Alternative Pathways to Complexity

A Collection of Essays on Architecture, Economics, Power, and Cross-Cultural Analysis

edited by Lane F. Fargher and Verenice Y. Heredia Espinoza

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 “Convincing, compelling and impressive.”
—Verónica Pérez Rodríguez, SUNY Albany

"[T]he volume represents an important contribution to the examination of issues for which Blanton has furthered scholarship, organized as three sections with cases from Mesoamerica, the Old World, and cross-cultural studies."
American Antiquity


Alternative Pathways to Complexity focuses on the themes of architecture, economics, and power in the evolution of complex societies. Case studies from Mesoamerica, Asia, Africa, and Europe examine the relationship between political structures and economic configurations of ancient chiefdoms and states through a framework of comparative archaeology.

A group of highly distinguished scholars takes up important issues, theories, and methods stemming from the nascent body of research on comparative archaeology to showcase and apply important theories of households, power, and how the development of complex societies can be extended and refined. Drawing on the archaeological, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic records, the chapters in this volume contain critical investigations on the role of collective action, economics, and corporate cognitive codes in structuring complex societies.

Alternative Pathways to Complexity is an important addition to theoretical development and empirical research on Mesoamerica, the Old World, and cross-cultural studies. The theoretical implications addressed in the chapters will have broad appeal for scholars grappling with alternative pathways to complexity in other regions as well as those addressing diverse cross-cultural research.

Contributors: Sarah B. Barber, Cynthia L. Bedell, Christopher S. Beekman, Frances F. Berdan, Tim Earle, Carol R. Ember, Gary M. Feinman, Arthur A. Joyce, Stephen A. Kowalewski, Lisa J. LeCount, Linda M. Nicholas, Peter N. Peregrine, Peter Robertshaw, Barbara L. Stark, T. L. Thurston, Deborah Winslow, Rita Wright

Science Magazine


Lane F. Fargher is investigator in the Department of Human Ecology, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN—Unidad Mérida, Yucatán, México and codirector of the Tlaxcallan Archaeological Project (in Tlaxcala, Mexico). A Mesoamerican archaeologist and cross-cultural researcher, he is interested in the role of cooperation and collective action in markets, ancient cities, landscapes, and households.

Verenice Y. Heredia Espinoza is investigator in the Centro de Estudios Arqueológicos of El Colegio de Michoacán, A.C. and codirector of the Regional Survey and the Trajectory of Complexity in the Magdalena Lake Basin (in Jalisco, Mexico) and the Tlaxcallan Archaeological Project (in Tlaxcala, Mexico). Her research interests are alternative pathways to complexity, political economy, settlement patterns, regional analysis, and cross-cultural research.

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  • Hardcover Price: $46.00
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60732-532-1
  • Ebook Price: Open Access
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-533-8
  • Publication Month: December
  • Publication Year: 2016
  • Pages: 422
  • Illustrations: 54 figures
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Lane F. Fargher and Verenice Y. Heredia Espinoza
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-532-1
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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