L.D., and J.H. Sterba.  Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) in the Study of Archaeological Ceramics.  Ch. 24, in Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Ceramic Analysis (edited by Alice Hunt). Oxford University Press. 
2016 Minc, L.D.  Pottery and the Potter's Craft in Aztec Society. Ch. 24, in Oxford Handbook of Aztec Studies (edited by Deborah L. Nichols and Enrique Rodríguez-Alegría).  Oxford University Press. 
2016 Minc, L.D., K.  Yanchar, T. Bray, and J. Echeverría.  Potting Clays and Ceramic Provenance in Northern Highland Ecuador. In Vessels Explored: Applying Archaeometry to South American Ceramics and their Production (edited by E. M. Stovel and G. De La Fuente). British Archaeological Reports International Series, ArchaeoPress. ISBN: 9781407314815
2016 Minc, L.D., R.J. Sherman, C. Elson, M. Winter, E. M. Redmond, and C.S. Spencer. Ceramic Provenance and the Regional Organization of Pottery Production during the Later Formative in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico: Results of Trace-element and Mineralogical Analyses. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 8: 28-46.  doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.05.016
2016 Minc, L.D.  Trace‑Element Analyses of Uruk Ceramics: Establishing a Database to Track Interregional Exchange. In Trade and Interaction in the Uruk Expansion: Recent Insights from Archaeometric Analyses (guest editors L.D. Minc and G. Emberling), Special Section of Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 7C: 798-807.  doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.03.025
2016 Minc, L.D., and G.Emberling.  Trade and Interaction in the Uruk Expansion: Recent Insights from Archaeometric Analyses.  In Trade and Interaction in the Uruk Expansion: Recent Insights from Archaeometric Analyses (guest editors L.D. Minc and G. Emberling), Special Section of Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 7C: 793-797.  doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.03.032
2016 Emberling, G., and L.D. Minc. Ceramics and Long‑distance Trade in Early Mesopotamian States. In Trade and Interaction in the Uruk Expansion: Recent Insights from Archaeometric Analyses (guest editors L.D. Minc and G. Emberling), Special Section of Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 7C. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.02.024
2016 Alden, J.R., and L.D. Minc.  Itinerant Potters and the Transmission of Ceramic Styles during the Proto‑Elamite Period.  In Trade and Interaction in the Uruk Expansion: Recent Insights from Archaeometric Analyses (guest editors L.D. Minc and G. Emberling), Special Section of Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 7C. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.03.022
2016 Gopnik, H., C. Reichel, L. Minc, and R.Elendari.  A View from the East: The Godin VI Oval and the Uruk Sphere. In Trade and Interaction in the Uruk Expansion: Recent Insights from Archaeometric Analyses (guest editors L.D.
Minc and G. Emberling), Special Section of Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 7C. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.02.020
2016 Mutin, Benjamin, C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, and L.D. Minc.  Investigating Ceramic Production during the Proto‑Elamite Period at Tepe Yahya, Southeastern Iran: Results of Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis of Periods IVC and IVB Ceramics.  In Trade and Interaction in the Uruk Expansion: Recent Insights from Archaeometric Analyses (guest editors L.D. Minc and G. Emberling), Special Section of Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 7C. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.02.019
2014 Alden, J.R., L.D. Minc, and A. Alizadeh. INAA Analysis of Ceramics from Tall‑e Geser and Abu Fanduweh: Compositional Signatures and Evidence for Ceramic Exchange.  Appendix A, in Ancient Settlement Systems and Cultures in the Ram Hormuz Plain, Southwestern Iran: Excavations at Tall‑E Geser and Regional Survey of the Ram Hormuz Area (edited by A. Alizadeh), pp. 257-272, 312-323.  Oriental Institute Publications, Vol. 140, The University of Chicago.
2013 Minc, L.D.  Stepping into Some Pretty Big Shoes: Following in the Tradition of Jim Blackman in the Ancient Near East. Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, Vol. 109, Washington, D.C., November 10B14, 2013, pp. 95-97.
2011 Minc, L.D. and R.J. Sherman. Assessing Natural Clay Composition in the Valley of Oaxaca as a Basis for Ceramic Provenance Studies.  Archaeometry 53:285-328.
