The Archaeology of Complex Societies: A project presented by the graduate students of The Ohio State University Department of Anthropology

Case Studies Lobby: Your Gateway to the Past

Now it's time to take what you've learned about complex societies and apply it to some actual archaeological data. We have included seven case studies here, spanning many different time periods and geographic areas.

You need only visit the societies of your choosing, though we recommend taking a look at them all! You might start with a visit to Cahokia, an early bustling North American city, before making your way across the pond to one of the most famous cities of all: Athens. While you're in the area, stop in at Ugarit for mythology and religions, or Çatalhöyük for fascinating domestic households and burials. If you prefer North and South American climates, Cusco and Teotihuacan might be for you. And don't forget to venture over to the Nok in West Africa for figurines and a site you won't soon forget.

Each case study includes information about subsistence strategies, political organization, economy, environment, and ideology within the particular site or civilization. We've included some guiding questions alongside each example, but what we really would like you to focus on are which, if any, of the provided theoretical definitions best explain the cases, and whether or not you think the civilizations can be classified as complex. After you finish moving through the case studies, be sure to visit the "Conclusions" page for a wrap-up of the exhibit. Enjoy!

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