Meeting description: The process of urbanization is generally seen to be closely aligned with socioeconomic development, at least for the modern era. But the relationship between urbanization, or more generally, the aggregation of individuals in settlements, towns, villages and cities, and economic development in ancient societies is empirically tenuous and theoretically opaque. The Social Reactors Working Group (https://www.colorado.edu/socialreactors/about), which aims to establish a theoretical and empirical basis for the study of human settlements through history, has started to investigate the relationship between urban (or settlement life) in ancient societies and socioeconomic development. This new research direction entails engaging with two challenges. One is empirical: how to detect the effects of socioeconomic development in the archaeological record? The other challenge is to reconcile the twin observations that concentrating individuals in settlements generates many conditions and processes conducive to socioeconomic development (invention, innovation, division of labor, increased social interactions) and the seemingly fragile nature of economic growth in the past. The proposed working group meeting will help to design a research agenda on settled living and socioeconomic development in the past.