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Part I - The Origins of Conflict

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 March 2020

Garrett G. Fagan
Pennsylvania State University
Linda Fibiger
University of Edinburgh
Mark Hudson
Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte, Germany
Matthew Trundle
University of Auckland
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Print publication year: 2020

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Bibliographic Essay

Early suggestions that the past was not as peaceful as was typically portrayed were put forward by Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Irenäus in ‘Aggression in the !Ko-Bushmen’, in Nettleship, Martin A. and Givens, R. Dale (eds.),War, Its Causes and Correlates (The Hague: De Gruyter Mouton, 1975), pp. 281–96, and The Biology of Peace and War: Men, Animals and Aggression (New York: Viking, 1979); and by Webster, David in ‘Warfare and the Evolution of the State: A Reconsideration’, American Antiquity 40. 4 (1975), 464–70. Recent thinking about prehistoric warfare really began with Keeley, Lawrence H. and his book War before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).

This rethink spawned a number of more specific studies, such as those in Allen, Mark W. and Jones’s, Terry L. edited volume, Violence and Warfare among Hunter-Gatherers (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2014), and Lambert, Patricia M.’s ‘The Archaeology of War: A North American Perspective’, Journal of Archaeological Research 10.3 (2002), 207–41). Several new syntheses of the extent, great time depth, deadliness and relevance of ancient warfare also appeared, including Gat’, Azars extensive War in Human Civilization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006) and my own more general treatment (with Katherine E. Register), Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2003).

New data and their interpretation have given rise to approaches exploring the evolution of altruism ( Bowles, Samuel, ‘Did Warfare among Ancestral Hunter-Gatherers Affect the Evolution of Human Social Behaviors?’, Science 324.5932 (2009), 1293–8) and modelling social change ( Turchin, Peter, ‘Warfare and the Evolution of Social Complexity: A Multilevel-Selection Approach’, Structure and Dynamics 4.3 (2010), 137, and War and Peace and War: The Life Cycles of Imperial Nations (New York: Pi Press, 2005), as well as Roscoe, Paul, ‘Intelligence, Coalitional Killing, and the Antecedents of War’, American Anthropologist 109.3 (2007), 485–95).

It has also opened new interest by evolutionary psychologists: Benenson, Joyce F. with Markovits, Henry, Warriors and Worriers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013); Shackelford, Todd K. and Hansen, Ranald D. (eds.), The Evolution of Violence (New York: Springer, 2014) and led to provocative comparisons with chimpanzee conflict ( Peterson, Dale and Wrangham, Richard, Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1997)).

Several anthropologists have offered different interpretations of the time depth, universality and deadliness of warfare in the past: Kelly, Raymond C., Warless Societies and the Origin of War (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000); Brian Ferguson, R. and Whitehead, Neil L. (eds.), War in the Tribal Zone: Expanding States and Indigenous Warfare (Santa Fe,CA: School of American Research Press, 1992); Otterbein, Keith F., How War Began (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2004); Fry, Douglas P., Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) and more recently Fry, Douglas P., ‘Life without War’, Science 336.6083 (2012), 879–84. This debate is far from finished.

Bibliographic Essay

Since publication of Keeley, Lawrence´s War before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), research has focused on the violent behaviour of prehistoric populations. A number of books have been published on violence in recent years, and these combine various aspects of violent behaviour in different time periods and geographical areas: Knüsel, C. and Smith, M. J. (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict (London: Routledge, 2014); Martin, Debra L. and Frayer, David W. (eds.), War and Society, vol. iii, Troubled Times: Violence and Warfare in the Past (Amsterdam: Gordon & Breach, 1997); and Carman, J. and Harding, A. (eds.), Ancient Warfare: Archaeological Perspectives (Stroud: Allan Sutton, 1999). Only in 2014 Allen, Mark W. and Jones, Terry L. edited Violence and Warfare among Hunter-Gatherers (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press). A growing number of case studies have been published within the last years, but only a few articles and chapters have an overview character like V. H. Estabrook’s ‘Violence and Warfare in the European Mesolithic and Palaeolithic’, in Allen and Jones’s (eds.), Violence and Warfare, or Brian Ferguson’s, R.The Prehistory of War and Peace in Europe and the Near East’, in Fry, Douglas P. (ed.), War, Peace, and Human Nature. The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 191240.

