Department of Anthropology

Two paths to social complexity are technotasking, which relies on technological breakthroughs and...

Complexity and Sustainability: The Ancient Maya and the Modern Balinese

Mon, February 23, 2009 | EPS 1.128

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Two paths to social complexity are technotasking, which relies on technological breakthroughs and is often politically hierarchical, and labortasking, which relies on skilled labor pools and is often heterarchical. Although several pathways to greater degrees of complexity are present, two case studies emphasizing the understudied role of labortasking are the ancient Maya and the recent Balinese. Both are examples of complex societies that used labortasking to adapt to local ecological limitations in semitropical settings. These societies used heterarchical organizations to accretionally engineer and manage their environments, strategies that proffer long-term resilience and notions of sustainability.

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