An Index of Sociocultural Development Applicable to Precivilized Societies



An Index of Sociocultural Development constructed by principal-components analysis correlated highly with the logarithm of precivilized societies' scores on Carneiro's Index of Cultural Accumulation, with the results of a Thurstone-type Latent-Distance analysis and with the logarithm of the maximum population of residential settlements in societies. It is suggested that the Indices of Sociocultural Development and Cultural Accumulation measure essentially the same concept on different scales but that the latter index also contains a small independent component, “Cultural Elaboration,” which it would be worth extracting by a suitable multivariate technique in order to study it separately.