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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 - pp. 264-271, Origins and Development of Complex Society

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Christopher Watts

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Lecture 6 - Origins and Development of Complex
Monday, October 24, 2011
6:12 PM
Research paper is due four weeks from today (November 21) in lecture
New week's tutorials are devoted to improving writing and research skills -
Bring questions!
What is Complex Society?
Modelling the Development of Complex Society
What is Complex Society?
Typically associated with chiefdoms and states (as opposed to bands and
tribes, a lot simpler, hunter & gatherers)
oLarger than bands and tribes (~5 000 - 20 000+ people)
oKin-based ranking under hereditary leader
oEconomy based on tribute/redistribution, unlike bands and tribes
They pay a portion of their yield to the chief, the chief is
oSettlement centres - "secular & sacred"
Ancient Chiefdoms
Catalhoyuk (Turkey)
And hundreds more around the world
What is Complex Society? Cont.
States (Pre-Industrial)
oLarger than chiefdoms (generally 20 000+ people)
oClass-based hierarchy under king/emperor
oLaws, bureaucracy (taxation), standing armies
oCities - palaces, temples, public buildings
oArchaeological Example: all ancient civilizations
Ancient 'High' Civilizations
Mesopotamia ca. 3200 BC
Nile Valley ca. 3000 BC
Indus Valley ca. 2500 BC (border of India & Pakistan)
North China ca. 2000 BC
Mesoamerica ca. 1500 BC
South America ca. 1500 BC
What is Complex Society? Cont.
For V. Gordon Childe (1952) states were:
oCentralized authorities with the power to tax surplus production
derived from intensive lands use and increased productivity
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