Document Type

Book Chapter


Tobias L. Kienlin

Andreas Zimmerman

Publication Title

Before Elites: Alternatives to Hierarchical Systems in Modelling Social Formations


Universitätsforschungen zur prähistorischen Archäologie

Publication Date


Publisher location

Bonn, Germany

First Page


Last Page


Volume Number


Place of conference

Bochum, Germany

Conference Sponsor

International Conference at the Ruhr-Universität

Abstract/ Summary

In directing us “beyond elites”, the editors of this volume invite us to consider not only whether we have over-estimated the centralized control that metal working enabled or demanded in prehistoric Europe but also to move beyond standard typologies of political forms and evolutionary concepts (Kienlin, this volume). To move beyond elites, of course, we must understand what constitutes an “elite” and elite society. If we take these concepts to imply some kind of socially reproduced restriction on access to leadership positions and accompanying social stratification, then we are asked to consider whether Bronze or Iron Age European societies operated in the absence of an ascribed hierarchy and significant political complexity.

Publisher Statement

© 2012 by Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn


publisher's version of the published document