One of the earliest cases of violence dating to the Middle Pleistocene comes from the famous site of Atapuerca, Sima de los Huesos, described by Sala, N et al. in ‘Lethal Interpersonal Violence in the Middle Pleistocene’, PLoS ONE 10 (2015),, and The Sima de los Huesos Crania: Analysis of the Cranial Breakage Patterns’, Journal of Archaeological Science 72 (2016), 2543.

A number of articles focus especially on Neanderthals, including Berger, T. D. and Trinkaus, E., ‘Patterns of Trauma among the Neandertals’, Journal of Archaeological Science 22.6 (1995), 841–52, and Trinkaus, E., ‘Neandertals, Early Modern Humans, and Rodeo Riders’, Journal of Archaeological Science 39.12 (2012), 3691–3. The healed traumatic lesions on various skeletal elements from Krapina in Croatia are described by V. H. Estabrook and D. W. Frayer in ‘Trauma in the Krapina Neandertals: Violence in the Middle Palaeolithic?’, in Knüsel and Smith (eds.), Routledge Handbook, pp. 67–89.

Violent behaviour in the Upper Palaeolithic is only described in isolated case studies. The largest collection of cases is presented by Trinkaus, E., et al. in ‘Skeletal and Dental Palaeopathology’, in Trinkaus, E. and Svoboda, J. (eds.), Early Modern Human Evolution in Central Europe: The People of Dolní Vestonice and Pavlov (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 419–65. The only study describing a lethal injury so far from the Upper Palaeolithic is the case of the Sunghir 1 burial presented by Trinkaus, E. and Buzhilova, A. P. in ‘The Death and Burial of Sunghir 1’, International Journal of Osteoarcheology 22.6 (2011), 655–66. For the Late or Final Palaeolithic the most striking examples are cases from the cemetery of Jebel Sahaba in Sudan, which are described in Wendorf, F. (ed.), The Prehistory of Nubia, vol. ii (Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 1968) and by Judd, M in ‘Jebel Sahaba Revisited’, in Kroeper, K, Clodnicki, M and Kobusiewicz, M (eds.), Archaeology of Early Northeastern Africa, Studies in African Archaeology 9 (Poznań: Poznań Archaeological Museum, 2006), pp. 153–66. The Late Pleistocene–Early Holocene boundary is represented by the newly published site of Nataruk, analysed by Lahr, Marta and colleagues in ‘Inter-group Violence among Early Holocene Hunter-Gatherers of West Turkana, Kenya’, Nature 529 (2016), 394–8.

Only a few articles, chapters and books have so far produced an overview on the Mesolithic: see V. H. Estabrook’s ‘Violence and Warfare in the European Mesolithic and Palaeolithic’, in Allen and Jones (eds.), Violence and Warfare among Hunter-Gatherers; the volume edited by Roksandic, M, Violent Interactions in the Mesolithic, BAR International Series 1237 (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2004); Thorpe, N, ‘Origins of War: Mesolithic Conflict in Europe’, British Archaeology 52 (2000): 912; Vencl, S, ‘Stone Age Warfare’, in Carman, J. and Harding, A. (eds.), Ancient Warfare: Archaeological Perspectives (Stroud: Allan Sutton, 1999), pp. 5773; and Vencl, S., ‘Interprétation des blessures causées par les armes au Mésolithique’, L’Anthropologie 95 (1995), 219–28. A special situation is indicated by the so-called head burials of the Mesolithic, and the treatment of these heads is described in a study of the Mannlefelsen remains in Alsace: Boulestin, B. and Henry-Gambier, D., ‘Le crâne mésolithique de l‘abri du Mannlefelsen I à Oberlarg (Haut-Rhin): Étude des modifications osseuses’, in Boulestin, B. and Henry-Gambier, D. (eds.), Crânes trophées, crânes d´ancêtres et autres pratiques autour de la tête: problèmes d´interprétation en archéologie, BAR International Series 2415 (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2012), pp. 7788. For the sites of Ofnet and Hohlenstein-Stadel, in southern Germany, see D. W. Frayer in ‘Ofnet: Evidence for a Mesolithic Massacre’, in Martin and Frayer (eds.), Troubled Times; and Orschiedt, J., ‘The Head Burials from Ofnet Cave: An Example of Warlike Conflict in the Mesolithic’, in Parker Pearson, M. and Thorpe, N. I. J. (eds.), Warfare, Violence and Slavery in Prehistory, BAR International Series 1374 (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2005), pp. 6773.

