||At a time when archaeology increasingly focuses on local histories, Norm Yoffee has continued to be a strong voice for the importance of big questions, grand historical narrative, and a comparative approach, even as he has critiqued neo-evolutionary models of social change. As he has pointed out, trajectories of political development vary, there is a diversity of kinds of states, and some societies simply do not fit into stages.
Neo-evolutionary models can also be criticized for ignoring history in a fundamental sense. Maya tribes are not connected with Maya states, which precludes archaeologists from posing questions about long-term continuities of culture that distinguish one civilization from another.
In this paper, then, I suggest how particular configurations of culture could persist over millennia, with examples drawn from the Middle East that focus on feasting and political practice.