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Areas of Study
Email Address
Taylor Science Center 2008

Colin Quinn is an anthropological archaeologist interested in understanding how social inequality first emerged in human societies. In his research he examines the emergence of inequality through the intersection of political economy, identity, mortuary ritual, material culture signaling, and landscapes.

Combining fieldwork in Transylvania, Ireland, Jordan, and the southern Appalachians, his ongoing research explores the dynamics of inequality in mining communities in the past and present. He is the co-director of four ongoing archaeological and public archaeology projects in Romania and the southeastern United States.

As a teacher, Quinn seeks to foster critical thinking skills, challenge students to link course concepts beyond the classroom, and equip students to engage as independent scholars and global citizens. He combines hands-on learning opportunities with theoretical frameworks from anthropological archaeology. He focuses on how material culture structures space and human interactions in both the past and the present.

Recent Courses Taught

Principles of Archaeology
Landscapes: People, Place, and the Past
Analytical Methods in Archaeology
Human Ancestors
Archaeology of Death
The Quinn Lab

Select Publications

  • Quinn, C.P., I. Kuijt, N. Goodale, and J. Ó Néill. Along the Margins? The Later Bronze Age Seascapes of Western Ireland. European Journal of Archaeology 22(1):44-66.
  • Quinn, C.P. and H. Ciugudean. Settlement Placement and Socio-Economic Priorities: Dynamic Landscapes in Bronze Age Transylvania. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 19:936-948.
  • Quinn, C.P. The Potential of Network Approaches to Understand Connectivity and Complexity in Bronze Age Transylvania and Carpathian Basin. In Bronze Age Connectivity in the Carpathian Basin. R. Németh, B. Rezi, and S. Berecki (eds). pp. 9-18. Bibliotheca Mvsei Marisiensis: Tîrgu Mure?.
  • Quinn, C.P. and J. Beck. Essential Tensions: A Framework for Exploring Inequality through Mortuary Archaeology and Bioarchaeology. Open Archaeology 2(1):18-41. 
  • Ciugudean, H. and C.P. Quinn. The End of the Wietenberg Culture in the Light of New '4C dates and its Chronological Relation Towards the Noua Culture. In Bronze Age Chronology in the Carpathian Basin. R. Nemeth, B. Rezi, and S. Berecki (eds). pp. 147-178. Bibliotheca Mvsei Marisiensis: Tîrgu Mures.
  • Quinn, C.P. Returning and Reuse: Diachronic Perspectives on Multi-Component Cemeteries and Mortuary Politics at Middle Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Tara, Ireland. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 37:1-18.
  • Quinn, C.P. Signals in Stone: Exploring the Role of Social Information Exchange, Conspicuous Consumption, and Costly Signaling Theory in Lithic Analysis. In Lithic Technological Systems and Evolutionary Theory. N. Goodale and W. Andrefsky (eds.). pp. 198-222. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
  • Balan, G. and C.P. Quinn. Radiocarbon Dates of the Middle Bronze Age Settlement at Micesti-Cigas (Alba County, Romania). Annales Universitatis Apulensis. Series Historica 18(11):119-126. 

Professional Affiliations

Society for American Archaeology 
American Anthropological Association 
American Institute of Archaeology 
European Association of Archaeologists 
Romanian National Registrar of Archaeologists 
CREES Graduate Student Associate (University of Michigan) 
Lambda Alpha Anthropological Honors Society 

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.A., Washington State University
B.A., University of Notre Dame


The Crucible of Complexity: Community Organization and Social Change in Bronze Age Transylvania (2700-1315 BC)

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