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The Organization of Ancient Economies
A Global Perspective


  • Date Published: September 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108494700

£ 31.99

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About the Authors
  • In this book, Kenneth Hirth provides a comparative view of the organization of ancient and premodern society and economy. Hirth establishes that humans adapted to their environments, not as individuals but in the social groups where they lived and worked out the details of their livelihoods. He explores the variation in economic organization used by simple and complex societies to procure, produce, and distribute resources required by both individual households and the social and political institutions that they supported. Drawing on a wealth of archaeological, historic, and ethnographic information, he develops and applies an analytical framework for studying ancient societies that range from the hunting and gathering groups of native North America, to the large state societies of both the New and Old Worlds. Hirth demonstrates that despite differences in transportation and communication technologies, the economic organization of ancient and modern societies are not as different as we sometimes think.

    • Provides a comparative analysis of the domestic and political economies in ancient and premodern societies
    • Examines and compares the economic structures of forager, pastoral and agricultural societies ranging from simple bands and tribes to complex states
    • Provides a framework with which to examine and compare the structures of ancient and premodern economies
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108494700
    • length: 462 pages
    • dimensions: 260 x 185 x 26 mm
    • weight: 1.15kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The structure of ancient economy
    2. The domestic economy
    3. The community of households: informal
    4. From households to palaces: leaders, chiefs, and their households
    5. Financing formal institutions: systems of direct production
    6. Taxation, rent, and patronage: mobilization of institutional resources
    7. The role of merchants and trade in ancient society
    8. The nature and origin of independent craft production
    9. On markets and marketplaces
    10. On first principles of the ancient economy: a concluding discussion.

  • Author

    Kenneth Hirth, Pennsylvania State University
    Kenneth Hirth is Professor of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University. An economic anthropologist who has conducted archaeological research in Mexico, Honduras, Peru, and Turkey that has spanned 12,000 years of human development, he has authored, edited, and co-authored nineteen books on different aspects of Mesoamerican society and economy. Hirth is currently a Senior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks Library and Research Collections in Washington, DC. He has received National Geographic Society's Career Achievement Award in Archaeology (2000) and the Excellence in Lithic Studies Award from the Society of American Archaeology (1998).

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