Check out Ken MacLeods discussion of possible evidence for a Neolithic revolution that may have replaced a sanguinary theocracy with a non-hierarchical society that lasted for the next three millennia.
While one must be wary of succumbing to wishful thinking when evaluating such hypotheses, its certainly interesting. Plus its nice to see Çatalhöyük spelled correctly for a change. Outside of Turkey, Höyük is frequently, and used to be almost invariably, spelled Hüyük a most unlikely spelling given how Turkish syllable formation works. (I dont remember much of the Turkish I once learned, but I remember that much!)
Don’t forget this earlier interpretation of the Indus Valley civilization. Similar positive evaluation, but with a more explicitly market anarchist twist.
According to Lawrence Angel (Angel, Lawrence J., Early neolithic skeletons from Catal Hüyük: demography and pathology, in: Anatolian Studies, Journal of the British Institute of Archeology, London, 1973) a significant number of inhabitants seem to have suffered from malnutrition, malaria and other diseases.
I am neither a medical scientist nor an archeologist, so I am not able to estimate Angel’s work; moreover I may be biased towards MacLeod because of his stance on Israel.
I might be wrong, but to me it sounds like another quest for some ‘Golden Age’…
And anyway: do we advance libertarianism by burying our dead in the kitchen?
I don’t think it’s being defended as an ideal society — just as a successful overthrow of a nasty state that didn’t replace it with another state. As always, stateless societies should be judged by comparing them with states of comparable economic and cultural development.
But that’s what MacLeod suggests (‘free, equal, happy and peaceful…’)…
Well, “free, equal, and peaceful” could be accurate even if the standard of living was abysmal. “Happy” might not apply if we’re using strict Aristotelean standards, but it might well apply if it means “reasonably contented” or perhaps “significantly more contented than previously.”