Este Blogue é um estudo da Associação Projecto Raia Alentejana e 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.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

The origins of war in the primitive societies - Gentiana Malo

Based in the works of Pierre Clastres

First of all I must state that I am not a student of ethnology, nor have I been following
some special course on this discipline. As a consequence my knowledge in the field of primitive
societies is limited and fair. Nonetheless, in my readings of several anthropologists, and especially
that of Pierre Clastres, I found the issue interesting and I hope that I will be able to treat it clearly
and in an understandable way.
If we consider societies from the beginning of the history up to today, we must notice
that war is a phenomenon that follows the development of each of them. When student I used to
follow history classes, I was very impressed by the fact that it was somehow marked by the
frequency of wars. Frequency that becomes less dense in the last century, the XXth.
The more time passes the more civil war is a phenomenon that doesn’t follow the same
course as states. Where state structures grow stronger, the civil war gets weaker. In our state
societies, the power to decide on war questions depends on the governments and not in societies.
The initial contractual theories on state influenced by the discovery of the savage life are those of
Hobbes and Spinoza. Hobbes decides to deprive his citizen from all of his rights in order to build
up a state. In his fictional State of Nature he sees war of everyone against everyone and the
absence of society as a consequence of this war. We must not forget the influence of the English
civil war in the development of his political philosophy.
The state in itself is one organisation Spinoza sees as the institution in which we transfer
only the right to defend ourselves: meaning to decide about warfare, here we can easily
distinguish that he shares the same fear regarding civil war with Hobbes. Both these great
philosophers acknowledged the style of life of the savage tribes in South America, as the reports
from the missionaries, traffickers of time etc. were numerous. These tribes were in a constant war
between them, deprived of any form of political structure, social stratification, without a religious
cult: their own religion was not considered as such by the missionaries and the colonists of this
period. Both Spinoza and Hobbes were able to distinguish the reason of the absence of state
organisation in the primitive tribes. Even if the result of their reasoning is different, they both
understood that state and war are exclusive of each other. Here we notice the first error of
Hobbes; he saw war and society exclusives of each other. He does not hide his depreciation for
the way of living of primitives. As for Spinoza a society can very well exist outside a state
structure. The state in itself is not a natural institution but an established one. Spinoza’s State of
Nature is real and a very precise moment in history. This moment for him is the moment of
liberation of Jews from the Egyptian slavery. This moment is a peaceful one, but each individual
feels a great fear at this point of absolute freedom. We must not forget that this starting point is
not the initial one, simply because the Jews found themselves in the desert after that they had
lived under the rule of a state structure, even if this was the slavery.
Today the situation has changed – from the primitive tribes that used to occupy the
whole South American continent, remain very few ones that have very few members, and they
are in an impressive way different from the starting tribes. The war is not as present anymore, to
the point that several contemporary ethnologists affirm that the savages are peaceful. As I
mentioned in the beginning there’s particularly one ethnologist that has consecrated an important
role in his work to this change in the tribes that still exist and especially to the war in the
primitive societies, thinker on which we will be referring quite often. In one of his late works, he
describes in details one myth that explains the beginning of war. The myth was found in one of
the primitive tribes in South America the Chulupi. This myth explains the origins of war with the
tribe of Toba. I will briefly try to bring the essence of this myth. The two tribes in question have
been in a kind of permanent war that ended only during the years 1945-1950.
At the beginning, according to the myth, they were members of the same tribe: they
spoke the same language; there were only little differences between them. But the youth did not
want to be equal amongst them, everyone trying to show he was stronger than the others.
Everything started with the hostility between two young people belonging to each tribe. One day
their fighting game took a bad turn. One hits the other a bit too hard; the second one revenges.
When they went to meet their respective families, the Toba declared that the Chulupi
young started first: when it was he in fact that had started! Before that, there had never existed a disagreement between Indians. Following the event, one feast was prepared, one big drinking of
fermented honey. During the feast, the father of the Toba youth got up and declared: “Now, I
rethink of my son who was wounded!” And after speaking, he starts shooting arrows to the
parents and friends of his son’s adversary. The fight grows; women joined it taking position sideby-
side their husbands. The war stops for a while; the two groups negotiated and decided to meet
again the next day to continue the war.
The morning after at dawn everything was ready. Groups considerable in number
represent both tribes. The Chulupi began to dominate. There are too many dead, but less on the
side of Chulupi, the Toba’s ran abandoning many of their people mostly children and infants.
Chulupi women breastfed the infants as many of their mothers were killed during the war. The
men consecrated the whole day scalping the toba dead fighters.
Everything took place right after the appearance of night. On the times of the eternal day,
Chulupi and Toba lived together.”1
There are several interesting moments in this story:
First there was the union, first there was THE ONE. One tribe, only eternal day. There’s a
very important and interesting issue here, first because the separation is not even included in
the perception of the unity, even when it comes to natural phenomena, and at the same time
this same fact might imply the non-existence of such an event. The society as one is the most
important characteristics of the primitive societies. There’s only one “body” of this society
and it effectuates all the necessary activities and functions of the tribe. Even the day and night
no not exist as two entities, but as one only – in the form of day. This could mean two
possible things: that the war is as immanent to the society as the separation day-night in the
earth, or, that the myth is only a tale and that to look for the origins of war is as useless as to
look for the establishment of this natural system in earth. In both cases war is part of the
natural system that exists outside any human control. So if in our societies state is an
established institution, for the primitives war is a natural institution. And as Clastres himself
defines it, it is a structure of these societies, without which they wouldn’t exist as primitives
anymore. In similarity with the thinking of the creation of the society: the indigenous society
is not self-created. It was created by “those that anticipated men”, “the indigenous thinking
[…] sees the rapport between society and its foundation as e relations of exteriority”2 which
is the reason for which we cannot change the society. The men cannot change a society that
is not a result of the men’s work. The way society functions in these tribes is quite particular.
The chief has the right to speech, but he can only express the will of the society and repeat
the sayings of the ancients of the tribe. If he does not obey to this rule, he is no longer chief;
he is ignored and/or abandoned, in the worst scenarios he is killed.
The moment of separation comes as a result of the young people’s behaviour. The
phenomenon of the youth bringing corruption in a society is not new. We are obliged to
notice the similarity with the occidental culture (unfortunately I am not an expert of the
oriental culture and the literature I have consulted so far deals primarily with the South
American tribes). What is the first basis for this corruption? The appearance of the inequality.
The denial of equality between all the members of the tribe is the initial cause of the birth of
the war. Another reason that drives young people towards war is the search for glory and
their vanity; they want to show that they are better than the others. Clastres himself sees also
the element of youth as being-for-war in these societies. Old men in these same tribes used to
declare that war was made for the youth and not for them. Being a warrior implied almost
always dying young, because the title was to be defended in each single combat. Even if the
warrior remained alive but captive of the enemy, for his own tribe he was considered dead.
Most of these warriors that were not killed afterwards by the enemy, starved to death in the
forests. Participating in combats didn’t imply being a warrior, for that you had to be
recognised as such. A warrior would always scalp his victims, non-warriors never did. The
search for glory it’s a very important element as in the societies this is the only recompense
for the warriors together with an incredible respect for them. But this same society,
contemporaneously with this recognition, makes fun of its own warriors for the same reasons
that it respects them. There exist myths that mock warriors for their vanity and their pride.
The war starts in a moment of drinking… men are not sober and they do not reason… as we
see in the description of Clastres, since men used to drink too much during these feasts,
women used to hide the weapons so that they could not have violent fights among them. So
the war starts in a Dionysian moment. We cannot not think of the birth of tragedy at
Nietzsche. Greeks used to drink before their performances, this way they would perform
better their role. There are several theatrical elements in many of their small wars. War is a
great moment of entertainment amongst the savages. The way the tribe is prepared for a war
is very interesting; men wake up before dawn and attack a tribe that is not expecting it.
Afterwards they would hide in the woods and wait for their reaction. Sometimes the fights
were purely theatrical, they would just be armed to their teeth and starts arguing with the men
of the other tribe and leave the same way as they came. So we see the escalation of the
phenomenon: first there’s the fighting game, after the Dionysian moment there’s the real war.
The difference between the primitives and us is very clear, for them the war is a tragedy
played very often, the warrior is like an actor that performs up to the moment of his death.
And he is at the same time honoured and mocked by his tribe. But this is not the moment to
go more in depth as this is topic of our discussion.
The young men that lied were a member of the other tribe and not of the tribe that has
created the myth. So the origin of the war is situated on the other side of the fight. Even
though it seems a bit difficult to believe, the war is not an element that expresses the
aggressiveness of the primitives. They are not aggressive by nature, they like war but for other
reasons, which are those is not yet clear to us. The causality that provoked war is very
unimportant in this myth. Nonetheless during the negotiations (in fact no information is
given about what exactly was discussed) we can notice the absence of peace negotiations. The
result of these “negotiations” is the fixing of a new moment to continue the combat. Why is
it so? Because right in the middle of the war, Indians were happy! The words used by the old
man that tells the myth are: “It was difficult to stop the fighters as the war was ardent”. So
negotiations are not there to stop the war, but only to interrupt it the necessary time to relax
and prepare for its continuation. Besides this is not a destruction war. The primitive wars are
not exterminating, and this not only because of their weapons. In these tribes, when football
was discovered, the two teams would go on playing, up to the moment when there was
equality between them. They were not able to finish the game with a difference in the result.
What is the role of this omnipresent war at the primitive societies? “To assure the
permanence of the dispersion, the fragmentation of the atomisation of groups. The primitive
war, is the work of a centrifugal logic, a separation logic, that is expressed time and time again in
the armed conflict.”3 Why do primitive societies need this atomisation? According to Clastres,
this is their only way to preserve their individual freedom, the equality between all the
members of the society and the non-existence of a separated political body. The same way
defined by the myth tribes continued to separate from each other. The smaller the tribes, the
easier for the society to ensure equality between its members and to avoid the creation of
differentiations. The only tribe in South-America that shows similarities in their political
scheme with the “developed societies” are the Tupi-Guarani. They were extended in several
villages and elements of social structure and religion similar to occidental societies were

