Darwinian evolutionary theory provides the most powerful and thoroughly confirmed framework for understanding the history of life and the development of human culture. Recent attempts at developing Darwinian approaches in archaeology have tended to emphasize the smallest units of cultural inheritance as manifested in artifacts. While this agenda has offered a variety of important contributions, it has tended to draw attention away from some of archaeology's most critical goals, in particular, the documentation and explanation of the world's major cultural transitions (e.g., evolution of the village, development of social inequality, the emergence of agriculture, and the appearance of the state). The chapters in this volume seek to remedy this situation by reconsidering Darwinian evolutionary theory within an inclusive macroevolutionary framework. This chapter outlines core elements of cultural macroevolutionary theory drawing elements from traditional processual archaeology and recent theorizing in evolutionary archaeology. Individual contributions are situated within this context.
|Title of host publication
|Macroevolution in Human Prehistory
|Subtitle of host publication
|Evolutionary Theory and Processual Archaeology
|Springer New York
|Number of pages
|Published - 2009