My current research interests span archeology, history and evolutionary theory, and include: pre-industrial state formation (particularly in North Africa and Europe), population processes in pre-industrial societies, and evolutionary ecological approaches to the study of complex societies.
I have conducted excavations at medieval sites in northern Morocco, where I was interested in the relative importance of the extraction of agricultural surplus and the control of long-distance trade in the formation of Islamic states during the 8th through the 16th centuries. Currently, I am conducting archeological investigations at an abandoned medieval village in southern Portugal, where I am interested in how rural populations responded to the change from Late Roman to Muslim to Christian administration during and after the Reconquista.
Additionally, I have conducted research on the family structure and demography of ruling elites in the medieval Portugese monarchy. Using a biosocial theoretical perspective, my analyses of genealogical data have attempted to show how reproductive strategies and inheritance practices among the nobility contributed to status competition, political instability and territorial expansion among preindustrial states.
James L. Boone and F. S. Worman, "Rural Settlement and Sustainability from the Late Roman through the Medieval Islamic Period in the Lower Alentejo of Portugal." Journal of Field Archaeology 32:115-132, 2007.
James L. Boone, "Tribalism, Ethnicity, and Islamization in the Baixo Alentejo of Portugal: Preliminary Results of Investigations into Transitional Period (AD 550-850) Rural Settlements," EraArqueologia 4: 152-176, 2002. pdf
James L. Boone, "Subsistence Strategies and Early Human Population History: An Evolutionary Ecological Perspective." World Archaeology 34(1):6-25, 2002. pdf
Karen Kramer and James L. Boone, "Why Do Intensive Agriculturalists Have Higher Fertility? A Household Labor Budget Approach." Current Anthropology 43(3):511-517, 2002. pdf
James L. Boone, "Status Signaling, Social Power, and Lineage Survival." In Hierarchies in Action: Qui Bono? Edited by Michael Diehl. Carbondale, Ill.: Center for Archeological Studies, 2000. pdf
James L. Boone and Nancy L. Benco,"Islamic Settlement in North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula." Annual Reviews in Anthropology 28:51-71, 1999. pdf
James L. Boone and Karen Kessler, "More Status or More Children: Social Status, Fertility Reduction, and Long-term Fitness." Evolution and Human Behavior 20:257-277, 1999. pdf
Garnet P. McMillan and James L. Boone, Population History and the Islamization of the Iberian Peninsula: Skeletal Evidence from the Lower Alentejo Portugal." Current Anthropology 40(5): 719-726, 1999. pdf
James L. Boone, "The Evolution of Magnanimity: When Is It Better to Give Than to Receive?." Human Nature 9(1):1-21, 1998. pdf
James L. Boone and Eric A. Smith, "Is It Evolution Yet?: A Critique of Evolutionary Archaeology" Current Anthropology 39: S141-S173, 1998. pdf
James L. Boone, "Uma Sociedade Tribal no Baixo Alentejo Medieval?" Arqueologia Medieval 4: 25-35. Oporto: Campo Arqueológico de Mértola/Edições Afrontamento, 1995.
James L. Boone, Rural Settlement and Islamization: the Evidence from Alcaria Longa. In Arqueologia en el Entorno del Bajo Guadiana: Actas del Encuentro Internacional de Arqueologia del Suroeste, J.M. Campos, J.A. Pérez, and F. Gómez, eds. Pp. 527-544. Univ. de Huelva: Grupo de Investigacion Arqueológica del Património del Suroeste, 1994.
James L. Boone, "The Third Season of Excavations at Alcaria Longa." Arqueologia Medieval 2:111-152. Oporto: Campo Arqueológico de Mértola/Edições Affontamento, 1993.
James L. Boone, "Competition, Cooperation and the Development of Social Hierarchies." Evolutionary Ecology and Human Behavior, pp. 301-337. E.A. Smith and B. Winterhalder, eds. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1992.
James L. Boone, "The First Two Seasons of Excavations at Alcaria Longa: A Caliphal-Taifal Period Settlement in the Lower Alentejo of Portugal." Arqueologia Medieval 1:51-64, 1992.
James L. Boone, Comment on "Intergroup Aggression in Chimpanzees and Humans," by J.H. Manson and R.W. Wrangham. Current Anthropology 32:377, 1990.
James L. Boone, J.E. Myers, and C.L. Redman, "Archeological and Historical Approaches to Complex Societies: The Islamic States of Medieval Morocco," American Anthropologist 92(2): 630-646, 1990. pdf
James L. Boone, "Parental Investment, Social Subordination and Population Processes Among the 15th and 16th Century Portuguese Nobility," Human Reproductive Behavior: A Darwinian Perspective, L. Betzig, P. Turke, and M. Borgerhoff-Mulder, eds. Cambridge University Press, 1988.
B.E. Jackson, J.L. Boone, and M. Henneberg, "Possible Cases of Endemic Treponematosis Among a Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherer Population on the Texas Coast," Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society 57:183-193, 1987.
James L. Boone, "Defining and Measuring Midden Catchment," American Antiquity 52:336-345, 1987.
James L. Boone, "Parental Investment and Elite Family Structure in Preindustrial States: A Case Study of Medieval-Early Modern Portuguese Genealogies," American Anthropologist 88:859-878, 1986. pdf
James L. Boone, "Majolica Escudillas of the 15th and 16th Centuries: A Typological Analysis of 55 Examples from Qsar es-Seghir," Historical Archeology 18:76-86, 1984.
James L. Boone, "Noble Family Structure and Expansionist Warfare in the Late Middle Ages," Human Adaptation: Biological and Cultural Models, R. Dyson-Hudson and M.A. Little, eds, pp. 79-96. Denver: Westview Press, 1983.
James L. Boone, "Alternate Pathways to Urbanism in the Medieval Maghreb," with C.L. Redman. Comparative Urban Research 9(1):28-38, 1982.
James L. Boone, "Fourth Season of Excavations at Qsar es-Seghir," with C.L. Redman and J.E. Myers. Bulletin d'Archeologie Marocaine 12:263-287, 1980.
James L. Boone, "Qsar es-Seghir (Alcacer Ceguer): A 15th and 16th Century Portuguese Colony in Northern Morocco," with C.L. Redman. Studia, 41-42. Lisbon, Portugal, 1979.