Comparative Research

Chiefdom Datasets Project

The Chiefdoms Datasets Project (CDP) is compiling, analyzing, and comparing previously published primary archaeological data on settlement distribution, community organization, demography, public works, household artifact assemblages, and burials for more than five dozen trajectories of early complex society development (or “chiefdomization”) from around the world. Its aim is to identify patterns of societal change and to better understand the social forces at work in the trajectories that comprise these different patterns. Principal collaborators are Robert D. Drennan and C. Adam Berrey.

In this presentation, delivered as part of the Quantitative History Webinar Series on March 10, 2022, Robert D. Drennan explains how our approach puts into practice the idea sometimes attributed to the American author Mark Twain that “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.” The different rhymes that can be seen in chiefdomization trajectories lead eventually to chiefly societies with different characteristics.

A book-length treatment of CDP results has recently been submitted for publication and is currently under review.