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complex society


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A recognized stage in evolutionary models of social organization that broadly equates with the idea of ‘states’ or ‘civilizations’ as relatively large‐scale societies in which there is institutionalized inequality and abundant bureaucracy, and power is distributed between several competing centres. Archaeologically, the emergence of such societies is recognized through the development of expansive regional political economies, evidence of corporate organization, the presence of large architectural monuments, distinctive iconography and ideology, and structured mortuary practice.

Subjects: Archaeology


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