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Abstract

The unpredictable nature of a key environmental resource (e.g., moisture) is often viewed as a major variable that guides economic decision-making and the form of the social organization required to implement adaptive strategies that will ensure the survival of the population. Several authors have recently argued that environment characterized by higher uncertainty (e.g., risk of crop failure) will exhibit a greater tempo of changing organizational forms and an overall higher levels of organizational complexity. (Ladefoged 1995; Graves and Ladefoged 1995; Dunnell 1999; Ladefoged and Graves 2000; Kirch 2000; Hammon 2001; Hunt and Lipo 2001). In these high-risk environments the construction of chiefly sponsored monumental architecture can suppress population numbers to below critical levels. Energy that could be expended on increasing agricultural production, thereby leading to increases in population levels, is diverted into "wasteful" activities, such as monumental construction.

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