1 P.Clastres, Research on political anthropology, Paris, Seuil 1980 p. 243-44 (non-official translation, made by
2 P.Clastres, Research on political anthropology, Paris, Seuil 1980 p. 78 (non-official translation, made by G.M.)
3 P. Clastres, The archaeology of violence, pg. 83, Editions de L’aube, 1997 (non-official translation, made by


"…while practically all the arts have made a great advance and we are living today in a very different world from the old one, I consider that nothing has been more revolutionised and improved than the art of war."
-Demosthenes Third Philippic #48 (341 BCE).

Even scientists, when engaging in debates, often disregard much of the evidence of those whose opinions they disagree with. This is symptomatic of the universal human tendency to take a position and staunchly never budge. Rather than carefully consider opposing arguments, we are markedly prone to ignore them, ridicule them or attack those who present them. It is highly refreshing, therefore, to find two authors who have serious disagreements, but don’t lapse into such behaviour. Lawrence Keeley and Raymond Kelly are concerned with the origins of human warfare. The subject itself is clearly important. It is the way they engage in inquiry and debate, though, that is truly impressive.
"The subject of war among ancient and modern tribal peoples remains prone to glib speculation, the caprices of intellectual fashion, and the deeper currents of secular mythology", wrote Keeley, in 1996. Disillusionment with modern war, he contended, twentieth century scholars had "pacified the past", arguing that pre-literate and pre-agricultural human beings were peace-loving and warfare rare, ritualised and not very deadly. In reality, pre-civilised warfare was more endemic, more brutal and took a higher toll of the populations involved than have the wars of recorded history.
In 2000, Raymond Kelly published a re-examination of the evidence and argued that war had originated very late in the evolution of the species and the human world had been warless for countless millennia before that. In other words, the pre-civilised past was, indeed, warless. Though it seemingly represented a challenge to his own argument, Keeley greeted the book as "important, interesting, plausible" and "fascinating reading". He did not dismiss its claims, even though they might be seen as antithetical to his own.
Even before I read his remarks about Kelly’s book, I had a lot of respect for Lawrence Keeley. That’s because the Preface to his own book is remarkably honest in explaining how he’d been driven by the archaeological evidence to change his whole way of thinking about warfare. That Preface is worth reading even on its own, because it shows a truly scientific mind at work, examining its own thinking, testing it, learning and revising its beliefs. As his response to Kelly shows, he is still alert and still looking to learn, rather than just entrenched behind his prejudices and his erudition, determined to drive off all challenges.
"This book had it genesis in two personal failures", his Preface begins. "One of a practical academic sort, the other intellectual…My practical failure involved two unsuccessful research proposals requesting funds to investigate the functions of recently discovered fortifications surrounding some Early Neolithic (ca 5000 BC) villages in northeastern Belgium." Archaeologists reviewing the proposal for the US National Science Foundation refused to accept that the nine foot deep ditches and palisades around the villages constituted ‘fortification’ and therefore declined to recommend funding for the research. A third proposal was accepted "only after I rewrote it to be neutral about the function" of the ditch/palisade structures, referring to it as an ‘enclosure’ rather than a ‘fortification.’ "In other words, only when the proposal was cleansed of references to that archaeological anathema, warfare, was it acceptable to my colleagues."
Nonetheless, Keeley and his Belgian colleague Daniel Cahen were "shocked" when their new research confirmed that these early villages and others they discovered during their research were, indeed, fortified. "Our mutual amazement was based on the prejudices we shared with the very colleagues who had given my early unsuccessful proposals a sceptical review. Subconsciously, we had not really believed our own arguments…Later, reflecting on my own education and career, I realised that I was as guilty as anyone of pacifying the past by ignoring or dismissing evidence of prehistoric warfare – even evidence I had seen with my own eyes." The archaeological evidence had, in fact, long been readily available, but "I (had) dismissed this data as either unrepresentative, ambiguous or insignificant." The rejection of his research proposals, he relates, had made him aware of the prejudices of his colleagues, but then he realised how he had, for many years, "worn the same blinders".
By the early 1990s, the view among archaeologists had shifted to accepting that the Early Neolithic had not, after all, been a warless golden age, but an epoch in which warfare had been endemic. Keeley was impressed by the fact that resistance had been overcome by evidence and argument. His faith in the robustness of archaeology as a science was strengthened, because he had seen that physical evidence had exhibited "an extraordinary ability to overcome even the most ingrained ideas." Like all disciplines, he conceded, archaeology "has unacknowledged blind spots, unconscious prejudices and declared theoretical biases", but because it is based on hard, physical evidence archaeology was less able than some disciplines to dismiss uncongenial facts "by selective ad hominem scepticism, clever sophistry or the currently fashionable denial that there is any ‘real past’."
The real past, revealed by archaeology far more than by any mythology, is of immense antiquity. Hominids have been around for at least two to three million years. Our own species, Homo sapiens, for well over 100,000 years. Yet, as of 500 years ago, Keeley points out, only a third of the world was civilised. "Australasia and Oceania, most of the Americas and much of Africa and north Asia remained preliterate and tribal." Such ‘peoples without history’ are the province of anthropologists. Yet what had anthropologists revealed about warfare among these prehistoric and tribal peoples? Almost nothing. "Less by sustained argument than by studied silence or fashionable reinterpretation, prehistorians have increasingly pacified the human past. The most widely used archaeological textbooks contain no references to warfare until the subject of urban civilisations is taken up. The implication is clear: war was unknown or insignificant before the rise of civilisation."
Keeley quotes a 1991 book by two military historians as exemplifying this view of human affairs. "In less than 2,000 years, man went from a condition in which warfare was relatively rare and mostly ritualistic to one in which death and destruction were achieved on a modern scale…The Iron Age also saw the practice of war firmly rooted in man’s societies and experience and, perhaps more importantly, in his psychology. War, warriors and weapons were now a normal part of human existence." He quotes a professor of sociology as from a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, in 1991. The sociologist wrote of "the emotional richness and cultural diversity of traditional African tribal life" compared with "the enhanced capacity for destructiveness that the emergence of all civilisational structures brought forth, such as organised mass warfare."
This idea, that warfare as such and its deadly nature in particular arose with civilisation, whereas prehistoric societies had lived lives of emotional richness, peace and mutual good will, is the myth Keeley set out to confute. He adduced three kinds of evidence. First, archaeological remains of mass killings dating back to prehistoric times in Africa, Europe and the Americas. Second, the brutality exhibited in prehistoric warfare. Third, the remarkable statistical evidence showing that, on a per capita basis, tribal and prehistoric warfare was both more endemic and far more deadly than the famous wars of the historical and civilised world.
At a Late Palaeolithic site called Gebel Sahaba, in the Sudan, dating back as far as 12,000 BCE, 40 per cent of the skeletons recovered from a burial ground used over several generations showed signs of having been killed in combat or having been executed by blows to the head and neck. At Talheim, Germany, a Neolithic mass grave has been found with the remains of eighteen adults and sixteen children who had been killed and thrown into a large pit. At Crow Creek, South Dakota, "archaeologists found a mass grave containing the remains of more than 500 men, women and children, who had been slaughtered, scalped and mutilated during an attack on their village" in around 1325 CE, ie more than 150 years before Columbus crossed the Atlantic. In short, as Keeley observes, well "before any possible contact with civilisations, the tribesmen of Neolithic Europe, like those of the prehistoric United States, were..wiping out whole settlements."
