1932

Abstract

As observed in recent centuries, the contemporary variety of kinship systems reflects millennia of human migration, cultural inheritance, adaptation, and diversification. This review describes key developments in prehistoric kinship, from matricentric hominin evolution to the Neolithic transition to agriculture and the heterogeneous resilience of matriliny. Starting with our hominin ancestors, kinship evolved among a cooperative breeding species to multilevel group structure among human hunter-gatherers, to substantial kinship changes brought on by the origins of intensified farming, to permanent settlements and unequal resource access. This review takes the approach that new forms of subsistence facilitated new equations of reproductive success, which changed cultural norms of kinship systems and heritable wealth. Subsequently, the formation of complex societies diminished kinship as the primary organizing principle of society. The article describes new methodologies and theoretical developments, along with critiques of bioarchaeological interpretations of prehistoric kinship.

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2022-10-24
2024-06-21
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