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What kinds of artifacts would indicate that a society had social divisions?

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alex14west | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:41 PM via web

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What kinds of artifacts would indicate that a society had social divisions?


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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 10, 2012 at 4:13 PM (Answer #1)

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One piece of evidence that a society has social divisions would be differences in burial. From the pharoahs to the chieftains of Mississippian polities, political leaders and elites were often buried with accoutrements of power that indicated their position in society. 

Archaeologists can also analyze the bones they find, which can often tell them much about diet and wear and tear. These can also be evidence of social stratification, as elites were often better fed, and performed less physical labor than common people. 

Evidence of organized religion and complex government, including complex iconographical systems and totems, also often point to social divisions in a society, as they usually accompanied the development of priestly classes as well as the rise of bureaucracies. 

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