ANT 380K • Archaeology of Complex Societies
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
In this course we will explore theoretical and methodological approaches to societies with complex social and political institutions. Our focus will be on social and political inequality and the structures and institutions that perpetuate it, and so our definition of complexity will be broad enough to include historical and prehistoric cases. The course will emphasize both theories of culture and society that pertain to complex societies and the archaeological methodologies -- some new, some old -- that are most effective in allowing us to understand them. We will examine the theories concerning the nature of complex societies and their origins, looking particularly at the role of cultural or ethnic heterogeneity in situations of emerging complexity. We will also spend a good part of the course looking at the key methodologies that allow us to understand how complex societies were organized, especially through the analysis of inter- and intra-site settlement patterns, households, trade and exchange, architecture, burials, craft specialization, shamanism and ceremonialism, warfare, and kinship.