"Centre and Periphery" explores the varying dynamic relationships that have developed between the center--seen not as a simple physical location, but as a base of power and influence--and the periphery of societies. It initiates a new worldwide debate within archaeology which illuminates our understanding of long-term social transformations in pre-capitalist societies.
The contributors examine the mechanisms that reinforced inequalities in social relations, distribution of power, access to knowledge, control over symbolism and ritual, religious cults and even literacy. The implications for the archaeology of hierarchical societies are far-reaching. The book shows, through wide-ranging case studies, that the variety of material evidence discovered by archaeologists may reveal that in spite of the fact that peoples with a distinctive material culture were originally treated as homogenous, the rituals and political activities practiced by these peoples are, in many cases, unrepresentative of many groups within the community. The center of cultural practice differs fundamentally from the periphery.
"This outstanding overview creates an effective framework on which to hang 13 diverse papers. These papers are tightly written and good editing successfully merged them into a very useful volume."