Regarding the brutality of prehistoric warfare, Keeley points out that adult males of an enemy tribe were very rarely taken prisoner, allowed to surrender or spared from execution. Usually they were summarily killed. If prisoners were taken, it was usually in order to use them as sacrificial victims or to torture them to death over several days and possibly to eat them. Such behaviours have been documented, he relates, "for the Maoris and Marquesans of Polynesia, Fijians, a few North American tribes,, several South American groups and various New Guinea groups." He then adds, "Of course, many tribal societies took no prisoners and retained no captives of any sex or age…Perhaps the harshest treatment of captives was meted out in Polynesia. The Tahitians are described as leaving enemy children pinned to their mothers with spears or ‘pierced through the head and strung on cords’. The Maoris sometimes disabled captive women so that they could not escape, permitting the warriors to rape, kill and eat them when it was more convenient to do so."
The most interesting category of evidence, however, is the statistical. Keeley makes the startling observation that the absolute numbers of people killed in civilised warfare (70,000 in one day at Cannae in 216 BCE, for example, or 50 million in the six years of the Second World War) mislead us into thinking that tribal or prehistoric warfare, even where it existed, was a trivial and relatively harmless affair by comparison. Calculated as a percentage of the populations at risk, he argues, this is so far from being true that we need to rethink our whole way of looking at warfare. "A typical tribal society lost about .5 per cent of its population in combat each year." This may sound trivial, but that is a statistical illusion. Consider that the total number of people killed through all causes in the wars of the twentieth century was between 100 and 150 million. Then consider that, if you applied the tribal death rate from war to twentieth century populations, there would have been "more than 2 billion war deaths since 1900."
Keeley adds a thought-provoking footnote for the benefit of those sceptical of this approach to the evidence. "Some readers may be unconvinced by percentage comparisons between populations of hundreds or thousands of people and populations of millions or tens of millions – that is, they are more impressed by absolute numbers than ratios. However, consistent with such views, such sceptical readers must also disdain any calculations of death rates per patient or passenger mile and therefore always choose to undergo critical surgery at small, rural Third World clinics and fly on small airlines. At such medical facilities and on such airlines, the total number of patient or passenger deaths is always far fewer than those occurring on major airlines or at large university and urban hospitals. These innumerate readers should also prefer residence on one of the United States’s small Indian reservations to life in any of its metropolitan areas, since the annual absolute number of deaths from homicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, cancer, heart disease and automobile accidents will always be far fewer on the reseervations than in major cities and their suburbs."
We are unlikely to rationally or effectively address the scourge of war "while we are in the thrall of nostalgic delusions", Keeley concludes. The prehistoric and tribal world was not one of peace, plenty and emotional richness and it does not offer the solutions we need to the problems of the modern world. In sober fact, "the only practical prospect for universal peace must be more civilisation, not less. Adherence to the doctrines of the pacified past absolve us from considering the difficult question of what a truly global civilisation should consist of and, more importantly, what its political structure should be."
Raymond Kelly is not prepared, however, to give up the doctrines of the pacified past. And, despite all the evidence he has mustered against those doctrines, Keeley takes Kelly’s argument seriously. Why? Because Kelly argues carefully and dispassionately. He accepts almost all of what Keeley points out about tribal peoples since the Neolithic. He also accepts that tribal peoples everywhere have been violent, not peaceful and gentle. Yet, sifting the evidence finely, he still believes that warfare originated very late in human evolution and that he can pinpoint what led to its emergence and proliferation. He observes that "excepting a single Upper Palaeolithic site, archaeological evidence points to a commencement of warfare that postdates the development of agriculture. This strongly implies that earlier hunter-gatherer societies were warless and that the Palaeolithic was a time of universal peace."
Kelly, like Keeley, is acutely interested in argument and evidence, the testing of hypotheses and the rejection of ill-considered prejudices or theoretical biases. "The issue is too important", he remarks, "to limit ourselves only to knowledge that makes us feel good, and to consequently fail to consider all the relevant data." It is principally for this reason, I think, that Keeley warmed to his writing. He does not reject any of Keeley’s evidence, yet he finds Keeley’s argument inconclusive. He is aware of Keeley’s "survey of a substantial body of relevant ethnographic and archaeological data and…his denunciation of what he sees as ‘the pacification of the past’." He specifically argues, however, that the "earliest conclusive archaeological evidence of warfare" is that described by Keeley at Gebel Sahaba. Prior to that, however, going back over hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution, he finds evidence of violence, not evidence of warfare. This is a distinction very important to his case and, as it happens, one that Keeley had not paid very much attention to. It leads Kelly to a fascinating hypothesis.
" If war is not a primordial feature of human society, he reflects, then it must have originated at some point in the human past". The question is, was that far back in the Upper Palaeolithic as long as 35,000 years ago, or perhaps even before the emergence of modern humans about 150,000 years ago, or was it much more recently? Here is where he urges that we must define our terms with care. "It is not the case", he argues, "that one definition of war is as good as another. Rather, there are explicit logical criteria for establishing a superior definition." Thus, we need to differentiate between homicide, capital punishment, raiding, feuding and warfare. To make this point he observes that "pongicide (apes killing one another) is an analogue of homicide and both are undoubtedly ancient. However, chimpanzees lack both capital punishment and war."
"War", he argues, "is grounded in the application of a calculus of social substitution to situations of conflict such that these are understood in group terms." Warless societies are not non-violent. "On the contrary, physical violence is…a principal vehicle of conflict resolution, as manifested in regulated, contest-like fighting and in the removal of a killer or sorcerer by execution. However, what warless societies do uniformly manifest are intrinsic limitations on the extent to which one act of lethal violence leads to another." The emergence of war in the Neolithic, he argues, must be seen, therefore, as "a transition from one form of collective violence to another, rather than a transition from peaceful non-violence to lethal armed conflict."
Kelly corroborates Keeley’s contention that primitive societies are very violent ones. "Homicide rates in simple foraging societies", he accepts, "are considerably higher than those reported for agricultural societies with more developed forms of sociopolitical organisation." But "the calculus of social substitution that is the hallmark of war is clearly absent" and "delineating this boundary makes it possible to rigorously discriminate between the warless societies and those in which warfare is present." He argues that it can be empirically shown that this boundary was probably not crossed by the overwhelming majority of human societies before the beginnings of agriculture.
Then a transformation set in. The engine of that transformation, he argues, consisted of an adaptive modification towards war among societies competing for reliable and abundant, not scarce, resources. This last point is as counter-intuitive and important as Keeley’s observation about absolute numbers and ratios, so it is worth pondering. Kelly calls it a paradox, but he draws attention to the fact that it is only under such conditions "that a society can afford to have enemies for neighbours". The demographics of warfare, as described by Keeley, dictate that warlike societies would have been selected against right down through the Upper Palaeolithic, because they would have been "unable to colonise environments characterised by low resource density, diversity and predictability." The ethnographic case material Kelly uses to make this point is analysed with a scrupulous care that won Keeley’s admiration.
This is a beautiful argument and it is not yet over. It proceeds by the careful weighing of evidence, the testing of hypotheses and the refinement of definitions. It therefore actually throws light back into the past, rather than generating consoling myths in the present. This is social science at its finest and most illuminating. Lawrence Keeley remarked, in a footnote to his book, that successive waves of existentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism and postmodernism, coming out of Europe, "have left American universities a ‘burned-over district’ like those areas of nineteenth century New England exhausted by a succession of religious evangelisms." His engagement with Raymond Kelly, however, is fresh, lucid and scientific. So long as scholarship of this calibre is possible, America’s universities – and hopefully our own – will remain laboratories of learning and not mere cloisters of ideological evangelism.

