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Merchants and Exchange Systems in the Cross-Cultural Perspective

HirthLab-Tlamemes_Floretine.jpg
Illustration of merchants from the Florentine Codex
Ken Hirth is currently conducting cross-cultural historic research on the history and development of merchants within pre-industrial societies.  This includes the study of both agent-based and corporate strategies for moving and transporting both staple and wealth goods over space and time.  Ongoing work as part of this study include analysis of obsidian trade networks at the large Olmec site of San Lorenzo being conducted in collaboration with Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) and the Research Reactor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Students working in with Prof. Hirth have conducted source analysis using INAA and LA-ICPSM instrumentation on the Penn State campus.