Part of a resurgence in the comparative study of ancient societies, this book presents a variety of methods and approaches to comparative analysis through the examination of wide-ranging case studies. Each chapter is a comparative study, and the diverse topics and regions covered in the book contribute to the growing understanding of variation and change in ancient complex societies. The authors explore themes ranging from urbanization and settlement patterns, to the political strategies of kings and chiefs, to the economic choices of individuals and households. The case studies cover an array of geographical settings, from the Andes to Southeast Asia. The authors are leading archaeologists whose research on early empires, states, and chiefdoms is at the cutting edge of scientific archaeology.