Photo of Junker, Laura Lee

Laura Lee Junker

Associate Professor



Building & Room:

2138-B BSB


1007 W Harrison Street

Office Phone Voice:

(312) 996-3116


I am an archaeologist and ethnohistorian interested in the political economy of pre-modern chiefdoms and states. My archaeological and historical research has focused primarily on Southeast Asia maritime trading polities of the first millennium AD to European contact, particularly prehispanic chiefdoms of the Philippine archipelago, although I have also been involved in field projects in Vietnam and Laos. The theoretical topics emphasized in my published works include: the role of long-distance prestige goods trade, marriage exchanges and competitive feasting in Southeast Asian political economies; political and demographic aspects of warfare and slave-raiding; the long-term dynamics of forager-farmer interactions; the organization of craft production systems in complex societies; comparative political structures; and gendered power relations.  I have carried out archaeological research in the Tanjay Region of the Philippines continuously for two decades, with an emphasis on the 10th-16th centuries, but am currently involved in a new project on Metal Age sites in southern Negros Island.

Selected Publications


Food Preparation and Feasting in the Household and Political Economy of Prehispanic Philippine Chiefdoms. In E. Klarich (ed.), Archaeological Perspectives on Food Preparation in Household and Ritual Contexts. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.


The Impact of Captured Women on Cultural Transmission in Contact Period Philippine Slave-Raiding Chiefdoms. In C. Cameron (ed.), Invisible Citizens: Slavery in Ancient Pre-State Societies. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.


Population Dynamics and Urbanism in Pre-Modern Island Southeast Asia. In Glenn Storey (ed.), Urbanism in the Pre-Industrial World: Cross-Cultural Approaches, pp. 186-215. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: University of Alabama Press.


(With Kathleen Morrison)  Forager-Traders in South and Southeast Asia: Long Term Histories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Long-Term Change and Short-Term Shifting In the Economy of Philippine Forager-Traders. In Beyond Foraging and Collecting: Evolutionary Change In Hunter-Gatherer Settlement Systems. Ben Fitzhugh and Junko Habu, eds. New York: Kluwer/Academic Press.


The Evolution of Ritual Feasting Systems in Prehispanic Philippine Chiefdoms.. In Michael Dietler and Brian Hayden (eds.), Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics and Power, pp. 267-310. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.


Raiding, Trading, and Feasting: The Political Economy of Philippine Chiefdoms. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.


Integrating History and Archaeology in the Study of Contact Period Philippine Chiefdoms. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 2(4): 291-320.


Hunter-Gatherer Landscapes and Lowland Trade in the Prehispanic Philippines. World Archaeology 27(3): 389-410.

Notable Honors

2009 – 2014, Henry Luce Foundation Initiative on East, Henry Luce Foundation Initiative


PhD, University of Michigan, 1990

Professional Memberships

Society for American Archaeology (including Minority Scholarship Committee)
Society for American Archaeology (including Minority Scholarship Committee)
American Anthropological Association (including Editorial Board, American Anthropologist)
National Museum of the Philippines Research Affiliate
Editor, Asian Perspectives: The Journal for Asian and Pacific Archaeology (University of Hawai'i Press)