Lawrence H. Keeley War Before Civilisation: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage, Oxford University Press, 1996.
Raymond C. Kelly Warless Societies and the Origins of War, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2000.
For an outstanding, magnificently illustrated account of the whole process of human evolution, see Donald Johanson and Blake Edgar From Lucy to language, Cassell Paperbacks, 2001.
ibid p. 22, quoting R. Gabriel and A. Metz From Sumer to Rome: The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies, Greenwood Press, New York, 1991, pp. 3, 19.
Keeley, p. 37.
Ibid p. 38.
ibid p. 68.
Ibid p. 85.
Ibid p. 87.
Ibid p. 93.
Ibid p. 214 n21.
Ibid p. 179.
Kelly Warless Societies and the Origin of War, p. 2.
Ibid p. 18.
Ibid p. 125.
Ibid p. 148.
Ibid p. 123.
Ibid pp. 41-43.
Ibid p. 20.
Ibid p. 10.
Ibid p. 135.
Keeley, op. cit. p. 221 n1.

The Death Toll - La Conta dei Morti / Rome, Friday May 8th, 2009 - Roma, Venerdì 8 Maggio 2009

Violence, warfare, sacrality and power in the European Bronze Age
Violenza, guerra, sacralità e potere nell'età del bronzo europea
Sapienza Università di Roma
Piazzale A. Moro, 5
Odeion of the Museum of Classical Art
Odeion del Museo dell'Arte Classica
Letters Building - University Citadel - basement
Palazzo di Lettere - Città Universitaria - piano interrato

Conference Organization / Organizzazione del Convegno:

The Conference aims at promoting a wide-ranging discussion of the evolving perspectives
on human deposition and burial in the European Bronze Age. Violence, warfare, sacrality
and power are intended as relevant correlates of the former. Particular interest is put on
quantitative and formal logical approaches.
The complexity of the argument, quickly evolving in the research, will be addressed by
spotlighting. It is hoped to stimulate the participants to discuss the roots of their
approach to the archaeological record of the dead.

Poster proposals must be submitted by the e nd of Februar y through the e-mail of the
Conference organization:
Requests of information are welcome. Proponents should include:
I. a title, with possible subtitle, clearly summarizing the subject; the list of the authors;
II. a text, in Mid-Atlantic English, explaining the subject of the poster (maximum 1.500
III. eventually, few pictures referring to the poster;
IV. no more than 2 titles of related bibliography.
At least one of the presenters is expected to attend the Conference, as representative for
the discussion.
Poster selection will take place during the month of March; before the end of the month,
possibly by March 15th, each proponent will receive a positive or negative answer.
By the end of April, presenters must send 3 slides in Microsoft Powerpoint format and a
text explaining the poster to the discussants, through the e-mail of the Conference
Posters will be hanging since the Conference opening.
The presenters' representative should be ready to enter the discussion in relation to all
the aspects treated by the poster.

Conference Organization / Organizzazione del Convegno:


El estudio arqueológico de conflictos bélicos pasados ha tenido un fuerte
desarrollo en los últimos años. Este cambio que venimos observando queda
evidenciado a través de la creación de un número creciente de publicaciones
científicas, incluyendo una revista expresamente dedicada al tema (Journal of
Conflict Archaeology), una serie regular de conferencias (como la Fields of
Conflict Conference, de carácter bianual), y un grupo de trabajo académico
dentro del ámbito europeo (ESTOC, European Studies of Terrains of Conflict).
Por otra parte, este interés en un análisis científico y civil de la guerra,
incluyendo causas, consecuencias y restos materiales, no tiene aún la misma
importancia en Europa que en los países de tradición anglosajona. En este
contexto internacional, la presencia de investigadores del estado español es
muy escasa debido a la desconexión existente entre los diferentes trabajos que
se están realizando en la actualidad. El amplio abanico temporal que estos
trabajos abarcan (desde la Prehistoria hasta la contemporaneidad) no facilita
una relación estrecha entre los distintos grupos de investigación, que
frecuentemente están más vinculados a investigadores de su mismo periodo.
Adicionalmente, las metodologías desarrolladas para investigar algunos
de estos hechos no son excesivamente conocidas en el ámbito académico de
las universidades españolas. A diferencia de la arqueología de asentamientos,
en un campo de batalla no siempre se encuentran estructuras perdurables, ya
que los eventos que en él ocurrieron tuvieron una duración reducida, que
puede ir desde unas horas a pocos meses. Por ese motivo se han desarrollado
nuevas técnicas de excavación que ponen especial énfasis en el análisis
geoespacial de los materiales de la batalla a partir de plataformas GIS
(Geographical Information Systems).
La arqueología de campos de batalla, por otra parte, es una nueva
fuente de datos que puede aportar un conocimiento muy relevante en
conjunción con otro tipo de información, como por ejemplo fuentes textuales,
cartografía y fotografías. En este sentido los equipos de investigación tienden a
ser multidisciplinares (arqueólogos, historiadores, geólogos, informáticos, etc.),
y sus resultados suficientemente completos.
Finalmente, hemos de tener también en cuenta que las guerras no se
han luchado tan sólo en campos de batalla, y por ese motivo la arqueología del
conflicto se extiende a otras áreas de la disciplina que también nos pueden
ofrecer datos reveladores. Algunas de estas áreas son la excavación de fosas
comunes (provenientes de una batalla u otras causas), el estudio
geoarqueológico de fortificaciones y trincheras, los estudios sobre el patrimonio
resultante o la memoria que perdura de estos eventos.

