Early State Formation: A Complete Rejection of the Circumscription Theory


Authors: Terry Stocker; Jianyi Xi’ao
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 18, Number 2 / September 2019

DOI: https://doi.org/10.30884/seh/2019.02.09

We evaluated Carneiro's ‘environmental circumscription’ theory and completely rejected it. It was an insidious ethnocentric prima facie construct. Attempting to develop a viable alternative to early state formation, we focused on food procurement, production and storage. Obviously, large population aggregates (characterizing a state by archaeologists) was only possible because they were in areas of unique abundant wild/renewable food resources, supplemented with agriculture in varying degrees of development. All earliest states followed a pattern of being located near a river mouth entering a sea or ocean. Thus, we propose that such areas produced large amounts of aquatic fauna (mainly fish) and sometimes flora, and these renewable resources helped support sizeable human populations. We label our theory: Unique Resource Constellation Theory (URCT).

Terry Stocker, Independent Scholar more

Jianyi Xiao, Xianyang Normal University more