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The Archaeology of Tribal Societies
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The Archaeology of Tribal Societies (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Since the inception of the New Archaeology in the 1960s anthropological archaeologists have been attempting to develop models that will let them better understand the evolution of human social organization. The vast majority of this research has focused specifically upon the development of so-called 'complex' societies, which frequently are characterized by institutionalized social inequality, craft specialization, and developed social hierarchy. Conversely, a good deal of research also has focused upon the variability exhibited by highly mobile hunting and gathering societies. Somewhere in our search for understanding how chiefdoms and states evolve, and how different those societies are from egalitarian 'bands', we have neglected to develop models that will help us understand the wide range of variability that exists between them. This volume attempts to fill this gap by exploring social organization in tribal - or 'autonomous village' - societies from several different ethnographic, ethnohistoric, and archaeological contexts - from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Period in the Near East to the contemporary Jivaro of Amazonia. The chapters cover diverse geographic (Old and New World) and temporal (early Holocene to the present) contexts and address a number of issues regarding economic, ideological, and political processes within tribal societies from the short-term to the longue duree.

William A. Parkinson is Associate Curator of Eurasian Anthropology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.

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