Ten Thousand Years of Inequality: The Archaeology of Wealth Differences (The University of Arizona Press, 2018) co-edited by SFI External Professor Tim Kohler and Michael Smith (Arizona State University) explores wealth inequality in historic human societies. Melding archeology, anthropology, and tools from modern economics, the book presents a set of quantitative measurements of ancient wealth disparities. Its chapters focus on societies ranging from hunter-gatherers to farmer villages to agrarian states and empires. Ancient Old World societies, the authors conclude, had higher levels of inequality than their New World counterparts.

The Emergence of Premodern States (SFI Press, 2018), edited by SFI External Professors Jeremy A. Sabloff and Paula L.W. Sabloff, tackles one of the most deceptively simple inquiries in archaeology: How did humans transition from hunter-gatherer societies into states — collective entities that are the movers and shakers of the modern world? In this volume, archaeologists, anthropologists, and evolutionary theorists investigate why, and how, this transition occurred independently in so many parts of the world, but not in others.  The contributors leverage innovative methodologies — including agent-based modeling, network analysis, and theoretical applications of evolutionary biology — to push quantitative archaeology and anthropology in new directions.

From the Summer 2018 Parallax Newsletter. To subscribe to the paper newsletter, email news@santafe.edu.