Este Blogue tem como objectivo a discussão da violência em geral e da guerra na Pré-História em particular. A Arqueologia da Península Ibérica tem aqui especial relevo. Esperamos cruzar dados de diferentes campos do conhecimento com destaque para a Antropologia Social. As críticas construtivas são bem vindas neste espaço, que se espera, de conhecimento.

Guerra Primitiva\Pré-Histórica
Violência interpessoal colectiva entre duas ou mais comunidades políticas distintas, com o uso de armas tendo como objectivo causar fatalidades, por um motivo colectivo sem hipótese de compensação.

Sunday, 5 April 2009


Organisers: The ESTOC group: European Studies of Terrains of Conflict
Convenor: John Carman, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity,
University of Birmingham, UK

Session abstract:
The ESTOC group – founded in March 2007 in Oudenaarde, Belgium – brings
together leading archaeologists, historians, architects and heritage professionals from
eight European countries to promote research into and the preservation of places of
conflict in the European past. Current members of the ESTOC group – and we seek
more from other parts of Europe – are representatives of the following
organisations: Åland Board of Antiquities, Finland — The Battlefields Trust, UK —
University of Birmingham, UK — University of Bradford, UK — Centre for
Battlefield Archaeology, University of Glasgow, UK — DIDPATRI, University of
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain — Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage
Interpretation, Belgium — HALBARDE (Histoire, Archéologie et Littérature des
Batailles de l'Artois sous le Règne De l'Espagne), France — University of Leeds, UK
— University of Osnabrück, Germany — Riksantikvarieämbetet, Sweden —
University College Cork, Ireland — Varusschlacht, Museum und Park Kalkriese,
Taking advantage of the opportunity presented by the EAA meeting to
discuss issues of conflict at the location of momentous past military activity, this
session seeks to promote the work of conflict archaeologists by providing an
opportunity for researchers into past European conflict to present their work to the
European archaeological community. We accordingly seek contributions from
archaeologists – members and non-members of the ESTOC group alike – that
explore the wide range of archaeological work on human conflict, relating to
landscapes, artefacts and human remains from all periods, from prehistory to the

Paper abstracts:
Julie Wileman, University of Winchester, UK

Archaeologists have looked for evidence of warfare in prehistory through studies of
fortifications, weaponry, skeletal trauma, iconography, and more rarely, within
settlements. This paper suggests that evidence of fighting is possibly least likely to be
found; fortifications, weaponry and other traditional sources of enquiry are often too
ambiguous in meaning to be particularly helpful.
It may be more useful to consider the phenomenon of warfare as a set of
human behaviours with causes, preparations, actions and effects that could be traced
in evidence of change in landscapes, trade, ritual behaviour and settlements.
Different types of evidence can be exploited to trace changes in social landscapes
which may have arisen because of hostilities, and the complexity of warfare, its
precipitating factors and results may become less obscure;
If, as some maintain, prehistoric warfare was an integral part of the
development of socio-political systems in the past, its archaeological identification
becomes an essential part of the understanding of the rise of cultures. A firmer base
for the identification of its occurrence and effects thus becomes an important focus
for the development of a more inclusive methodology.

