Measuring and Explaining Household Inequality in Antiquity

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

* Article: Inequality from the Bottom Up: Measuring and Explaining Household Inequality in Antiquity. Digital Archeology Record, Collection of Documents, 2016


Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)


“Archaeologists have traditionally approached social evolutionary questions from the top of the mound (pyramid, Great House, ziggurat). But what was going on down below was at least as important for the political structure and long-term prospects of society. In this session we present new, unpublished data on degree of inequality in prehistory in a number of times and places, measured using Gini indices or closely related measures of concentration in a distribution. We are particularly interested in wealth disparities measured at the level of the household, based on attributes such as floor area, storage area, etc. We also grapple with methodological issues arising from such endeavors; for example, what is the association between measures of inequality in burial assemblages and those based on household-based data? how do we gain a complete picture of the structure of inequality in a complex society? The papers also review and summarize suites of such measures to make arguments for or against models for variability in inequality through time or across societies.”