The advent of social complexity has been a longstanding debate among social scientists. Existing theories and approaches involving the origins of social complexity include environmental circumscription, population growth, technology transfers, prestige-based and interpersonal-group competition, organized conflict, perennial wartime leadership, wealth finance, opportunistic leadership, climatological change, transport and trade monopolies, resource circumscription, surplus and redistribution, ideological imperialism, and the consideration of individual agency. However, recent approaches such as the inclusion of bioarchaeological perspectives, prospection methods, systematically-investigated archaeological sites along with emerging technologies are necessarily transforming our understanding of socio-cultural evolutionary processes. In short, many pre-existing ways of explaining the origins and development of social complexity are being reassessed. Ultimately, the contributors to this edited volume challenge the status quo regarding how and why social complexity arose by providing revolutionary new understandings of social inequality and socio-political evolution.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2: Violence, Warriors, and Rock Art in Bronze Age Scandinavia
Chapter 3: Societal Dynamics of Prestate Societies of the North Central European Plains, 600-900 CE
Chapter 4: Trade and State Formation in Ancient East African Coast and Southern Zambezia
Chapter 5: Feasting, Social Complexity and the Emergence of the Early Neolithic of Upper Mesopotamia: A View from Goebekli Tepe
Chapter 6: Highly Stratified Societies without Permanent Leadership: Yi in Liangshan of Southwestern China
Chapter 7: Coercive Power and State Formation in Northern Vietnam
Chapter 8: The Emergence of Sociopolitical Complexity: Evidence from Contact-era New Guinea
Chapter 9: Tibenuk and Chuji: Status Attainment and Collective Action in Egalitarian Settings
Chapter 10: Early Pueblo Great House Communities and Their Leaders: The Transformation of Community Leadership in the Mesa Verde and Chaco Regions, A.D. 625-1025
Chapter 11: The Development of Complex Societies in Eastern North America: The Roles of Feasting, Famine, and Fighting
Chapter 12: The Feast before Famine and Fighting: The Origins and Consequences of Social Complexity in the Mirador Basin, Guatemala
Chapter 13: Tollan Teotihuacan: Multiethnic Mosaics, Corporate Interaction, and Social Complexity in Mesoamerica
Chapter 14: Pathways to Social Complexity in the Norte Chico Region of Peru
Chapter 15: How Chiefdom and Early State Social Structures Resolve Collective Action Problems
Chapter 16: Commentary
Chapter 17: Multiple Pathways to Large-Scale Human Cooperative Networks: A Reframing
Richard J. Chacon is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Winthrop University. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Amazonia among the Yanomamo of Venezuela, the Yora of Peru and the Achuar (Shiwiar) of Ecuador. In the Andes, he has conducted ethnographic fieldwork among the Otavalo and Cotacachi Indians of Highland Ecuador. His research interests include collective action, optimal foraging theory, indigenous subsistence strategies, natural resource conservation, warfare, belief systems, the development of social complexity, ethnohistory, ethics and the effects of globalization on indigenous peoples.
Dr. Rubén G. Mendoza is Professor and Chair of the Division of Social, Behavioral, and Global Studies at the California State University, Monterey Bay. He has conducted archaeological and ethnohistorical investigations in California, Colorado, the US Southwest, and Mesoamerica. His research interests include Mesoamerican and South American civilizations and social complexity, long-distance trade and exchange, conflict interaction, and Hispanicized Indian and Amerindian traditional technologies and material cultures. In addition, he is the coordinator for both the Archaeological Science, Technology, and Visualization, and Global Studies, programs at CSU Monterey Bay.