Bibliographic Essay

Notions of a peaceful, egalitarian Neolithic were prevalent in the processual views of the 1960s and 1970s, but by the close of the century accepted paradigms were beginning to shift. Keeley’s, Lawrence War before Civilisation: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) had significant impact in deconstructing the ‘pacified past’ that had characterised previous consensus. New considerations of evidence for prehistoric violence reflected an invigorated debate and a willingness to reassess old material that had been previously overlooked or dismissed. This includes important chapters in Carman, J. and Harding, A. (eds.), Ancient Warfare: Archaeological Perspectives (Stroud: Allan Sutton, 1999) and also Guilaine, J. and Zammit’s, J. Le Sentier de la guerre (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2001), the latter focusing largely on France, with an English translation in 2008. Raymond, Kelly’s Warless Societies and the Origin of War (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000) had important theoretical ramifications, particularly in summarising the now oft quoted ‘Theory of Social Substitution’, characterising the internal logic of group conflict and offering an alternative to simply studying violence on a behavioural level.

Much of the evidence for Neolithic violence emerged piecemeal over successive decades as individual cases of skeletal injuries arose. These are too numerous to usefully list here, although key examples include Knüsel, Christopher, ‘The Arrowhead Injury to Individual B2’, in Benson, Don and Whittle, Alasdair (eds.), Building Memories: The Neolithic Long Barrow at Ascott-under-Wychwood (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2006), pp. 218220; and the section on violence in Smith, Martin and Brickley’s, Megan People of the Long Barrows (Stroud: History Press, 2009), pp. 102112. John Robb’s study ‘Violence and Gender in Early Italy’, in Martin, Debra L. and Frayer, David W. (eds.), War and Society, vol. iii, Troubled Times: Violence and Warfare in the Past (Amsterdam: Gordon & Breach, 1997), pp. 111–44, importantly noted a high prevalence of violence in Neolithic Italy compared to the Bronze Age in the same region. Schulting, Rick and Wysocki’s, Mick focused study of Neolithic crania provided much needed quantification of this phenomenon in Britain in ‘In this Chambered Tumulus were Found Cleft Skulls … ’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 71 (2005), 107–38.

The possibility of misidentification and the need for reliable Middle Range Theory also prompted several experimental studies. Smith, M. J., Brickley, M. B and Leach, S. L. tested the effects of Neolithic period arrows on animal bone: ‘Experimental Evidence for Lithic Projectile Injuries: Improving Identification of an Under-recognised Phenomenon’, Journal of Archaeological Science 34 (2007), 540–53; and Dyer, Meghan and Fibiger, Linda tested blunt weapons of Neolithic date, using plastic spheres designed to act as synthetic ‘skulls’ for forensic tests, in ‘Understanding Blunt Force Trauma in Neolithic Europe: The First Experiments using a Skin-Skull-Brain Model and the Thames Beater’, Antiquity 91.360 (2017), 1515–28.

Further insights have been provided by publications presenting evidence for attacks on enclosures and settlements, including apparent massacres of significant numbers of people, the first and best known of which is Wahl, Joachim and König’s, HansAnthropologisch-traumatologische untersuchung der menschlichen skeletresste aus dem bandkeramischen massengrab bei Talheim, Kreiss Heilbronn’, Fundberichte aus Baden-Württemburg 12 (1987), 65193, with the most recent case being Meyer, Christian et al., ‘The Massacre Mass Grave of Schöneck-Kilianstädten Reveals New Insights into Collective Violence in Early Neolithic Central Europe’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.36 (2015), 11217–22.

