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Lecture 6

Archaeology-Lecture 6-The Archaeology of Complexity Dec 4 2008


Course Code
Marcel Danesi

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Lecture Notes
The Archaeology of Complexity
x Organization of lecture
o What is complexity?
o Modeling the Development of Complex Society
o Early State Level Societies
What is Complex Society?
x Typically associated with chiefdoms and states
x Recall: chiefdoms
o Larger than tribes (~5,000- -20,000+ people)
o Kin-based ranking under hereditary leader
o Economy based on tribute/redistribution
o Settlement centres- secular and scared
o Archeology example: NW coast
x Recall: States (Pre-Industrial)
o Larger than chiefdoms (generally 20,00+ ppl)
o Class- based hierarchy under king/emperor
o Laws, bureaucracy (taxation), standing armies
o Cities- palaces, temples, public buildings
x Typically, there are indicators- D³FRPSOH[RIFXOWXUDOSKHQRPHQD´)ODQQHU\- such
as . . .
o Writing
o Metallurgy
o Predictive sciences (ex: astronomy, mathematics)
o Large population aggregates; urbanization
o Social stratification (classes)
o Occupational specialization (ex: full time craft specialists
o Monumental architecture and public works
x Importantly, not all of these indicators are present in all ancient civilizations
o Ex: no writing in ancient SA (Peru)
o Ex: little evidence for ostentatious display of power in Harappan (Indus valley)
Indicators- Writing
x Most early writing took form of conventionalized and abstract pictorial forms
head of an ox
x Later developments involve syllabic/alphabetic systems
o Syllabic- written symbol for each syllable
Ex: Cuneiform (Mesopotamia) and hieroglyphics
o Alphabetic- written symbols for each vowel and consonant
Ex: Greek alphabet- 22 symbols, roman (Latin) alphabet- 21 symbols
Indicator- Metallurgy
x Early metal working (copper/bronze/iron ages) ca. 4000-6000 BC in Europe
o Balkans ca. 4,000 BC- copper (hammered)
Axes, ornaments and other items traded over a wide area
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