THE SOUTHERN AEGEAN SYSTEM

Ina Berg

Abstract


Although world-systems theory was originally formulated with our modern economic system in mind (Wallerstein 1974), it was not long before archaeologists began to apply it to ancient societies. Archaeologists and world-system theorists alike both argued that Wallerstein had disregarded evidence of interconnected, hierarchical systems in prehistoric times (Schneider 1977; Chase-Dunn & Hall 1991, 1997; Kardulias 1999a). Pailes and Whitecotton (1979) were among the first to modify world-systems theory for use in pre-capitalist settings. Since then many archaeologists have looked at data and regions with a world-systems perspective in mind (e.g. Champion 1989; Bilde et al. 1993; Rowlands & Larsen 1987; Kardulias 1999a). Some have attempted to map Wallerstein's theory directly onto prehistory (Kohl 1979; Whitecotton & Pailes 1986; Ekholm & Friedman 1982). Others have found the world systems model heuristically useful but lacking the analytical power needed for their prehistoric cases (Blanton et al. 1981; Upham 1982; Plog 1983; Alcock 1993). Building on the assumption that ancient societies were not qualitatively, but only quantitatively, different from modern capitalist ones (Schneider 1977; Sherratt & Sherratt 1991), this study applies world systems theory to the Southern Aegean during the Middle and Late Bronze Age (ca. 2000-1550 BC).

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.1999.123

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