The creation and maintenance of influential leaders and authorities is one of the key themes of archaeological and historical enquiry. However the social dynamics of authorities and leaders in the Mesolithic remains a largely unexplored area of study. The role and influence of authorities can be remarkably different in different situations yet they exist in all societies and in almost all social contexts from playgrounds to parliaments. Here we explore the literature on the dynamics of authority creation, maintenance and contestation in egalitarian societies, and discuss the implications for our interpretation and understanding of the formation of authorities and leaders and changing social relationships within the Mesolithic
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