Inter-Asia Research Networksprocesses of the early Deccan as the background of the Andhra/SΣtavΣhana political formation briefly. Then it proceeds to characterise the early historical social formation of the Tamil macro region and its political formations represented by the three principal chiefly lineages (mπv∫ntar), namely the C∫ra, PΣndya and CΩla, the hill chieftains (v∫lir), and the village chieftains (πr-kilar or πr-mannar) in some detail. Historians making little difference between lineages and dynasties or chieftains and kings, have treated Andhra/SΣtavΣhana as a dynasty on the basis mainly of the genealogy given in the Puranas and the royal names mentioned in the inscriptions. They have treated the early C∫ra, PΣndya and CΩla as dynasties too on the basis mainly of allusions in the colophons of the Tamil heroic poems.The landscape ecotypes and human habitation in the Deccan and Andhra as revealed by archaeological studies show that the socio-economic processes thereof during the immediate post-Mauryan period were of the coexistence and interaction of multiple strategies of subsistence based on varying levels of technology ranging from those of the hunter-gatherers, primitive tribal agriculturists, agro-pastoral clans, plough farmer households, crafts producers and long distance traders. Most of the fertile alluvial plains along the Krishna and Godavari rivers were not under plough as yet, and plough agriculture was confined to small isolated pockets managed by local headmen and big merchants who had owned dΣsa/bhrutaka (slave) labour. Some of them were successors of the Mauryan officers like mahΣmΣtras, rajukas, prΣd∫sikas etc. Heirs of such office bearers of the Mauryan state seem to have continued as local chieftains (rathika-s and bhΩjaka-s) wielding control over resources and people. The SΣtavΣhana rulers must have emerged from among these prominent chiefly households, particularly of the merchant leader. This had involved only a binary social division between the chieftains and their dΣsa/bhruthka-s who ensured the former of goods and services, precluding the possibilities of any complex structural differentiation. Naturally, they were chieftains through-out their early phase until the localities witnessed wet-rice agrarian expansion and caste based social stratification with a remarkable influence of Brahmanical religion that subsequently conferred upon them Kshatriya identity and royal status, signifying the formation of the state.The V∫ntar represented biggest of chiefly lineages and there were three of them (mπv∫ntar or mπvar) namely: the C∫ras, PΣndyas and CΩlas. They had their core areas in Karπr, Madurai and Uraiyur with the peripheral strategic points at Muciri, KΩrkai and PuhΣr respectively. The C∫ras held sway over the kuriñji dominated zones of the Western Ghats towards sea, the PΣndyas, the mullai, pΣlai, neital dominated zones in the south central region of Tamilakam and the CΩras, the marutam dominated KΣv∫ri region. There was no notion of precisely demarcated territory and apart from references to core areas of each, the poems give us no clues to the actual spheres of each one’s control. The control got transmitted through subordinate chiefs towards the periphery where it waned and constantly fluctuated. There is no evidence for any regular periodic exaction in fixed measure or quantity by these chieftains who like the lesser chiefs had to depend on predatory campaigns and voluntary offerings. The returns from exchange relations must have enabled the V∫ntar to possess gold and other prestige items. They had a large body of dependents such as their kinsmen (kilainar), scholarly bards (pulavar), warrior chiefs (maravar, kilΣr and mannar), warrior men (maravar), bards(pΣnar and porunar) magico-religious functionaries and so on. Plunder was indispensable for them since their redistributive network 073