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

Add to Cart

Product Details


$24.50 • £19.95 • €22.00

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
The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics, by Stephen Breyer, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene