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A form of social organization characterized by the existence of a chief who exercises central authority at the head of a social hierarchy in which an individual's status is determined by birth and nearness by kinship to the chief. The chief occupies a central role socially, politically, and economically. Characteristically, the chief operates some kind of redistributive system wherein food and/or goods from separate sectors of the chiefdom are brought together and then dispersed according to fixed social rules.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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