2010 Cherry, J.F., E.Z. Faro, and L. Minc.  Field Survey and Geochemical Characterization of the Southern Armenian Obsidian Sources.  Journal of Field Archaeology 35(2):147-163.
2009 Minc, L.D.  Style and Substance: Evidence for Regionalization within the Aztec Market System.  Latin American Antiquity 20(2): 343-374.
2008 Minc, L.D. Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA). In Encyclopedia of Archaeology (Vol. 3), edited by D.M. Pearsall. Academic Press, NY, pp. 1669-1683.
2007 Armitage, R.A., L.D. Minc, S. Hurry, and M. Doolin. Characterization of Building Materials from the Brick Chapel at Historic St. Mary's City. In Archaeological Chemistry: Analytical Techniques and Archaeological Interpretation (ACS Symposium Series 968), edited by M.D. Glascock, R.J. Speakman, and R. S. Popelka-Filcoff, pp. 364-375. American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C.
2007 Minc, L.D., J.R. Sherman, C. Elson, C.S. Spencer, and E. M. Redmond. "M Glow Blue": Archaeometric Research at Michigan's Ford Nuclear Reactor. Archaeometry 49(2):215-228.
2007 Fowles, S., L.D. Minc, S. Duwe, and D. Hill. Clay, Conflict, and Village Aggregation: Compositional Analyses of Pre-classic Pottery from Taos, New Mexico. American Antiquity 72(1):125-152.
2006 Minc, L.D., Monitoring Regional Market Systems in Prehistory: Models, Methods, and Metrics. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 25(1):82-116.
2006 Armitage, R.A., L.D. Minc, D.V. Hill, and S. D. Hurry, Characterization of Bricks and Tiles from the 17th-century Brick Chapel, St. Mary's City, Maryland. Journal of Archaeological Science 33(5):615-627.
2006 Alden, J. R., L.D. Minc, and T.F. Lynch. Identifying the sources of Inka period ceramics from northern Chile: results of a neutron activation study. Journal of Archaeological Science 33(4):575-594.
2005 Bray, T.L., L.D. Minc, M. Constanza-Ceruti, R. Perea, J. Reinhard, and J. Chávez) A Compositional Analysis of Pottery Vessels Associated with the Inca Ritual of Capacocha. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 24(1):82-100.
2004 Armitage, R. A., L. D. Minc, D. V. Hill, and S. D. Hurry. Characterization of Bricks and Tiles from 17th-Century Maryland. Abstracts of the 34th International Symposium on Archaeometry (Zaragoza, Spain); J. Perez-Arantegui, editor.
2004 Elson, C., R. J. Sherman, L.D. Minc, C.S. Spencer, E.M. Redmond. Los Resultados Preliminares de Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) de la cerámica de las fases Monte Albán I y Monte Albán II de los sitios de El Palenque, Cerro Tilcajete y Yaasuchi. In Cuarta Mesa Redonda de Monte Albán, edited by N. R. G. y R. Spores. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México.
2003 Smith, A. T., R. Badalyan, P. Avetisyan, M. Zardarian, A. Hayrepetyan, L. Minc, and B. Monahan. Early Complex Societies in Southern Transcaucasia: a Preliminary Report on the 2002 Investigations of Project ARAGATS on the Tsakahovit Plain, Republic of Armenia. American Journal of Archaeology 108(1): 1-41.
2002 Michelaki, K., L. Minc, and J. O’Shea. Integrating Typology and Physico-Chemical Approaches to Examine the Potter's Choices: a Case Study from Bronze Age Hungary, In Modern Trends in Scientific Studies on Ancient Ceramics, ed. by Y. Maniatis and V. Kilikoglou, pp. 313-322, British Archaeological Reports International Series 1011.
2001 Minc, L. D. Pottery. In The Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America: An Encyclopedia, edited by S. Evans and D. Webster. Garland Publishing, NY.
2001 Minc, L. D. Ceramics. In The Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America: An Encyclopedia, edited by S. Evans and D. Webster. Garland Publishing, NY.