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About the book:

"Stake[s] out a position that will affect future discussions of the emergence of chiefdoms. . . . promises to greatly increase our understanding of the emergence of inequality and institutionalized leadership positions."--John Scarry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

These compelling essays about Native American chiefs and their rise to power break new ground in the study of chiefdoms and their origins. Archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists bring up to date the information about many complex chiefdoms that flourished throughout the Americas, in which numerous villages and regions were ruled single-handedly by hereditary chiefs.
 The books focus on the leadership of chieftains offers a new perspective for examining the development of complex chiefly societies in the Americas. The geographically and chronologically diverse case studies highlight the dynamics of the temporary chieftaincy and the development of permanent, hereditary chiefdoms.

Foreword by Neil L. Whitehead
Preface by Elsa M. Redmond
Introduction: The Dynamics of Chieftaincy and the Development of Chiefdoms, by Elsa M. Redmond
1. What Happened at the Flashpoint? Conjectures on Chiefdom Formation at the Very Moment of Conception, by Robert L. Carneiro
2. Less than Meets the Eye: Evidence for Protohistoric Chiefdoms in Northern New Mexico, by Winifred Creamer and Jonathan Haas
3. In War and Peace: Alternative Paths to Centralized Leadership, by Elsa M. Redmond
4. Investigating the Development of Venezuelan Chiefdoms, by Charles S. Spencer
5. Tupinambá Chiefdoms? by William C. Sturtevant
6. Colonial Chieftains of the Lower Orinoco and Guayana Coast, by Neil L. Whitehead
7. War and Theocracy, by Pita Kelekna
8. The Muisca: Chiefdoms in Transition, by Doris Kurella
9. Social Foundations of Taino Caciques, by William Keegan, Morgan Maclachlan, and Brian Byrne
10. Native Chiefdoms and the Exercise of Complexity in Sixteenth-Century Florida, by Jerald T. Milanich
11. The Evolution of the Powhatan Paramount Chiefdom in Virginia, by Helen C. Rountree and E. Randolph Turner III

Elsa M. Redmond, research associate in the Department of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, is the author of Tribal and Chiefly Warfare in South America and A Fuego y Sangre: Early Zapotec Imperialism in the Cuicatlán Cañada, Oaxaca.

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