Status and society in the Greek Neolithic, a multi-dimensional approach to the study of mortuary remains

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Fowler, Kent D.
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In this thesis, I propose a new method for mortuary analysis. This methodological approach is based upon the premise that the social rank and statuses held by members of a community provide better structural referents to the composition of a social system. Three dimensions of social distinctions are targeted for analysis in this study: vertical, horizontal and special status distinctions. A new technique is employed to quantify these dimensions of social distinctions. A mathematical model that delineates the structural and organizational properties of a social system using ratio and interval scales is then used to monitor social development and change over time and space. The mortuary data from the Greek Neolithic (6500-3200 B.C.) is used to illustrate this new methodology and its applicability to the study of social formation. The concepts and qualitative methods developed in this thesis proved useful in the study of Greek Neolithic mortuary differentiation, social distinctions, and social development. Thequantitative methods employed in this thesis revealed patterns of social differentiation and development that in many ways parallel the qualitative suggestions of earlier research. There is strong evidence to suggest that rank and status differentiation existed in Greek prehistory far earlier than previously expected. Overall, the results of this analysis suggest that the Greek Neolithic can no longer be characterized as a time when various semi-nomadic and sedentary groups lived during a period of social equality. Instead, it appears the economic and social inequality that characterizes subsequent periods of Greek prehistory have their origin in the Neolithic. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)