Early states have traditionally been described as "integrated," having developed in a process in which differentiated and stratified social groups were recombined under new kinds of central leadership. These new leaders then controlled the most significant aspects of production, consumption, exchange, and the flow of information, and maintained a monopoly on force/law. Collapse occurs when something bad happens--climate change, triumph of local enemies, invasions of barbarians. My paper questions the concept of "integration" in ancient states. I also consider the idea of a "situational hierarchy" to explain the precocious nature of early cities and states and their subsequent rapid collapses. I'll begin in Mesopotamia but shall wander through areas very remote from there