The most comprehensive text to address the issue of hostilities in Neolithic Europe at a continent-wide level is Schulting, Rick and Fibiger, Linda (eds.), Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones: Neolithic Violence in a European Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). This was followed by the publication of Knüsel, C. and Smith, M. J. (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict (London: Routledge, 2014). This work has been viewed as significant because of its specific focus on the social contexts of violent acts (Debra Martin, book review in International Journal of Palaeopathology 14.1 (2016), 60–1). Chapters covering the Neolithic include a summary of evidence for Britain as well as an important chapter on western Asia and a chapter focusing on children, who are often left out of the violence narrative.

The recent publications cited above have appeared against a background of more general works on the bioarchaeology of violence. For key examples see the following: Walker, Phillip, ‘A Bioarchaeological Perspective on the History of Violence’, Annual Review of Anthropology 30 (2001), 573–96; Frayer and Martin (eds.) Troubled Times; Otto, T, Thrane, H and Vandkilde, H (eds.), Warfare and Society: Archaeological and Social Anthropological Perspectives (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2006); Martin, D. L. and Anderson, C. (eds.), Bioarchaeological and Forensic Perspectives on Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); and Redfern, Rebecca, Injury and Trauma in Bioarchaeology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). For an up-to-date overview of ethnographic and ethnohistorical approaches to pre-state violence, see Allen, Mark W. and Jones, Terry L. (eds.), Violence and Warfare among Hunter-Gatherers (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2014). Lastly a work presenting the bioarchaeology of violence to a non-specialist readership was provided by Smith’s, Martin Mortal Wounds: The Human Skeleton as Evidence for Conflict in the Past (Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2017). This work includes a chapter on the Neolithic considering the extent to which this period indicates a new trajectory for human hostilities that differs from what went before.

Bibliographic Essay

Discussion of whether or not the San are a good model for prehistoric forgers at the start of human evolution has been at the root of the writings of Raymond Dart, but especially in Ardrey’s, Robert three books, African Genesis (London: Collins, 1961), The Territorial Imperative (London: Collins, 1966) and The Social Contract (London: Collins, 1970). Dart’s approach to the San, on which Ardrey based his conclusions, has been severely criticised in Derricourt’s, RobinThe Enigma of Raymond Dart’, International Journal of African Historical Studies 42.2 (2009), 257282, and most recently by Kulian, Christa in Darwin’s Hunch (Cape Town: Jacana, 2016). This debate has also been part of the discussion known as the ‘Great Kalahari Debate’ between Richard, Lee and DeVore’s, Ireven classic Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers: Studies of the !Kung San and Their Neighbors (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976) and Wilmsen’s, Edwin revision and argument that the Kalahari San were not isolated from their neighbours in Land Filled with Flies: A Political Economy of the Kalahari (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989). The crux of the debate was how much contact with neighbouring people had impacted on the San way of life and whether or not that had invalidated them as a model for late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers.

The forensic medicine literature on bone fractures and their causes is extensive, but Galloway’s, Alison Broken Bones: Anthropological Analysis of Blunt Force Trauma (Springfield: Charles C. Thomas, 1999) and Kimmerle, Erin and Baraybar’s, José Pablo Skeletal Trauma: Identification of Injuries Resulting from Human Rights Abuse and Armed Conflict (Boca Ratan: CRC Press, 2008) give a reasonably thorough overview of the nature of perimortem fractures and how they are interpreted in forensic evidence, as does Morris’s, Alan Missing and Murdered: A Personal Adventure in Forensic Anthropology (Cape Town: Zebra Press, 2011). The application of these kinds of forensic analyses to archaeological cases is well described in Lovell’s, NancyTrauma Analysis in Paleopathology’, Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 40 (1997), 139–70, and Philip, Walker’sA Bioarchaeological Perspective on the History of Violence’, Annual Review of Anthropology 30 (2001), 573–96, and is also discussed by Larsen, Clark in Bioarchaeology: Interpreting Behaviour from the Human Skeleton, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 172–7.

