A fundamental problem for anthropological archaeology lies in defining and explaining the evolutionary origins of social inequality. Researchers have offered a range of models emphasizing variability in the roles of managers, aggrandizers, ecological variability, and historical contexts. Recent studies suggest that the form of emergent inequality may have varied significantly between groups, implying that pathways to inequality may have varied as well. Unfortunately it has been difficult to test many of these models using archaeological data given their requirements for fine-grained assessments of spatiotemporal variability in many data classes. Recent research at the Bridge River site in British Columbia provides the opportunity to explore the utility of a range of explanatory models associated with early social inequality. Results of the study suggest that inequality, measured as significant variability in accumulation of a range of material wealth items, came late to the Bridge River site (ca. 1200–1300 cal. B.P.) and was associated with a period of demographic packing and apparent declining access to some critical subsistence resources. Assessment of interhousehold variability in demography, wealth accumulation, and occupational longevity suggests that markers of significant affluence manifested only in newly established houses. An important implication is that material wealth-based inequality may not have been hereditary in nature at Bridge River during the period prior to 1100 cal. B.P.