El objetivo básico de esta sesión centrada en la arqueología del conflicto
es crear una visión panorámica de los trabajos que se están realizando en este
campo. Desde el punto de vista científico será interesante reunir investigadores
que trabajen sobre diferentes épocas a fin de detectar puntos de contacto entre
los diversos conflictos facilitado por la perspectiva diacrónica.
Como campo del conocimiento emergente, la arqueología del conflicto
no tiene aún un marco teórico y metodológico definido. Por ese motivo el
segundo objetivo de la sesión es el debate sobre las diferentes técnicas que
pueden ser usadas por el arqueólogo en un yacimiento de estas
características. La multitud de técnicas aplicadas en el estudio de campos de
batalla (incluyendo GIS, pero también prospección con detectores de metales y
GPS, excavación de trincheras, etc.) pueden ser apropiadas para más de una
época, y por tanto se nos revela como necesaria la puesta en común de las
diferentes investigaciones.
Además de estos objetivos teóricos, en la sesión también se mostrarán
casos de estudio concretos. Desde la Prehistoria a la Guerra Civil en la
Península Ibérica ha habido innumerables conflictos que, inevitablemente, han
generado campos de batalla, que tan sólo en los últimos tiempos están siendo
considerados yacimientos arqueológicos. Por este motivo la presentación de
los trabajos que en ellos se estén realizando es fundamental de cara a recordar
la importancia de estos hechos, tanto para el trasfondo histórico de los
gobiernos involucrados como, especialmente, para la gente que sufrió el
conflicto, sean éstos civiles o combatientes.
Finalmente la sesión pretende mostrar al resto de investigadores qué es
la arqueología del conflicto. Al tratarse de una metodología nueva y con una
parte importante de trabajos relacionados con época moderna y
contemporánea, no siempre los resultados de estas investigaciones llegan al
resto de investigadores de otras áreas de la disciplina arqueológica. Por ese
motivo creemos importante concentrar todos los trabajos en una reunión
unificada que muestre tanto las distintas metodologías usadas como sus
resultados. Además, pretendemos que el debate generado responda a muchas
de las preguntas que nos planteamos y que plantee otras nuevas que sirvan de
acicate para la continuación de la investigación arqueológica, tanto en esta
área como en otras.

Puntos de discusión:
¿Qué metodologías se pueden usar en la arqueología del conflicto?
¿Qué tipo de información podemos recoger de un campo de batalla, de
una trinchera, de un refugio?
¿Existen conexiones entre conflictos de diferentes épocas?
¿Se puede detectar algún tipo de patrones de regularidad en batallas de
una misma contienda?
¿Qué significados se le da a la guerra en diferentes contextos?
¿Qué datos nos revelan los yacimientos estudiados que no observamos
en otras fuentes?
Utilidad de la arqueología del conflicto en la sociedad actual.

Si estás interesado en formalizar una propuesta de participación para
esta sesión, ponte en contacto con los coordinadores de sesión:
Coordinadores de la sesión:
Xavier Rubio Campillo []
Investigador grupo DIDPATRI (Didáctica y Patrimonio) de la Universitat de
Passeig de la Vall d’Hebron núm.171, edificio de Llevant, 1er piso, despacho
115 - 08035, Barcelona.
Teléfono de contacto: 669 958 514
Manuel Sánchez-Elipe Lorente []
Doctorando del departamento de Prehistoria de la Facultad de Geografía e
Historia de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Avda. del profesor Aranguren s/n - 28040, Madrid.
Teléfono de contacto: 660 674 844

«Os rostos da batalha» II Curso Livre de História Militar - 25 / 03 / 2009 a 03/ 06 / 2009 (11 sessões)

25 de Março
De Solferino a Guantánamo: O Direito Internacional Humanitário
Major-General Adelino de Matos Coelho (Exército/Direcção de História e Cultura Militar)
1 de Abril
A Arqueologia do campo de batalha
Prof. Doutor Carlos Fabião (FLUL/UNIARQ)
8 de Abril
A Batalha no Mundo Clássico: Conceito e problemas
Prof. Doutor José Varandas (FLUL/CHUL)
15 de Abril
De Hattin a Jerusalém: A batalha pelo OutreMer
Prof. Doutor Hermenegildo Fernandes (FLUL/CHUL)
22 de Abril
A guerra dos cem anos (Trancoso e Aljubarrota –1385)
Prof. Doutor Pedro Gomes Barbosa (FLUL/CHUL)
29 de Abril
Alcácer-Quibir: esperança de um império e crise do reino de Portugal
Prof.ªDoutora Maria de Fátima Reis (FLUL/CHUL)
6 de Maio
Trava-se Napoleão (BUÇACO –1810)
Coronel de Engenharia Francisco de Sousa Lobo (Exército)
13 de Maio
A última batalha das Guerras liberais (Asseiceira –1834)
Prof. Doutor António Ventura (FLUL/CHUL)
20 de Maio
Mouzinho e Gungunhana(Chaimite –1895)
Dr. Miguel Sanches de Baêna (CHUL)
27 de Maio
Portugal na Grande Guerra (Lalys–1918)
Tenente-Coronel de Artilharia Aniceto Afonso (Exército)
3 de Junho
Operação «nó górdio» (1970)
Coronel de Cavalaria Carlos Matos Gomes (Exército)

Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa –Anfiteatro III *18h00 –20h00
Inscrição: 100 € (alunos da Faculdade de Letras: 80 €)
Inscrições no Centro de História da Universidade de Lisboa
Inscreva-se também no I Curso Livre Guerra no Mar e poupe 25 €
Coordenação científica:
António Ventura
José Varandas