Evidence for the antiquity of violence among the Mesolithic populations of Europe is examined by Guilaine, J. and Zammit, J., The Origins of War (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005). This book is Euro-focused and relies to a large extent on early research that may not have been of the methodological standard that modern archaeologists demand, but Larsen’s Bioarchaeology outlines how the new bioarchaeology approach has exposed a range of skeletal assessments of prehistoric violence with a bibliography of case reports from around the world. The South African evidence is described and enumerated in Morris’s, AlanTrauma and Violence in the Later Stone Age of Southern Africa’, South African Medical Journal 100.6 (2012), 568–70, and Pfeiffer’s, SusanAn Exploration of Interpersonal Violence among Holocene Foragers of Southern Africa’, International Journal of Paleopathology 13 (2016), 2738.

Bibliographic Essay

A fascination with bronze weaponry was an important feature of the antiquarianism that laid the foundations of archaeology such as Wilde’s, William A Descriptive Catalogue of the Antiquities in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy (Dublin: Hodges, Smith, 1963). This is perhaps emphasised by Heinrich Schliemann’s launch of Aegean Bronze Age archaeology in his quest for the Trojan War in Mycenae (London: John Murray, 1878). The study of warfare has had a chequered history in Bronze Age studies, though detailed research into its conduct was rare. Snodgrass’s, Anthony Early Greek Armour and Weapons (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1964), a treatment of Aegean Bronze Age military equipment, was an early dedicated study of weaponry, and Drews, Robert, The End of the Bronze Age (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), took the study of Bronze Age warfare a step further by exploring in detail some possibilities for its role at the end of the Bronze Age. General studies of the Bronze Age came to place less emphasis on war, warriors and weapons as forces of social power and change, a factor contributing to Keeley’s, Lawrence declaration in War before Civilisation: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) that archaeologists by intent or omission were pacifying the past by not integrating the study of war more systematically in our vision of past societies. Carman, John and colleagues were exploring the same theme in Material Harm: Archaeological Studies of War and Violence (Glasgow: Cruithne Press, 1997), and Bridgford’s chapter (‘Mightier than the Pen? An Edgewise Look at Irish Bronze Age Swords’) in this volume places the material culture of war back on centre stage. Osgood, Richard had also been researching this theme and Warfare in the Late Bronze Age of North Europe (Oxford: Archaeopress, 1998) collates and cross-references key data. In 1999 various contributors to Carman, J. and Harding, A. (eds.), Ancient Warfare: Archaeological Perspectives (Stroud: Allan Sutton) explored the social character and material evidence for war in the Bronze Age. While Keeley was certainly correct in highlighting the segregation of the study of warfare and social archaeology, it became clear that war was being taken seriously as a core aspect of Bronze Age society by many. In the Aegean region, the importance of war was embedded in archaeology from its outset, and a thorough treatment of the theme by leading scholars was explored in Laffineur, R. (ed.), Polemos: Le Contexte Guerrier en Égée á l’Âge du Bronze (Liege: Aegeum, 1999). Osgood, Richard and Monks, Sarah (with Toms, Judith) produced an overview volume, Bronze Age Warfare (Stroud: Allan Sutton, 2000), which dealt with a wide range of evidence though it continued a trend of isolating the study of war from wider social analyses. Contributors to Warfare and Society: Archaeological and Social Anthropological Perspectives (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2006) edited by T. Otto, H. Thrane and H. Vandkilde went some way to redressing this imbalance by drawing attention to how the study of war linked into a range of other themes. Similarly, Parker Pearson, Mike and Thorpe’s, I. J. N. edited volume Warfare, Violence and Slavery in Prehistory (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2005) brought the study of warfare into a social light. The most recent edited volume to address the influence of warfare on social institutions such as trade, crafting, innovation, etc. is Horn, C. and Kristiansen, K. (eds.) Warfare in Bronze Age Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).Harding, Anthony has produced one of the few single-author book-length publications on this theme, Warriors and Weapons in Bronze Age Europe (Budapest: Archaeolingua, 2007), using a broadly comparative approach to trace the development of warfare from the beginning of the Bronze Age until the emergence of iron.

