The origin and early development of social stratification is essentially an archaeological problem. The impressive advance of archaeological research has revealed that, first and foremost, the pre-eminence of stratified or class society in today’s world is the result of a long social struggle. This volume advances the archaeological study of social organisation in Prehistory, and more specifically the rise of social complexity in European Prehistory. Within the wider context of world Prehistory, in the last 30 years the subject of early social stratification and state formation has been a key subject on interest in Iberian Prehistory.
This book illustrates the differing forms of resistances, the interplay between change and continuity, the multiple paths to and from social complexity, and the ‘failures’ of states to form in Prehistory. It also engages with broader questions, such as: when did social stratification appear in western European Prehistory? What factors contributed to its emergence and consolidation? What are the relationships between the notions of social complexity, social inequality, social stratification and statehood? And what are the archaeological indicators for the empirical analysis of these issues? Focusing on Iberia, but with a permanent connection to the wider geographical framework, this book presents, for the first time, a chronologically comprehensive, up-to-date approach to the issue of state formation in prehistoric Europe.