The Comparative Archaeology of Complex Societies

The Comparative Archaeology of Complex Societies

by Michael E. Smith (Editor)


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Part of a resurgence in the comparative study of ancient societies, this book presents a variety of methods and approaches to comparative analysis through the examination of wide-ranging case studies. Each chapter is a comparative study, and the diverse topics and regions covered in the book contribute to the growing understanding of variation and change in ancient complex societies. The authors explore themes ranging from urbanization and settlement patterns, to the political strategies of kings and chiefs, to the economic choices of individuals and households. The case studies cover an array of geographical settings, from the Andes to Southeast Asia. The authors are leading archaeologists whose research on early empires, states, and chiefdoms is at the cutting edge of scientific archaeology.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521197915
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/05/2011
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Michael E. Smith is Professor of Anthropology in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. He has published widely in scholarly journals on Aztec society, Mesoamerican archaeology, ancient urbanism, and the comparative analysis of early state societies. He is the author and editor of eight books, including Aztec City-State Capitals, The Aztecs, and The Postclassic Mesoamerican World (co-edited with Frances F. Berdan).

Table of Contents

1. Comparative archaeology: a commitment to understanding variation all contributors; 2. Approaches to comparative analysis in archaeology Michael E. Smith and Peter Peregrine; 3. Comparative frames for the diachronic analysis of complex societies: next steps Gary M. Feinman; 4. What it takes to get complex: food, goods, and work as shared cultural ideals form the beginning of sedentism Monica L. Smith; 5. Challenges for comparative study of early complex societies Robert D. Drennan and Christian E. Peterson; 6. Patterned variation in regional trajectories of community growth Christian E. Peterson and Robert D. Drennan; 7. The genesis of monuments in island societies Michael J. Kolb; 8. Power and legitimation: political strategies, typology and cultural evolution Peter Peregrine; 9. The strategies of provincials in empires Barbara L. Stark and John K. Chase; 10. Households, economies, and power in the Aztec and Inka imperial provinces Timothy Earle and Michael E. Smith; 11. Low-density, agrarian-based urbanism: scale, power, and ecology Roland Fletcher; 12. Archaeology, early complex societies, and comparative social science history Michael E. Smith.

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