I have the feeling that most of us, modern urbanites don't really have a good grasp on how hunter-gatherer societies are or used to be. I was just correcting someone who claimed that slavery existed among ancestral foragers, for example... but worst was the example given: the Vikings!
A lot of people don't seem to understand well the difference between agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies; in many other cases I have needed to object that Amazonian or Papuan natives are not true foragers but actually jungle farmers, and therefore have social structures that are more complex and quite different. But there are very few modern examples of real hunter-gatherers, mostly on the verge of extinction, but there are some, namely: Bushmen, Pygmies, Australian Aboriginals, Negritos, Andamanese and some Arctic peoples like the Inuit and the Nganasan (am I missing any?). These are diverse enough to constitute a good example of how real Paleolithic societies, our ancestors, might have been.
Victor Grauer has been exploring them in his latest posts at Music 000001 but yesterday's post is particularly insightful and synthetical. He makes clear that foragers like Bushmen and Pygmies have a set of values that are highly egalitarian and cooperative, while allowing for a great deal of individuality too. He makes a difference between these social values, transmitted generation after generation, that secure social cohesion and persistence, and the reality not always as idyllic as some would expect.
There are occasional problems in such "utopic" societies, like murder or wife beating or mere petty cheating. However the worst practices of "more advanced" societies are to be found nowhere:
What we do not see are evidences of: cannibalism, head-hunting, endemic warfare, female mutilation, prostitution, slavery, blood-feuds, raiding, etc.