Monday, 23 February 2009

Killer chimpanzees and human warfare - John Hawks

Posted at 21:28 on 02/10/2005

This article from World Science Net popped into my inbox today. It's basically a short news story on an upcoming research presentation by David Watts (Yale University) on the incidence of intergroup chimpanzee violence at Kibale. The article has Watts and Richard Wrangham (Harvard University) in support of the idea that chimpanzee violence is widespread and homologous with human violence, and Brian Ferguson (Rutgers University) speaking against the idea. The basic observation has been well understood: under certain circumstances, chimpanzee males will kill members of neighboring groups. This occurs most commonly when the victims are caught alone, and repeated instances have in at least one case basically wiped out the males in a targeted group (at Gombe). The new observations at Kibale just add to this record, with Wrangham noting that 49 killings have been documented to date, with two-thirds "either directly seen...or inferred from clear evidence such as chimps prancing around a brutalized corpse." Wrangham offers this as a counterargument to the idea that the chimpanzees have merely disappeared without researchers really knowing if they have been killed, although that argument itself is weak on its face to anyone who has lived on a farm and wondered why the dog suddenly stopped coming for dinner. Maybe sometimes chimps, like dogs, just wander off; but with the dog it is a lot more likely that it has been hit by a car, and I have to imagine that the idea that chimpanzees are just "disappearing" is about as likely as the dog finding a new home that somehow isn't with one of the neighbors.
Really, the central question that most people think is interesting is whether the behavior of chimpanzees has any predictive value for the behavior of ancient humans. Here, I think the data is very weak. The chimpanzee observations clearly show that deliberate killing is within the cognitive range of chimpanzees. If killing is cognitively possible for chimpanzees, we may infer that it would have been so for early hominids also. But this really does nothing to demonstrate that killing would have been in any way adaptive for early hominids. For chimpanzees, the adaptive story has to do with the sizes of groups and types of competition that individuals--especially males--face. And as Wrangham points out, chimpanzees not only have motive, but also opportunity stemming from their fission-fusion community structure, which leaves chimpanzees occasionally isolated as easy prey for packs of marauding males.
Did early hominids similarly have motive and opportunity for killing? If early hominids had more cohesive groups than chimpanzees, they might have been relatively immune from violence even if the motive were present. The relatively cohesive groups of gorillas are suggested as effective defenses against the risk of violence or infanticide from rogue males, so it would not be unusual if early hominids pursued such a strategy. And the advantages of killing or other modes of violence are not assured for early humans. For chimpanzees and other primates like langurs, male coalitions give their members an opportunity to gain mating access through coordinated action, including violence. But the freedom of action of human coalitions is more limited. Cultural inhibitions, driven by the long memories of victims and their kin, present the substantial risks of vengeance or other costs for human killers. It remains an open question whether these inhibitions against violence are more or less effective in small-scale societies like those of ancient humans. Arguably, they are ineffective in almost every society, but they nevertheless present potent reasons for most humans to avoid killing and to coordinate actions to punish killers. So we may question whether the motive to kill was likely to characterize ancient humans.
But on the other hand, biologists like Richard Alexander (University of Michigan) suggest that interactions among early human groups were likely highly competitive. Alexander suggests that this competition was one of the major factors behind the evolution of human cognitive abilities. This idea dovetails with the notion that early human groups may have been significant units of selection, with coordinated actions and altruistic behaviors characterizing within-group interactions, and violent competitions characterizing between-group interactions.
For me, a more interesting issue is the effect of violent behaviors on the pattern of natural selection within ancient human and primate populations. Unlike many modes of competition, killing has a direct selective effect, as competitors are immediately removed from the population. Selective coefficients of 0.01 or less are nonetheless immensely powerful over the course of hundreds of generations. With 49 observed cases of killing among chimpanzees, panicide seems to account for over one percent of chimpanzee deaths, and in the areas where it has been most noted (Gombe, Kibale) its incidence is much higher. The benefits to a coalition of males from killing members of adjacent communities plausibly are very high. At the very least, since males are philopatric, the reduction in size of neighboring groups will provide an assurance of the survival of the males' community, which will contain their own male progeny. Moreover, the weakening of neighboring groups may enable their female offspring to have an easier time dispersing or establishing status in the weakened neighboring groups. And of course there is the possibility that all males in the neighboring group will be exterminated, allowing some or all of the male coalition to extend their mating access to those females. Each of these advantages is potentially powerful, and together they may imply that the slight incidence of killing could nevertheless create a strong selective advantage. One criticism of the chimpanzee observations is that the chimpanzees may be suffering resource shortages or other extraordinary effects of human presence in the study areas. This might well be true, and Wrangham's argument that the chimp population is growing hardly mitigates the possible effects of overcrowding in a small forest preserve. But even if the behavior is influenced by anthropogenic processes today, this does not mean that the behavior did not occur in the past. Environmental fluctuations and ecological crises have probably recurred many times during the evolution of chimpanzees. Each crisis may not have been as serious as today's human-induced habitat loss, but each might well have influenced population sizes and community structures in ways that made killing a viable behavioral adaptation. An occurrence in populations under stress might well have a high selective effect even if it were normally neutral or maladaptive. And of course it has not been demonstrated that killing is maladaptive in normal circumstances in stable populations.

Pontas de seta (continuação) - Arrowheads (continuation)

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia

James WHITE, ed., Handbook of Indians of Canada, Published as an Appendix to the Tenth Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa, 1913, 632p., pp. 38-39.

The separate tips or points of arrow-shafts. Among the Indian tribes many, were made of flint and other varieties of stone, as well as bone, horn, antler, shell, wood, and copper. Copper was much used by such tribes as were able to obtain a supply from the L. Superior region and to some extent by those of British Columbia and Alaska . Iron has largely taken the place of these materials since the coming of the whites. In stone imple­ments of this class the only line of distinction between arrowheads and spearheads is that of size. Very few flint arrowheads are as much as 2 inches long, and these are quite slender; thick or strong ones are much shorter. Solid flesh, being almost as resistant as soft rubber, could not be penetrated by a large projectile unless it were propelled by greater power than can be obtained from a bow without artificial aid which is not at the command of [Indians]. The shape of the stone arrowhead among the Indian tribes is usually triangular or pointed­-oval, though some have very slender blades with expanding base. Many of them are notched. These were set in a slot in the end of the shaft and tied with sinew, rawhide, or cord, which passed through the notches. Those without notches were secured by the cord passing over and under the angle at the base in a figure 8 fashion. It is said that war arrows often had the head loosely attached, so that it would remain in the wound when the shaft was withdrawn, while the hunting point was firmly secured in order that the arrow might be recovered entire. Glue, gum, and cement were used in some sections for fixing the point or for rendering the fastening more secure. A specimen which has the end rounded or squared instead of flattened is known as a "bunt." As a rule both faces are worked off equally so as to bring the edge opposite the middle plane of the blade, though it is sometimes a little on one side. For the greater part these seem to be redressed ordinary spearheads, knives, or arrowheads whose points have been broken off, though some appear to have been originally made in this form. A few are smooth or polished at the ends, as if used for knives or scrapers; but most of them have no marks of use except occasionally such as would result from being shot or struck against a hard sub­stance. It is probable that their purpose was to stun birds or small game, in order to secure the pelt or plumage free from cuts or blood stain. They are relatively few in number, though widely distributed in area. The Eski­mo employ arrowheads of stone of usual forms.

Luis Lobato de Faria

Este excerto descreve-nos que o tamanho de uma ponta de seta pode prejudicar a sua eficácia e traz-nos um dado importante acerca das pontas usada na guerra, a intenção de deixar a ponta na ferida.
This excerpt describes us that the size of a arrowhead can reduce his efficacy and brings us an important fact about the arrowheads used in primitive war, the intention to leave the arrowhead in the wound.
Os autores Palomo i Pérez e Gibaja Bao (2003, p. 179), no estudo das pontas de seta encontradas em monumentos do Neolítico \ Calcolítico da Catalunha, lançam a hipótese de estas terem chegado ali dentro dos corpos do inumados, para o hipogeo de la Costa de can Martorell:
The authors Palomo i Pérez and Gibaja Bao (2003, p. 179), in the study of the arrowheads found in monuments of the Neolithic \ Calcolítico of Catalunha, throw the hypothesis of their arrival, on the monument, inside the bodies, for the hipogeo de la Costa de can Martorell:
"…pel context funerari on van aparèixer les puntes, una inhumació múltiple d’uns 200 individus,…i pel gran índex de fractures documentades en les puntes,…deriva en el plantejament de la hipòtesi que una part de les puntes haguessin arribat a l’espai funerari clavades en els cadàvers.".
PALOMO I PÉREZ, Antoni; GIBAJA BAO, Juan Francisco (2003) – Análisis tecnomorfológica/funcional i experimental de las puntes de flexta. In La costa de can Martorell (Dosrius, El Marcéeme). Laietania. Estudis d´arqueologia i d´história. Museu de Mataró. 14, p. 179-214.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Pontas de seta

Ventura, José; Senna-Martinez, João (2001) – Do conflito à guerra: Aspectos do desenvolvimento e institucionalização da violência na Pré-História Recente Peninsular. Turres Vetras V. (História Militar e Guerra).

