Macroevolution in Human Prehistory

Evolutionary Theory and Processual Archaeology

  • Anna Prentiss
  • Ian Kuijt
  • James C. Chatters

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Anna Marie Prentiss, Ian Kuijt, James C. Chatters
    Pages 1-19
  3. Issues in Macroevolutionary Theory

  4. Macroevolutionary Approaches to Cultural Change

  5. Cultural Diversification, Stasis and Extinction as Macroevolutionary Processes

  6. Macroevolutionary Theory in Archaeology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 273-273
    2. Niles Eldredge
      Pages 297-316
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 1-8

About this book


Cultural evolution, much like general evolution, works from the assumption that cultures are descendent from much earlier ancestors. Human culture manifests itself in forms ranging from the small bands of hunters, through intermediate scale complex hunter-gatherers and farmers, to the high density urban settlements and complex polities that characterize much of today’s world.

The chapters in the volume examine the dynamic interaction between the micro- and macro-scales of cultural evolution, developing a theoretical approach to the archaeological record that has been termed evolutionary processual archaeology. The contributions in this volume integrate positive elements of both evolutionary and processualist schools of thought. The approach, as explicated by the contributors in this work, offers novel insights into topics that include the emergence, stasis, collapse and extinction of cultural patterns, and development of social inequalities. Consequently, these contributions form a stepping off point for a significant new range of cultural evolutionary studies.


Cultural Evolution Evolution Holocene Landscape Archaeology Material Culture Neolithic cultural evolutionary studies evolutionary theory human culture hunter-gatherer landscape macroevolution macroevolutionary theory micro- and macro-scales processual archaeology

Editors and affiliations

  • Anna Prentiss
    • 1
  • Ian Kuijt
    • 2
  • James C. Chatters
    • 3
  1. 1.Dept. AnthropologyUniversity of MontanaMissoulaU.S.A.
  2. 2.Dept. AnthropologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameU.S.A.
  3. 3.Dept. Earth & Environmental SciencesCalifornia State UniversityFresnoU.S.A.

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag New York 2009
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Behavioral Science
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4419-0681-6
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4419-0682-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site