1st Edition

Social Complexity and Complex Systems in Archaeology

By Dries Daems Copyright 2021
    264 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    264 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Social Complexity and Complex Systems in Archaeology turns to complex systems thinking in search of a suitable framework to explore social complexity in Archaeology.

    Social complexity in archaeology is commonly related to properties of complex societies such as states, as opposed to so-called simple societies such as tribes or chiefdoms. These conceptualisations of complexity are ultimately rooted in Eurocentric perspectives with problematic implications for the field of archaeology. This book provides an in-depth conceptualisation of social complexity as the core concept in archaeological and interdisciplinary studies of the past, integrating approaches from complex systems thinking, archaeological theory, social practice theory, and sustainability and resilience science. The book covers a long-term perspective of social change and stability, tracing the full cycle of complexity trajectories, from emergence and development to collapse, regeneration and transformation of communities and societies. It offers a broad vision on social complexity as a core concept for the present and future development of archaeology.

    This book is intended to be a valuable resource for students and scholars in the field of archaeology and related disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology, as well as the natural sciences studying human-environment interactions in the past.

    1.Introduction;  2.The History of Complexity in Archaeology;  3.Conceptualising Social Complexity;  4.Social Complexity Trajectories in Anatolia;  5.Conclusions


    Dries Daems is Assistant Professor in Settlement Archaeology and Digital Archaeology at Middle East Technical University. He is also affiliated with the Sagalassos Project at University of Leuven. His research interests include social complexity, agent-based modelling, material studies, and human­environment interactions.

    "In summary, I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to have an up-to-date and interesting discussion of societal complexity, complex theory and social systems approaches. The author has successfully taken a very difficult topic and highlighted its key tenets in a largely accessible format, whilst also advocating for valuable methods to apply for processing the different range of archaeological evidence we are left with through which we must reconstruct past social complexity." - Clare Burke, Archaeologia Austriaca