Future Directions

Over the last 30 years archaeological research by a wide range of scholars has transported us beyond the general recognition that the Neolithic was a pivotal economic and social event to the point where researchers are able to explore the more detailed nature of social relations at many different scales. Essentially this journey demonstrates the relevance of our reconstruction of the Neolithic revolution to critical anthropological issues of social differentation, demography, and ritual and civic organization. These studies have been instrumental in expanding our understanding of the Neolithic in the Near East while reaffirming our exploration of new and old topics from the standpoint of new data or methodological developments. Although hardly an exhaustive list, I want to briefly draw attention to sev eral topics and issues that are likely to become central in our future investigations of Neolithic social organization—most importantly the nature of civic governance and social differentiation in these communities, and the role of households and lineages in creating the framework for life in Neolithic settlements.

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