Settlement, Subsistence and Social Complexity: Essays Honoring the Legacy of Jeffrey R. Parsons

This volume brings together the work of some of the most prominent archaeologists to document the impact of Jeffrey R. Parsons on contemporary archaeological method and theory. Parsons is a central figure in the development of settlement pattern archaeology, in which the goal is the study of whole social systems at the scale of regions. In recent decades, regional archaeology has revolutionised how we understand the past, contributing new data and theoretical insights on topics such as early urbanism, social interactions among cities, towns and villages, and long-term population and agricultural change, among many other topics relevant to the study of early civilisations and the evolution of social complexity. Over the past 40 years, the application of these methods by Parsons and others has profoundly changed how we understand the evolution of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican civilisation, and now similar methods are being applied in other world areas. The book's emphasis is on the contribution of settlement pattern archaeology to research in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, but its authors also point to the value of regional research in South America, South Asia, and China. Topics addressed include early urbanism, household and gender, agricultural and craft production, migration, ethnogenesis, the evolution of early chiefdoms, and the emergence of pre-modern world-systems.