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10: Reconstructing Socio-Political Organization

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    Learning Objectives

    • Describe the four categories used to characterize a political organization.
    • Compare and contrast egalitarian, rank, and stratified societies.
    • Explain some of the methods used by archaeologists to better understand the social characteristics of the societies they study.

    • 10.1: Socio-political Organization
      Political organization describes how the people of a community organize themselves and their relationship with other communities around them. Archaeologists use a system of classification developed by anthropologist Elman Service. These levels of political organization are known as: bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and states.
    • 10.2: Social Analysis
      When attempting to reconstruct the social and political organization of prehistoric societies, it can be a bit challenging. Archaeologists have to solely rely on the archaeological record that is recovered from the site. Archaeologists use a variety of techniques to identify the social dynamics of the past societies they study.
    • 10.3: Chapter 10 Review
      Review important concepts and definitions of key terms.

    Image: Ruins of the antique city of Tlos, Turkey. (2207). By Toksave under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    10: Reconstructing Socio-Political Organization is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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