Discussão no Forum em Pontas de seta - discussão

Resumo por
Luis Lobato de Faria
Neste artigo temos a problemática da definição de guerra na Pré-História recente. Coloca a necessidade de comprovação pelo registo arqueográfico das vítimas desta guerra, de um forma directa, indirecta ou contextual. Começa por descrever três casos onde a Bioantropologia, na Península Ibérica, identifica prováveis vítimas. De seguida aborda a necessidade de estudar a eficácia dos equipamentos ofensivos disponíveis, sendo este o principal conteúdo do artigo, nomeadamente no que toca às pontas de seta.
É efectuada uma abordagem teórica do comportamento de uma amostra de pontas de seta do Neolítico Final da Plataforma do Mondego. O arco e a haste das setas são calculados a partir de paralelos. O efeito traumático sobre o alvo das pontas de seta é calculado a partir de fórmulas, sendo o resultado tabelado por estudos do exército dos EUA. Nesta tabela apenas os valores mais alto são considerados como determinantes no uso das setas na guerra. Este estudo conclui que todas as pontas de seta eram funcionais. Que 52% seriam para a caça de pequeno porte, 27% caça de médio porte e apenas 21% para caça de grande porte ou para a guerra. Conclui ainda que as bases das pontas de seta não são directamente correlacionáveis com a sua função.
Os autores apontam para a necessidade de mais e maiores estudos e alertam para a necessidade de testar teorias de guerra total ou da inexistência desta.

Tribal Warfare and Blood Revenge

The History of the Shuar

Within the vast region of the Amazon a perpetual animosity existed between the neighboring tribes of the Jivaro. Once again, due to the fervent belief in witch craft and sorcery this was the primary cause of warfare between the tribes. A fundamental difference between wars enacted within the same tribe and against neighboring tribes is such that " wars between different tribes are in principle wars of extermination" ( Karsten, p. 277) A significant goal of these wars was geared toward the annihilation of the enemy tribe, including women and children. This was done in order to prevent them from seeking revenge against the victors in the future. There were however, many instances where the women and children were taken as prisoners and forced to become a part of the victors families. It is solely in these wars that trophies/tsantsa were taken. The Jivaros consistently engaged in this practice toward their mortal enemies.
As wars between tribal cultures were not instigated with the hope of acquiring additional territory, as soon as fighting was over, the victorious tribesmen made a hasty retreat. Superstitious fear and contempt of the enemy compelled the Jivaros to abandon the area quickly where they believed that secret supernatural dangers would threaten them after they had conquered their natural enemies.
Should blood revenge have continued at the extreme rate of the early 1900's, extermination was evident. Through the work of missionaries, the killing slowly subsided.
Today, in a relatively calm existence, superstitions are still very strong, but the harm done to past ancestors is not forgotten.
Inter-Tribal Feuding and Blood RevengeThe Jivaro by nature are a highly superstitious and impulsive people, thereby giving rise to frequent disputes and wars between each other, as well as between neighboring tribes. Because witchcraft and sorcery can account for the majority of murders and natural deaths within a tribe, it is not surprising that the medicine men ,or shamans, are most susceptible to attack as they are frequently accused of using their powers against others. Each tribe is thereby compelled to kill the opposing medicine man to free themselves of his evil magic.
On the whole, the Jivaro Indians do subscribe to the notion of a natural death, but rather attributed each death to supernatural causes. Following each death a vicious cycle of retaliation ensues in which someone is always held accountable for the murder of another. As the Jivaro Indian is consumed with the notion of retaliation, his " desire for revenge is an expression of his sense of justice." (Karsten, p. 271) This cycle of blood-revenge is perpetuated by religious reasons by which the soul of the victim requires that his relatives should avenge his death. If the surviving members do not retaliate against the slayer, the anger of the vengeful spirit may in fact turn against themselves. If blood-revenge cannot be directed to the actual slayer, it may be directed toward one of his relations. Once a murder has been avenged, blood-guilt or tumashi akerkama is atoned for and the offended family is satisfied
Male children were taught at an early age about the concept of blood revenge. The father instructs the younger men, often as young as six years of age, to listen to the various crimes that had been committed against his people. A strong sense of family justice is instilled in the minds of the young, who are later expected to avenge previous injustices committed against their family members. Further incentive is encouraged by the notion of reward, including blessings, good luck, long life and many opportunities to kill one's enemy.
It must be noted that trophies/ tsantsa were not taken during the disputes between blood-relatives.

Tribal warfare kills nine in Indonesia's Papua

Agence France-Presse (AFP)
bs/skj/sst AFP 120426 GMT 03 07

JAKARTA, March 12, 2007 (AFP) - Nine people were killed and more than 150 hurt in Indonesia's remote Papua province after a murder accusation triggered clashes between tribesmen armed with spears and arrows, police said Monday.
A woman accused of poisoning her husband to death encouraged members of her clan to attack members of a rival group which her accuser -- and her dead husband -- belonged to, according to police spokesman Kartono Wangsadisastra.
Nine people were killed in the ensuing clashes between the Kobagau and Sani tribes and 154 others were injured, including a policeman hit by an arrow, the spokesman told AFP.
"We have managed to curb the violence, but as long as no customary peace-making ceremony has been held, it may well erupt again," he said.
According to tradition, a death should be avenged by another death or the killer's tribe must pay a hefty fine of prized pigs and hold a feast to seal peace.
Papua in eastern Indonesia is home to tribes that engage in elaborate war rituals to resolve disputes, with each camp taking turns to shoot arrows and throw spears. Around 15 people were killed in weeks of clashes last year.
More than 300 tribes are believed to make their homes in the province's jungles, some yet to have any contact with the outside world.

Abstract - Isotopic signatures and hereditary traits: snapshot of a Neolithic community in Germany - Bentley et al.

R. Alexander Bentley, Joachim Wahl, T. Douglas Price and Tim C. Atkinson
Volume: 82 Number: 316 Page: 290–304

A group of Linearbandkeramik people at Talheim, Germany were previously found to have died at the same time, probably in a massacre, and the authors were able to ask some searching questions of their skeletons. The isotope signatures of strontium, oxygen and carbon, which gave information on diet and childhood region, showed up three groups which correlated with hereditary traits (derived previously from the analysis of the teeth). In the local group, there were many local children but no adult women, suggesting they had been selectively taken alive at the time of the massacre. Another group, with isotope signatures derived from upland areas, includes two men who may have been closely related. A third group has a composition suggestive of a nuclear family. The variations of one type of isotope signature with another suggested subtle interpretations, such as transhumance, and a probable labour division in the community between stockholders and cultivators. Here we see the ever-growing potential of these new methods for writing the ‘biographies’ of prehistoric skeletons.

Warfare and Conquest

Warfare has been defined in both broad and narrow terms. In the broad view, warfare is armed conflict between any social or political units. In this view, societies as diverse as bands of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, Neolithic farming tribes, Celtic high chiefdoms, petty states, and the Roman Empire can conduct war. The narrow definition confines war to state-level societies—those with the hierarchical organization to centrally direct armies that are led by, if not consisting wholly of, full-time military specialists. This constricted view is historically misleading and anthropologically absurd. Roman legionnaires routed and killed by warriors of a Celtic hill tribe were just as vanquished as those beaten by a Persian army. Indeed, it took the Romans more time and manpower to conquer the small Celtiberian tribes of northern Spain (four to six legions and two hundred years of continuous fighting) than it took them to subdue Macedonia and Greece (two to four legions and, in total, about twenty years of intermittent combat). Under the narrow definition, the very terms "prehistoric warfare" and "tribal warfare" are oxymorons, which means that recent tribes such as the Apache, Maori, and Taureg never made war. For many reasons, then, the broad definition is preferable and is used here.
Archaeological evidence for warfare is recovered in four categories: human remains; fortifications; weapons and armor; and artistic representations. Only when classical authors begin to describe warfare of their societies with the so-called barbarians of more northerly Europe were there written accounts to supplement the physical evidence revealed by archaeology.

