In anthropology, an acephalous society (from the Greek ἀκέφαλος "headless") is a society which lacks political leaders or hierarchies.
Such groups are also known non-stratified societies.
Typically these societies are small-scale, organized into bands or tribes that make decisions through consensus decision making rather than appointing permanent chiefs or kings. Most foraging or hunter-gatherer societies are acephalous. Some exceptions to this trend are the Indus River Valley Civilization, Minoan Crete and the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture.