Global Perspectives on the Collapse of Complex Systems

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The recurrent collapse of human societies is a topic that is at once both fascinating and potentially troubling, and this edited volume offers some new thoughts on this important subject. The introduction discusses the topic at a theoretical level, and references a variety of cases (both past and present) from around the globe to illustrate various conditions and circumstances under which collapse and transformation occur. Nine chapters present specific studies from Iron Age central Europe, the Nilgiri Hills of south India, the early Bronze Age of north-central China, Maori New Zealand, Peru (Moche, Nasca, and the Chiribaya chiefdom of the south coast), late prehistoric and early historic Amazonia and the Caribbean, and the Cahokia chiefdom of eastern North America. With its global scope and diversity of case studies, the book expands our understanding of the various dimensions and historical circumstances faced by human societies that ultimately failed.