Alongside these specialist and social studies of warfare, the Prähistorische Bronzefunde series had since the 1960s been publishing detailed catalogues of many categories of bronze artefacts, including weaponry. The many volumes in this series provide a foundation for detailed regional studies of weapons and warfare. Schauer’s, PeterEine urnenfelderzeitliche Kampfweise’, Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 9 (1979), 6980, and Kristiansen’s, K.Krieger und Häuptlinge in der Bronzezeit – ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des bronzezeitlichen Schwertes’, Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz 31 (1984), 187208, focus on the material culture of warfare, analysing the use-wear of swords and spears. Bridgford’s use-wear work has been influenced by that of Kristiansen, and she has brought the analysis of use-wear after a long hiatus into the new millennium, with an increasing number of specialised studies in recent journal publications (e.g. A. Dolfini and Crellin, R.Metalwork wear analysis: The loss of innocence.Journal of Archaeological Science 66 (2016), 7887. Peatfield’s contribution to Laffineur’s Polemos book (‘The Paradox of Violence: Weaponry and Martial Art in Minoan Crete’) has likewise considered the functional capacities of swords, which has complemented the use-wear approach. In the first decade of the twenty-first century the study of Bronze Age warfare was the subject of much new research. There was a strong material culture focus to this that employed experimental archaeology, and this led to a range of further studies, including the intentional linking of different analytical approaches to form a ‘Combat Archaeology’ perspective: see for example Molloy’s, BarryWhat’s the Bloody Point: Bronze Age swordsmanship in Ireland and Britain’, in Molloy, B. (ed.), The Cutting Edge (Stroud: Tempus, 2007), pp. 90111. The material focus was strongly in evidence at a European Association of Archaeologists session and workshop in Vienna, which was subsequently published by Mödlinger, M and Uckelmann, M in Warfare in Bronze Age Europe: Manufacture and Use of Weaponry (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2011). Around the same time an interest in the performance of combat as a means to explore its social character can be seen in a number of studies, for example Horn’s, C.Harm’s way – An Approach to Change and Continuity in Prehistoric Combat’, Current Swedish Archaeology 21 (2013), 93116. The osteological study of violence has often been part of relatively specialist studies or part of wider projects, but the discovery of the Tollense battlefield site is placing it at the heart of some new research, for example Jantzen, Detlef et al. (eds.), Tod im Tollensetal: Forschungen zu den Hinterlassenschaften eines bronzezeitlichen Gewaltkonfliktes in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Schwerin: LKDMV, 2014).

Bibliographic Essay

On Iron Age Europe in general see the following: Collis, J., The European Iron Age (New York: Schocken Books, 1984); Moscati, S. et al. (eds.), The Celts (New York: Rizzoli, 1991); Green, M. (ed.), The Celtic World (London: Routledge, 1995); Beilharz, D. et al. (eds), Die Welt der Kelten: Zentren der Macht, Kostbarkeiten der Kunst (Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 2012); Farley, J. and Hunter, F. (eds.), Celts: Art and Identity (London: British Museum Press, 2015).

For the question of how violent Iron Age Europe was, see Sharples, N., ‘Warfare in the Iron Age of Wessex’, Scottish Archaeological Review 8 (1991), 7989, and James, S., ‘A Bloodless Past: The Pacification of Early Iron Age Britain’, in Haselgrove, C. and Pope, R. (eds.), The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2007), pp. 160–73.

Iron Age weapons in Europe are discussed by Sievers, S., Die Waffen aus dem Oppidum von Manching (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2010). For swords see Pleiner, R., The Celtic Sword (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), for daggers see Sievers, S., Die mitteleuropäischen Hallstattdolche (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1982), and for British swords see Stead, I. M., British Iron Age Swords and Scabbards (London: British Museum Press, 2006).

