Recent critiques of neoevolutionary formulations that focus primarily on the development of powerful hierarchies have called for broadening the empirical base for complex society studies. Redressing the neglect of sub-Saharan examples in comparative discussions on complex society, this book considers how case material from the region can enhance our understanding of the nature, origins and development of complexity. The archaeological, historical and anthropological case materials are relevant to a number of recent concerns, revealing how complexity has emerged and developed in a variety of ways. Contributors engage important theoretical issues, including the continuing influence of deeply embedded evolutionary notions in archaeological concepts of complexity, the importance of alternative modes of complex organization such as flexible hierarchies, multiple overlapping hierarchies, and horizontal differentiation, and the significance of different forms of power. The distinguished list of contributors include historians, archaeologists and anthropologists.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press