Skip to main content
Ref ID: 30143
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Drennan, Robert D.
Peterson, Christian E.
Title: Patterned variation in prehistoric chiefdoms
Date: 2006
Source: PNAS
Abstract: Comparative study of early complex societies (chiefdoms) conjures visions of a cultural evolutionary emphasis on similarities and societal typology. Variation within the group has not been as systematically examined but offers an even more productive avenue of approach to fundamental principles of organization and change. Three widely separated trajectories of early chiefdom development are compared here: the Valley of Oaxaca (Mexico), the Alto Magdalena (Colombia), and Northeast China. Archaeological data from all three regions are analyzed with the same tools to reveal variation in human activities, relationships, and interactions as these change in the emergence of chiefly communities. Patterning in this variation suggests the operation of underlying general principles, which are offered as hypotheses that merit further investigation and evaluation in comparative study of a much larger number of cases.
Date Created: 1/4/2007
Volume: 103
Number: 11
Page Start: 3960
Page End: 3967