Silvia Alfayé and Javier Rodríguez-Corral, Universidad del País Vasco/ Universidad de
Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Through a contextual lecture of the archaeological record, this paper offers an
approximation to the symbolic dimension of the spaces and structures which
delimitate the Iron Age settlements of Northern Iberia, pointing out the existence of
foundational and protective rituals dedicated to sacralise and strengthen the
prophylactic character of these areas of passage. We propose a revaluation from a
symbolic point of view of unusual findings spatially related to the gates and ramparts
of these settlements, such as vessels containing cremated humans remains, animal
votive pits, metallic deposits, singular constructed structures, or infant and adult
burials. Considering the archaeological data and the existence of coetaneous parallels
for these ritual practices, we state the accomplishment of collective magical-ritual
practices at and around the defences aimed to obtain the divine protection of the
settlement by the indigenous societies of the Iron Age Northern Iberia. Within these
prophylactic ritual activities we can include the intentional collocation of deer antlers
embedded in the walls, the accomplishment of animal sacrifice – and its later votive
deposit – the construction of heroa or public sacred places articulated around the
presence of human bones, the placing of images of the gods at the gates, the burial of
infants along the walls, and so on. Therefore, we propose to rethink the fortifications
also as ceremonial places in which the communities of the Iron Age Iberia celebrated
occasional or periodical rituals which contributed to protect the community through
the actualization of its relationship with the supernatural powers, and to reinforce its
internal cohesion and its social identity against the Other.

Gonzalo Aranda Jiménez, Departamento de Prehistoria y Arqueología, Facultad de
Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Granada, Spain
Sandra Montón Subías, Departament d’Humanitats, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
Sylvia Jiménez-Brobeil, Facultad de Medicina, Laboratorio de Antropología,
Universidad de Granada, Spain
Margarita Sánchez Romero, Departamento de Prehistoria y Arqueología, Facultad
de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Granada, Spain

Argaric culture (corresponding to local Bronze Age in southeast Iberia) has been
traditionally characterized by the increasing presence and eventual institutionalization
of violence and by the emergence of warriors. Different type of evidence has been
used to draw such a picture. Most significantly:
a) The location of settlements, usually built on the terraced slopes of steep
mountains and hills with natural defence systems and a wide territorial
control of the surrounding area.
b) The frequent presence of complex artificial defences: stone walls, towers,
bastions and stone enclosures protecting the highest points of the settlements.
c) The expansion of the Argaric settlements into new territories, interpreted in
terms of colonization and demographic increase.
d) The appearance, by first time in the Iberian Peninsula, of specialized weapons,
mainly swords and halberds, exclusively deposited as grave goods in male
In relation to this issue, recent advances in paleoanthropological research have
thrown unexpected but extremely interesting conclusions. On the one hand,
skeletons show an absolute lack of sharp injuries. On the other hand, the only
detected traumatisms correspond to impressions or depressed fractures in the
outer deck of the cranial vault. According to their predominant situation on the
right-hand side of the frontal bone, to their size and their shape they seem to result
from deliberate aggression. By no means, however, could they had been produced by
sharp weapons such as swords and halberds. In this paper, we will propose a
hypothesis to explain this apparently contrasting evidence.

Amanda Kelly, National University of Ireland, Ireland

Crete was in a state of almost continuous warfare and hostility during the Hellenistic
period. Due to constant take-overs, territorial boundaries became fluid phenomena,
and naturally, this flux was reflected in the epigraphic corpus of inter-polis relations.
In east Crete the predominant sites of Hierapytna, Praisos and Itanos carved up the
majority of petty states between themselves, absorbing them into their city-state
hinterlands. This trinity survived until, probably as a result of the final withdrawal of
the Ptolemies in the 140s BC, Praisos was suddenly destroyed by Hierapytna.
Hierapytna replaced Praisos as the dominant power in eastern Crete with just one
abrupt campaign; however, in incorporating Praisos’ boundaries into its city-state,
Hierapytna came into direct conflict with its new neighbour, Itanos.
As a direct consequence of this manoeuvre, Rome was asked to arbitrate
over the resulting territorial disputes between Itanos and Hierapytna, as outlined in
the Toplu Inscription. In the Toplu arbitration the Hellenistic city-state of Itanos
makes ancient claims over the sovereignty of key territories, such as the sacred lands
associated with the temple of Diktaean Zeus. The verdict, favouring Itanos, implies
that ancient claims were recognised as valid by the legislative authorities abroad.
The outcome raises questions relating to the endorsement of ancient
territorial claims and how such constructed permanence was physically manifest.
Were ancient monuments, then visible within the Hellenistic landscape, harnessed to
create a traceable progressive development pertaining to state boundaries? In an
effort to affect a spatial continuum, did Itanos exploit her position within a
prehistoric archaeological landscape in the heartland of the ancient Eteocretans?
The scenario demonstrates the strength of legislative arbitration (often
conducted by a third and sometimes a fourth party) as the alternative to war and
illustrates the impact of a third party in maintaining a controlled peace.

