Thirteen leading archaeologists have contributed to this innovative study of the socio-political processes - notably imitation, competition, warfare, and the exchange of material goods and information - that can be observed within early complex societies, particularly those just emerging into statehood. The common aim is to explain the remarkable formal similarities that exist between institutions, ideologies and material remains in a variety of cultures characterised by independent political centres yet to be brought under the control of a single, unified jurisdiction. A major statement of the conceptual approach is followed by ten case studies from a wide variety of times and places, including Minoan Crete, early historic Greece and Japan, the classic Maya, the American Mid - west in the Hopewellian period, Europe in the Early Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, and the British Isles in the late Neolithic.
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