Cover: The Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire, from Harvard University PressCover: The Creation of Inequality in PAPERBACK

The Creation of Inequality

How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire

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Product Details


$25.00 • £20.95 • €22.50

ISBN 9780674416772

Publication Date: 10/06/2014

Academic Trade

648 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

30 halftones, 42 line illustrations


  • Preface
  • Part I: Starting Out Equal
    • 1. Genesis and Exodus
    • 2. Rousseau’s “State of Nature”
    • 3. Ancestors and Enemies
    • 4. Why Our Ancestors Had Religion and the Arts
    • 5. Inequality without Agriculture
  • Part II: Balancing Prestige and Equality
    • 6. Agriculture and Achieved Renown
    • 7. The Ritual Buildings of Achievement-Based Societies
    • 8. The Prehistory of the Ritual House
    • 9. Prestige and Equality in Four Native American Societies
  • Part III: Societies That Made Inequality Hereditary
    • 10. The Rise and Fall of Hereditary Inequality in Farming Societies
    • 11. Three Sources of Power in Chiefly Societies
    • 12. From Ritual House to Temple in the Americas
    • 13. Aristocracy without Chiefs
    • 14. Temples and Inequality in Early Mesopotamia
    • 15. The Chiefly Societies in Our Backyard
    • 16. How to Turn Rank into Stratification: Tales of the South Pacific
  • Part IV: Inequality in Kingdoms and Empires
    • 17. How to Create a Kingdom
    • 18. Three of the New World’s First-Generation Kingdoms
    • 19. The Land of the Scorpion King
    • 20. Black Ox Hides and Golden Stools
    • 21. The Nursery of Civilization
    • 22. Graft and Imperialism
    • 23. How New Empires Learn from Old
  • Part V: Resisting Inequality
    • 24. Inequality and Natural Law
  • Notes
  • Sources of Illustrations
  • Index

Awards & Accolades

  • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2012
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