1932

Abstract

Property determines exclusive rights to things. It is a key theoretical concept in the social sciences and a material reality in human societies. Since the defining work of Lewis Henry Morgan, property has been studied by anthropologists interested in human economies, societies, and social evolution. Cross-cultural studies suggest systematic associations of contrasting property rights with particular characteristics of social institutions and resource developments. From the works of Childe, Adams, and Renfrew, archaeologists have considered property as related to ecological concepts of territoriality and to Marxist concepts of control and alienation. Techniques to study property archaeologically included patterns of labor investment, warfare, settlement distributions, and physical marking. Although each technique is open to alternative interpretations, combining the techniques provides a robust description of property regimes in prehistory.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.anthro.29.1.39
2000-10-01
2024-06-19
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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.anthro.29.1.39
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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