Human remains often bear witness to the traumas caused by weapons. These include sword cuts, the indentations made by stone axes and adzes, and depressed fractures made by maces or other bluntforce weapons. The most common type of weapon traumas found on victims of early warfare are embedded stone or bone projectile points. Any of these types of traumas can be considered the cause of death, especially when there are no signs that the wound healed.
Archaeological evidence for warfare can also be seen in the treatment of the body after death. Bodies of war victims were often left where they fell or dumped into mass graves. Bodies that were not buried soon after death often suffered mutilation by animal scavengers. War victims were also mutilated in the course of hostilities. One common type of peri-mortem (i.e., about the time of death) mutilation is known as "overkill," which involves striking the victim with numerous blows or multiple projectiles— any one of which would have been fatal. Another kind of mutilation involves the taking of war trophies—heads, hands, or other body parts—leading to burials with either too few or too many body parts for the individual interred. There is also sometimes evidence for cannibalization of the victims. These types of mutilation suggest that the victors wanted to either humiliate their victims or to acquire the victim's spiritual power.
When these stigmata co-occur, warfare was the certain cause. For example, more than 6,000 years ago, at the Early Neolithic site of Herxheim, Germany, more than three hundred people died violent deaths. Crania from these individuals were discovered at regular intervals in the two defensive ditches enclosing the site, indicating that victims were decapitated and their skulls thrown in the ditch or placed atop posts that later collapsed into the ditch. The crania bore traumas from axes and some type of blunt weapon. The Herxheim skulls thus evidence all of the signs commonly found on war victims—weapon traumas, mutilation, trophy taking, and atypical disposal of the dead.
Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. The bones of early European hominids show many healed and unhealed traumas. For example, Neanderthals seem to have been particularly accident-prone. But before the widespread use of stone and bone projectile tips by modern humans in the Upper Palaeolithic (c. 40,000–35,000 years ago), it is very difficult to determine whether these traumas were caused by human violence or other more prosaic causes. Evidence of homicide appears as soon as modern humans appear in Europe, such as the Grimaldi, Italy, child with a bone projectile point embedded in its spine (c. 32,000 years ago) and the mass grave of twenty individuals with head traumas at Predmost.
The appearance of true cemeteries consisting of many primary burials during the Mesolithic (c. 9600–4300 B.C.) increases the archaeological visibility of homicide and warfare. In France, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, and the Ukraine, between 3 and 16 percent of the bodies excavated were of individuals with embedded projectile points. (By comparison, 3.3 percent of the French met violent deaths during World War I.) Evidence for trophy taking comes from the Late Mesolithic site at Ofnet Cave (7500 B.C.), in Germany, where two caches containing a total of at least thirty-three skulls were found, arranged "like eggs in a basket." Most of these crania had multiple holes knocked in them by stone adzes and many still-articulated neck bones showed marks from throat cutting. These men's, women's, and children's skulls were probably "trophies" from a single massacre. Smaller caches of skulls and associated neck vertebrae bearing similar traumas have been found at three other Late Mesolithic sites in Germany and northern France (Hohlenstein-Stadel, Kaufertsberg, and Mannlefelsen). These and other finds indicate that the economic and social landscape of Mesolithic Europe was highly disputed and violent. This evidence is clearly contrary to oftrepeated claim that foragers were peaceful and warfare only began with farming.
Neolithic. In the Neolithic period there is plentiful palaeopathological evidence for warfare. The skeletons of at least 6 percent and possibly more than 19 percent of Early Neolithic individuals of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK or Linear Pottery culture) exhibit traumas indicating a violent death. At Talheim, Germany, thirty-four bodies bearing weapons traumas were dumped haphazardly into a large pit. Like the skulls from Ofnet Cave, many of these were perforated, often several times (an example of overkill), with D-shaped holes of a type that could only have been made by a groundstone "shoe-last" adze of LBK design. The demography of the victims implies that an entire small village was killed, although there seem to be fewer young women among the victims than expected, possibly because they were taken as captives.
At Schletz-Asparn, Austria, an enclosed Early Neolithic (LBK) village was destroyed, along with most of its population. Archaeologists have recovered the fragmented skeletons of some one hundred people. Many skulls had fatal axe or club wounds, and there was evidence of animal gnawing, indicating that the bodies were simply left where they fell and that there was no one left to bury them. Only later were the partially disarticulated remains cast into the enclosing ditch and covered with earth. The clear underrepresentation of young women in the skeletal remains suggests that women were carried away, whereas the others were simply killed. Talheim, Schletz-Asparn, and the aforementioned Herxheim, alone, evidence the violent deaths of more than 500 LBK individuals, which—compared to the 1,500 or so excavated LBK burials showing no evidence of violent death—indicate that this period was particular bellicose.
There are also indications of clashes between Early Neolithic farmers and the Late Mesolithic hunter-gatherers living beyond their zones of settlement. Refuse pits at the LBK site of Vaihingen, Germany, contained a number of skeletons, often bearing violent traumas, whose physical features were more robust (that is, Mesolithic) than those of the villagers. In southern France, a few skulls bearing the hallmarks of decapitation were discovered on an Early Neolithic site of the Cardial culture. These skulls were more similar to the inland Mesolithic populations of that region than they were to the Cardial farmers. This suggests that, like the Mesolithics before them, and the contemporary LBK farmers of Herxheim, Cardial warriors sometimes collected the skulls of their enemies as trophies.
Further evidence of warfare comes from later Neolithic sites in Britain. At least two of them were attacked by archers and burned. The body of one man was discovered in the enclosure ditch at Hambledon Hill. He had fallen after being shot in the back with an arrow, crushing an infant he was carrying beneath his body. The burned palisade subsequently collapsed on them both.
During the Middle and Late Neolithic, the archaeological visibility of weapon traumas decreases, but that does not mean that armed violence was less prevalent. Almost all the famous Neolithic megalithic and tumulus-mound tombs in western Europe were plundered of their contents, including human remains, before archaeologists could investigate or record them. In other parts of Europe, the common later Neolithic practices of cremation and secondary burial (burial after the bones had been disarticulated, defleshed and partially destroyed by exposure to weather and animal scavengers) prevent or severely hinder analyses of cause of death. The exceptions indicate that warfare was often virulent during these periods, and this is supported by the prevalence of fortifications and specialized war weapons (see below).
The famous Tirolean "Iceman" mummy, an individual of the Late Neolithic (c. 4000 B.C.), was a casualty of war. Embedded in his back, just below the shoulder joint, was a stone projectile point. This lethal projectile was of a large, shouldered design that was very different from the small, triangular arrowheads the man carried. The design of the embedded projectile would have been difficult to remove after penetration, possibly a specialized war point. Evidence of similar deaths have been found at other sites dating to the Late Neolithic. At a mass grave at Roaix, France (c. 2500 B.C.), more than one hundred persons of all ages and both sexes, often with arrow points embedded in their bones, were simultaneously buried.
Bronze Age. Although cremation and secondary burial remained common in many areas, examples of traumatic injuries and mutilation are known from several Bronze Age sites. At the site of Hernádkak, Hungary, a male skeleton was found with a bronze spearhead embedded in his pelvis. A massacre is evidenced at the site of Velim, Czech Republic (c. 2000–1700 B.C.), where the fragmentary skeletal remains of dozens of individuals who died from traumatic injuries were found. All sexes and ages were represented, and some of the their bodies appear to have been cannibalized. A number of Bronze Age burials in Hungary are missing hands and feet, possibly taken as war trophies. