Cultural evolution, much like general evolution, works from the assumption that cultures are descendent from much earlier ancestors. Human culture manifests itself in forms ranging from the small bands of hunters, through intermediate scale complex hunter-gatherers and farmers, to the high density urban settlements and complex polities that characterize much of today’s world.
The chapters in the volume examine the dynamic interaction between the micro- and macro-scales of cultural evolution, developing a theoretical approach to the archaeological record that has been termed evolutionary processual archaeology. The contributions in this volume integrate positive elements of both evolutionary and processualist schools of thought. The approach, as explicated by the contributors in this work, offers novel insights into topics that include the emergence, stasis, collapse and extinction of cultural patterns, and development of social inequalities. Consequently, these contributions form a stepping off point for a significant new range of cultural evolutionary studies.