unilinear cultural evolution

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A late 19th‐century evolutionary theory that envisaged all human societies as evolving along a common track from simple hunting and gathering communities to literate civilizations. In this, all societies would pass through the same basic sequence of stages, although the speed of transition might vary. Reflections of such a way of thinking can be seen in the Three Age System and in schemes grounded in anthropological theory which identify band, tribe, and chiefdom as successive stages.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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