Understanding Early Civilizations A Comparative Study

ISBN-10: 0521705452
ISBN-13: 9780521705455
Edition: 2010
Authors: Bruce G. Trigger
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Description: This book offers the first detailed comparative study of the seven best-documented early civilizations: ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, Shang China, the Aztecs and adjacent peoples in the Valley of Mexico, the Classic Maya, the Inka, and the Yoruba.  More...

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Book details

List price: $35.99
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 4/16/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 774
Size: 6.75" wide x 9.00" long x 1.75" tall
Weight: 1.210
Language: English

This book offers the first detailed comparative study of the seven best-documented early civilizations: ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, Shang China, the Aztecs and adjacent peoples in the Valley of Mexico, the Classic Maya, the Inka, and the Yoruba. Unlike previous studies, equal attention is paid to similarities and differences in their sociopolitical organization, economic systems, religion, and culture. Many of this studys findings are surprising and provocative. Agricultural systems, technologies, and economic behaviour turn out to have been far more diverse than was expected. These findings and many others challenge not only current understandings of early civilizations but also the theoretical foundations of modern archaeology and anthropology. The key to understanding early civilizations lies not in their historical connections but in what they can tell us about similarities and differences in human behaviour.

Bruce G. Trigger is James McGill Professor in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. He received his PhD from Yale University and has carried out archaeological research in Egypt and the Sudan. His interests include the comparative study of early civilizations, the history of archaeology, and archaeological and anthropological theory. He has received various scholarly awards, including the prestigious Prix L�on G�rin from the Quebec government, for his sustained contributions to the social sciences. He is an honorary fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and an honorary member of the Prehistoric Society (UK). His numerous books include the first edition of A History of Archaeological Thought (Cambridge 1989), The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, Volume 1 (Cambridge 1996), co-edited with Wilcomb E. Washburn, and Understanding Early Civilizations (Cambridge 2003).

List of Illustrations
Preface
Introduction
Rationalism and Relativism
Comparative Studies
Defining 'Early Civilization'
Evidence and Interpretation
Sociopolitical Organization
Kingship
States: City and Territorial
Urbanism
Class Systems and Social Mobility
Family Organization and Gender Roles
Administration
Law
Military Organization
Sociopolitical Constants and Variables
Economy
Food Production
Land Ownership
Trade and Craft Specialization
Appropriation of Wealth
Economic Constants and Variables
Cognitive and Symbolic Aspects
Conceptions of the Supernatural
Cosmology and Cosmogony
Cult
Priests, Festivals, and the Politics of the Supernatural
The Individual and the Universe
Elite Art and Architecture
Literacy and Specialized Knowledge
Values and Personal Aspirations
Cultural Constants and Variables
Discussion
Culture and Reason
Conclusion
References
Index

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