Agriculture arrived in Europe and war broke out. A new investigation indicates that, between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago, in the middle of the Neolithic, more than one in ten people showed wounds from weapons, which is in direct conflict with the widespread classical theory that indicates that this period was marked by peaceful. Cooperation between different groups.
In a study published in the journal Edinburgh State University experts Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)that the peak moment of this structural violence led to the destruction of entire prehistoric communities.
abandonment of hunting and gathering
That time coincides with the systematic abandonment of hunting and gathering in northwestern Europe to gradually adopt agriculture as the main activity. But in return, violence and war conflicts became widespread in most Neolithic communities.
Archaeologists have used bioarchaeological techniques to analyze the skeletal remains of more than 2,300 early farmers who lived between 6,000 and 2000 BC at 180 different sites in Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and Sweden. were.
The findings suggest that the rise of farming and animal domestication as a way of life in Europe, which has the highest concentration of excavated Neolithic sites in the world, may also have laid the groundwork for formal warfare.
More than ten percent of those studied had potentially sustained head injuries from repeated blows to the head with blunt instruments or stone axes. Several examples of piercing wounds have also been found, which are believed to have been caused by arrows.
destruction of entire communities
Some of the injuries were related to mass burials, which may suggest the destruction of entire communities, the researchers noted. “Human bones are the most direct and least biased way to find past hostilities. Our ability to distinguish between lethal injuries and post-mortem fractures has improved greatly and we are now able to distinguish accidents from attacks with weapons.” allow,” explains Linda Fibiger, MD, co-author of the analysis.
Dr Martin Esmith, of the Department of Archeology and Anthropology at Bournemouth University and co-author of the study, also argues that this prehistoric violence would have been the result of a new economic system that transformed society.
“With agriculture came inequality and those who were less successful sometimes appear to have engaged in acts of collective violence and acts of collective violence as an alternative strategy to achieve success, behaviors that are increasingly evident archaeologically.” are identified with,” he concluded.
The study raises the question of why violence appears to have been so prevalent during this period. The most plausible explanation may be that the economic base of the society has changed.
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