Insights into Social Inequality: A Quantitative Study of Neolithic to Early Medieval Societies in Southwest Germany [Paperback]

Dr. Ralph Grossmann(Author)

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ISBN: 9789088909771 | Published by: Sidestone Press | Series: ROOTS | Volume: 1 | Year of Publication: 2021 | 236p, H11 x W8.27, 109 full color/33 b&w
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Hardback - ISBN: 9789088909788

Insights into Social Inequality

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Social inequality is a subject of contemporary concerns. Life capabilities and the access to resources vary significantly in rich and poor countries, between elites and others. Furthermore, inequalities based on bio-anthropological and non-bio-anthropological causes are almost universal. Accordingly, inequality was also inherent in past societies and archaeologists have continually examined and interpreted social inequalities in sources such as burial grounds.

This book continues such analyses with a new multi-proxy approach. It reveals social inequalities in selected past burial grounds from Southwestern Germany. The burial grounds date to the Early Neolithic (Schwetzingen), the Late Neolithic (Lauda-Königshofen), the Early Bronze Age (Singen), the Early Iron Age (Magdalenenbergle), and the Early Medieval period (Horb-Altheim). The challenge was to identify hierarchical and heterarchical differences and inequalities within the burial grounds based on a multitude of different proxies. The examination encompasses variations in the distribution of grave goods, burial pit sizes, bio-anthropological and isotope data. Furthermore, spatial analyses of burial grounds and, in particular, on the distances between the graves play an essential role in this examination.

The results reveal social inequalities among and within genders and age cohorts that are differently pronounced in the respective cemeteries. Furthermore, the results of multi-proxy analyses lead to the interpretation that the sites differ concerning the respective degrees of inequality and power strategy modes. In detail, it can be observed that the Early Iron Age and the Early Bronze Age sites demonstrate a relatively high degree of inequality as compared to the other sites. More specifically, the investigation of sites from the Early Iron Age and the Late Neolithic rather reveal a network-based power strategy, whereas sites from the Early Neolithic, the Early Bronze Age and the Early Medieval period tend to show a corporate-based power strategy.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Social theories of social inequality

3. Empirical approach to social inequality

4. Methods
4.1. Differences in values of grave goods and burial pit sizes
4.2. Bio-anthropological data
4.3. Stable isotope analyses
4.4. Pathologies
4.5. Spatial analyses
4.6. Statistical tests

5. Source critique

6. Schwetzingen (Early Neolithic)
6.1. Spatial analysis
6.2. Values of grave goods
6.3. Burial pit sizes
6.4. Values of grave goods and burial pit sizes
6.5. Lorenz curves and Gini indices
6.6. Distance to the next burial
6.7. Diet and status
6.8. Body height
6.9. Hierarchy, heterogeneity, transformation
6.10. Summary

7. Lauda-Königshofen (Late Neolithic)
7.1. Spatial analysis
7.2. Values of grave goods
7.3. Burial pit sizes
7.4. Values of grave goods and burial pit sizes
7.5. Lorenz curves and Gini indices
7.6. Distance to the next burial
7.7. Diet, growth and status: Nitrogen (δ15N)
7.8. Hierarchy, heterogeneity, transformation
7.9. Summary

8. Singen on Hohentwiel (Early Bronze Age)
8.1. Spatial analysis
8.2. Values of grave goods
8.3. Burial pit sizes
8.4. Values of grave goods and burial pit sizes
8.5. Lorenz curves and Gini indices
8.6. Distance to the next burial
8.7. Diet, growth and status: Nitrogen (δ15N)
8.8. Heterogeneity and transformation
8.9. Strontium isotope analysis
8.10. Summary

9. Magdalenenbergle of Villingen (Early Iron Age)
9.1. Spatial Analysis
9.2. Values of grave goods
9.3. Burial pit sizes
9.4. Values of grave goods and burial pit sizes
9.5. Lorenz curves and Gini indices
9.6. Distance to the central burial
9.7. Diet and social position: Nitrogen isotope analysis (δ15N)
9.8. Tooth decay
9.9. Strontium isotope analysis
9.10. Summary

10. Horb-Altheim (Early Medieval)
10.1. Spatial analysis
10.2. Values of grave goods
10.3. Burial pit sizes
10.4. Lorenz curves and Gini indices
10.5. Values of grave goods and burial pit sizes
10.6. Distance to the next burial
10.7. Growth and body height
10.8. Pathologies
10.9. Heterogeneity and transformation
10.10. Summary

Summary
Conclusion
References

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