Maria Lingström, Sweden

The Danish invasion of the island of Gotland in 1361 is well-known amongst
archaeologists, not least because of the Korsbetningen mass graves in Visby. What is
perhaps not commonly known is that a small-scale battle took place near the lake
Fjäle in Mästerby parish on central Gotland, the days prior to the battle outside
Visby Town Wall.
The 1361 battlefields of Gotland have not yet been investigated; the one at
the Danish landing site on the west coast of Gotland simply because the actual spot
is not known, and the battlefield in Visby since it is long gone due to exploitation.
Except for a minor metal detector survey, the Mästerby battlefield was until 2006
unexplored too.
With the wish to emphasize the battlefield as a source of knowledge to the
Danish invasion, the project group Mästerby 1361 was founded in 2005. The group
comprises the battlefield archaeology team of the Swedish National Heritage Board,
the local heritage association and the author of this paper. Hitherto four field
surveys have been conducted, and somewhat 60 objects with relation to the 1361
events have been localised.

Xavier Rubio, Universidad de Barcelona, Spain

The beginning of the XVIIIth century brought important changes in the nature of
European warfare.
Different factors changed the way conflicts were managed, limiting their
impact on the population in contrast with the previous century. Commanders based
their campaigns on the conquest of fortified places, although major engagements in
open terrain could be decisive, too. At a tactical level, technical evolution as well as
changes in drill and command led to the creation of lineal tactics, conducted by
regular regiments of infantry and cavalry.
This classical point of view is based upon the studies made on the northern
theatre of the war, where the allied troops, commanded by Marlborough, won
several engagements against the French army. In Spain the war developed on
different terms, as the number of fortresses was very limited, the terrain was rough,
and the armies were smaller.
This study will show the results of the archaeological excavation of
Talamanca battlefield, where more than 5.000 soldiers fought on a mountainous
terrain, without space neither for big cavalry charges nor lineal tactics. The results of
this analysis show that the importance of light infantryman would have been
underestimated, specially on the Spanish theatre of war.

Franco Nicolis, Italy

Global warming is changing the alpine landscape. The retreating of the glaciers is a
climatic emergency, but is taking with it a cultural emergency. The melting of ice is
bringing to light evidence of the human presence at high altitudes from prehistory to
contemporary times. The icon of this phenomenon is Iceman, discovered in
September 1991 in Schnalstal. But a lot of other evidence is coming to light form the
Alps, first of all the remains of the highest battlefields in the world, fought during the
First World War, the so called “Guerra Bianca” (“White War”).
In this paper the role of archaeology and of the archaeological method in the
collection and the documentation of the evidence of the WWI in glacial
environments is highlighted, and a first case study is presented. During summer 2007,
the Archaeological Service of the Autonomous province of Trento, the Museums of
the War of Peio and Temù have carried out an archaeological excavation of a
campsite of the Austrian Army on the Piz Giumela (3593 m asl) on the massive of
Ortles-Cevedale. The site is not far from Punta San Matteo, where the highest battle
of the world has been fought (3678 m asl!).