For examples of cemeteries with weapons see the following: Kromer, K., Das Gräberfeld von Hallstatt (Florence: Sansoni, 1959); Hodson, F. R., The La Tène Cemetery of Münsingen-Rain (Bern: Stämpfli, 1968); Krämer, W., Die Grabfunde von Manching und die latènezeitlichen Flachgräber in Südbayern (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1985); Waldhauser, J., ‘Keltische Gräberfelder in Böhmen’, Bericht der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission 68 (1987), 25179; Ginoux, N., Élites guerrières au nord de la Seine au début du IIIe siècle av. J.-C.: La nécropole celtique du Plessis-Gassot (Val-d’Oise) (Lille: Université Charles-de-Gaulle, 2009); Stead, I. M., Iron Age Cemeteries in East Yorkshire (London: English Heritage, 1991).

Weapons in deposits is another much studied category of evidence, and such deposits are discussed by the following: Bradley, R., The Passage of Arms: An Archaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Hoards and Votive Deposits (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Randsborg, K., Hjortspring: Warfare and Sacrifice in Early Europe (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 1995); swords and scabbards at La Tène: de Navarro, J. M., The Finds from the Site of La Tène, vol. i, Scabbards and the Swords Found in Them (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972). From Gournay-sur-Aronde: Lejars, T., Gournay III: Les fourreaux d’épée. Le sanctuaire de Gournay-sur Aronde et l’armement des Celtes de La Tène moyenne (Paris: Éditions Errance, 1994). From Tintignac: Maniquet, C., Les Guerriers gaulois de Tintignac (Limoges: Éditions Culture & Patrimoine en Limousin, 2009).

For decoration on weapons see V. and Megaw, R, Celtic Art (London: Thames & Hudson, 1989); on scabbards: Wells, P. S., How Ancient Europeans Saw the World: Vision, Patterns, and the Shaping of the Mind in Prehistoric Times (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), pp. 112–30.

Examples of statues with weapons can be found in Frey, O.-H., ‘Menschen oder Heroen? Die Statuen vom Glauberg und die frühe keltische Grossplastik’, in Baitinger, H and Pinsker, B (eds.), Das Rätsel der Kelten vom Glauberg (Stuttgart: Theiss, 2002), pp. 208–18. For the Gundestrup cauldron see Müller, F., Art of the Celts 700 BC to AD 700 (Bern: Historisches Museum, 2009), pp. 136–7.

Finally, for fortifications see Ralston, I., Celtic Fortifications (Stroud: Tempus, 2006).

Bibliographic Essay

The best general introduction to Japanese prehistory is Gina, L. Barnes, Archaeology of East Asia: The Rise of Civilization in China, Korea and Japan (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2015). General books on the Jōmon period make no mention of the question of violence or warfare. A recent survey that lists published examples of skeletal violence from the Jōmon is Nakao, Hisashi et al., ‘Violence in the Prehistoric Period of Japan: The Spatio-temporal Pattern of Skeletal Evidence for Violence in the Jōmon Period’, Biology Letters 12 (2016), e20160028. A forthcoming chapter by Hisashi Nakao discusses issues of Jōmon violence in more detail: ‘Violence is Not the Answer: Environmental Change and the Jōmon’, in Gwen R. Schug (ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Bioarcheology of Environmental Change (London: Routledge, n.d.).

For the Yayoi period, a broader literature exists on warfare and the rise of chiefdoms. Good starting places are Edward Kidder’s, J. Himiko and Japan’s Elusive Chiefdom of Yamatai: Archaeology, History, and Mythology (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2007) and Mizoguchi, Koji, The Archaeology of Japan: From the Earliest Rice Farming Villages to the Rise of the State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). A useful summary of Japanese approaches to Yayoi warfare is provided by Sahara, Makoto, ‘Rice cultivation and the Japanese’, Acta Asiatica 63 (1992), 4063. In Japanese, Matsugi’s, Takehiko Hito wa naze tatakau no ka: Kōkogaku kara mita sensō (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 2001) remains an excellent overview.

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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats