Complex societies: Middle range and state formation

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  • Created on: 10-04-17 11:02
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  • Complex societies and state formation
    • First complex societies
      • Regional polities: village, chiefdoms, middle range societies
        • political integration over more than one site Redistribution (fancy word for tax collection) Generalised leadership; political, economic, often religious.    Kin based social differentiation, (kin groups with higher status, rather than occupation or class)
          • Archaeological correlates of middle range societies; Site hierarchyMonumental architecture in centre, ‘conspicuous consumption’Burials often showing social differentiation
        • What happens to the surplus, who benefits (political economy
        • case studies:
          • Hawaii; about 50 000 people at the time of European contact (1780s), unified by Kamehameha but before that there is a chiefdom on each island. Environmental diversity; created opportunities for leadership (coordinating redistribution): Islands all have upland and lowland zones for rainfall agriculture, fishing and hunting and gathering, collecting food and resources into the centre.
            • Timothy Earle; leaders benefitted disproportionately. Nature of the technology meant it was easy for chiefs to control the economy, chiefs were not redistributing but collecting resources. Hawaiian chiefs are very showy and visibly wealthy; feather cloaks, different dress, different cultural practices.
              • Heiau; stone platforms. Smaller heiau for local ceremonies.Larger heiau eg Piilanhale: ordinary people cannot enter, but gather belowExpression of power through ritual, performance. Visibility and sense of specialness. Luakini; temple for human sacrifice, chiefs and high priests only. Most chiefs have an organised military forces, sacrifices of people who go against the chief, war.
                • Leaders benefited disproportionately, using surplus to fund political activities, warfare and ritual.
          • Upper Mantaro Valley, Peru
            • Jauja, Yanamarca 2 defensive walls on top of a hill; it takes 45 minutes to get down to the water source
              • People are at war with their neighbours; no big monument so they are living quite a tough life.
                • Densely packed urban centre, with tiny houses opening onto patio groups. A few house clusters distinguished by building care and size. Larger houses have slightly nicer stuff, more silver nicer ceramics; still some wealth differences. Why do people in satellite villages want to be attached to the centre; leaders are co-ordinating the defense of the community? Central gatherings (you can’t fit everyone into the centre though)
                  • Clear evidence for regional integration and site hierarchyA few high status individuals, access to metals, better diet; were probably co-ordinating defense but only had limited authority Not a highly stratified situation. Fewer resources to collect? Not much evidence of public performance and ritual except for feasting.Not a single paramount leader;situational authority.
          • Chaco canyon;
            • heterarchy> ordered but mostly horizontally rather than vertically. Power may be shared, as in a confederacy. Emphasis on social networks, consensus building.Not mutually exclusive, both structures exist in most societies.
              • Every house making turquoise bead offerings, no central control of wealth. Group orientated society. Kiva shared between small house sites. Nice pottery which suggests feasting, art,
            • 14 Greathouses (kiva); central places eg Chetro Ketl, large ritual spaces with apartments. Connected by straight roads, some massive (9m wide).
              • A lot of effort into building, very well made. Accommodation not lived in year round. Over engineered, used more wood (expensive) than they needed.
                • Exchange or redistribution centre?Political home to chiefs or elites who controlled a dispersed population?Non residential ceremonial centres for a dispersed population?Centre of a pan-pueblo cosmography (Lekson)
    • theories of leadership and complexity
      • Village, Chiefdom; (don’t call it that; ‘mid range societies’), State (Elman Service)
        • 1960s debate; the importance of leadership in evolutionary framework: Elman Service vs Morton Fried; leaders as managers, redistribution as a service, ensuring there can be more complexity,   vs leaders seeking benefit for themselves. as agriculture gives people more reliable surpluses.
          • Lewis Henry Morgan; ‘cultural evolution; savages, barbarism, civilisation’Services evolution of culture; 1960s processual ‘step’ model (band, tribe, chiefdom state)Fried; 1970s ‘ramp’ model: egalitarian, ranked, stratified
      • V Gordon Childe1936: Agricultural revolution, Urban revolution. Now seen as a more gradual transformation Huge change in the scale of human settlements
        • 5 primary characteristics of cities Size and density, wider scale of social integration Full time specialisation of labour Concentration of surplus Class structured ‘stratified’ society.  State organisation (transcending kinship)
          • Secondary characteristics; Monumental public works Long distance trade Standardised art Writing (none in South America) Arithmetic, geometry, astronomy
      • ‘The original affluent society’; hunter gatherers
        • So why did people accept leadership and inequality?
      • Carneiro 1981; ‘the state is an autonomous polity encompassing many communities, having a centralised government with the power to draft people for war or work, to levy and collect taxes, and to decree and enforce laws.’
        • Integration theories: Risk management, managing complex technologies (irrigation), administering trade.More general ideas: cultural ecology, systems theory.
          • Conflict theories Warfare and conquest Geographic circumscription; you can’t move.  Need for protection and security Exploitation of one class by another.
        • Archaeological correlatesSite hierarchy (usually four levels, capital, provincial cities, towns, villagesBurials, social differentiation through grave goodsArchitecture; houses reflecting status, markets, temples.
    • Case study: Oaxaca Valley
      • Archaic period ends 2000BC Formative period; early villages, sedentism etc to 300 ADPottery appears 1900-1400 BC
        • San Jose phase 1150-800 BC2 tiered site hierarchy, early leadership. Sites clustering around San Jose Mogote in the North. (good trade route to the Olmecs? Historical accident?)
          • Burials showing limited social differentiation (jade beads)Slight differentiation in housesFigurines; uses unknown but may represent high status ancestors.
          • San Jose Mogote; Danzante slabs  Ideology of conflict and warfare, threat, militarism; used in service of the state), monument building for social and ritual events.
      • Founding of Monte Alban 500-350 BCWhy no previous occupation there?)Defensive? Neutral location?Other states, feeling threatened?
        • Large central place with big state buildings; civic, non residential:Ball court for political ‘ball game’ with loser put to death, spectacular matches with lots of spectators. A lot of labour involved, going down the hill to get water; people squish to be secure!
        • Gallery of slain enemies; Danzantes Notice they are individuals, some have glyphs In the central plaza; threat of retribution by the state?
          • 200BC-AD 300Conquest slabs. First palaces built, population growing, start to conquer outside valley (rulers want as much tribute as they can ) Early states often expansive and militaristic.
            • ‘Early Classic period -AD 500 Contracting, new centres of power (Jalieza and Dainzu)
              • Chaos, collapse and reorganisation. Jalieza becomes largest site. Blanton et al. AD 1000-1520 Decentralised settlements, markets less controlled by elites Average wealth goes up, heterarchy.
                • Conclusion; state is very fluid Population growth occurs throughout but not steady. Rise of state and centralisation, peaks at the beginning. Followed by decline and decentralisation. Political power becomes more decentralised.
                  • Can’t assume linear trajectories. Look at long term perspective.
    • Case Study: Mesopotamia


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