Uroš Bavec, Slovenia

Medieval borough called Mokronog (German: Nassenfuss, it means “wet feet”) is
placed in the central Slovenia. Five kilometres from Mokronog in the hilly
surrounding landscape is a small village Trebelno with a little Romanesque church,
placed in the woods with charnel house and ruins of medieval castle. This area,
which has not been populated since last two hundred years and shows a very
atypically colonization, is of our research interest. We could follow the history of
colonization from the late Roman period (refugi), the early medieval time with slavic
settlement and castle till the late medieval time (?), when the Christian parish was
With this archaeological site is present also in our oral tradition, tales.
Especially some areas of the site became mythological and also some historical
persons find their place in the local historical legends. Only after the excavations it
came up that the site is placed on the border between two parishes, what caused
the conflicts between their inhabitants. At the beginning the nature of conflict was
showing as a kind of faith for prestige. We were astonished by the power of it, which
manifested in threats and in destroying the notice board at the site.
We find out that the origin of this conflict is very old. We as archaeologists
became trough the mechanisms of the pub gossiping a part of new mythology. Traces
of bloody violence between the inhabitants of these two parishes we find in the local
oral tradition, historical and eve epigraphic evidence. The continuity of conflicts
remains even between the Second World War and after it; it shows in different
political opinion of lads.

Maria Persson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

In May 1945 thousands of survivors from German concentration camps came to
Gothenburg, Sweden with the famous rescue action “The white buses”. Many of the
refugees came to stay at the refugee camp “Skatås” which was in use 1945-1946.
When the camp was shut down in 1946 the area and the former refugee cabins were
sold to Gothenburg city and started to be used as a recreation area. Skatås is still
today known as a very popular place to jog, ski and enjoy nature, but the site is
totally unknown as a cultural heritage of the Second World War.
The aim of the project “From white buses to recreation area” was in a general
view to prove that the archaeological method can be used to address a variety of
important topics of interest in modern society, and in this case specifically in terms
of the Second World War, Sweden’s stance of policy to this War, the WW2 refugee
situation and how Swedes in 1945 society reacted to this.
During the excavation of the site in spring 2008 the memories of this site
came to life through the archaeological finds and the history of the site was retold.

Damian Shiels, Headland Archaeology, Ireland

In March 2008 work commenced on an ambitious project to map the locations of
the key battles in the Republic of Ireland. An expert advisory panel drew up an initial
list of some 130 sites to be examined ranging in date from the 8th to the 18th
centuries. The project was commissioned by the Department of the Environment,
Heritage & Local Government and is being undertaken by Headland Archaeology Ltd
and Eneclann Ltd.
The first phase of the project sees historical research take place in order to
identify locationary evidence relating to the sites. Subsequent to this, cartographic
and landscape analysis will be conducted in order to delineate key areas of the
battlefields and mark them on modern mapping. A report will be compiled on each
battle, with work due for completion in November 2008. This paper will outline the
scope of the project, as well as examining some of the methodologies being
employed and questions being asked, which go beyond simple delineation to explore
aspects such as archaeological potential, developmental pressures, future
management and memorialisation. The end result will lead to a vastly increased
knowledge of Irish battlefields, which in turn will hopefully assist in raising the profile
of some of these important engagements among the Irish public.

John Carman, University of Birmingham, UK

The emergence of the European Union has led to European states no longer making
war on each other. The long history of war in Europe, however, has had an
inevitable impact upon European identities: from the emergence of city-states in
Greece and Italy, through the rise of Athenian, Alexandrian and Roman Empires, to
medieval feudalism and the modern nation state. However, the new peace that
prevails has meant that in formulating a new sense of pan-European identity, past
wars are treated as matters best left untouched lest they revive old hostilities. The
emergence of Conflict Archaeology as a sub-discipline has also meant, however, a
renewed interest in past conflict among archaeologists in Europe. This has been
confirmed by the formation of the ESTOC group – European Studies of Terrains of
Conflict – which aims to promote the study of past conflict as a pan-European
project. Drawing upon the aims and objectives of the ESTOC group, this paper will
outline an approach to the archaeological study of conflict in Europe’s past that can
contribute to the creation of a sense of identity in Europe that owes nothing to
supra-nationalism, but meets the conditions of the era of pan-European concord.

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