Examining the Evidence for Social Inequality in Europe and Southwest Asia from the Upper Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age

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Scott Haddow


University of Copenhagen


DKK 44,500






A two-day conference bringing together a number of internationally recognized scholars in order to discuss the development of social inequality in prehistoric societies using a diverse range of methodologies.


While the origins of social inequality are rooted deep in the human past, the point at which these first began to materialize is the subject of much debate. The development of settled agriculture, which began over 12,000 years ago in Southwest Asia, is commonly seen as the main driver for the emergence of societies structured upon the differential distribution of resources. There is now increasing evidence, however, that various forms of social differentiation existed well before the emergence of fully sedentary agricultural societies. Archaeologists must reconsider how we define and study social inequality by considering the specific circumstances under which early societies with fluid and flexible forms of social differentiation are transformed into hierarchical nation states.


We have invited six internationally recognized researchers who specialize in social inequality in prehistoric Europe and Southwest Asia. Each will give an hour-long presentation on their research, followed by roundtable discussions between the speakers and other conference participants over a two-day period. Each speaker will explore the conference themes via a number of material correlates traditionally associated with social inequality in the archaeological record between the Upper Paleolithic and Early Bronze Age, e.g. funerary practices, resource abundance, demography and settlement patterns.

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