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1 February 2011 Reconstructing the History of Marriage Strategies in Indo-European—Speaking Societies: Monogamy and Polygyny
Laura Fortunato
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Explanations for the emergence of monogamous marriage have focused on the cross-cultural distribution of marriage strategies, thus failing to account for their history. In this paper I reconstruct the pattern of change in marriage strategies in the history of societies speaking Indo-European languages, using cross-cultural data in the systematic and explicitly historical framework afforded by the phylogenetic comparative approach.

The analysis provides evidence in support of Proto-Indo-European monogamy, and that this pattern may have extended back to Proto-Indo-Hittite. These reconstructions push the origin of monogamous marriage into prehistory, well beyond the earliest instances documented in the historical record; this, in turn, challenges notions that the cross-cultural distribution of monogamous marriage reflects features of social organization typically associated with Eurasian societies, and with “societal complexity” and “modernization” more generally. I discuss implications of these findings in the context of the archaeological and genetic evidence on prehistoric social organization.

© 2011 Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Michigan 48201-1309
Laura Fortunato "Reconstructing the History of Marriage Strategies in Indo-European—Speaking Societies: Monogamy and Polygyny," Human Biology 83(1), 87-105, (1 February 2011).
Received: 28 April 2010; Accepted: 1 September 2010; Published: 1 February 2011
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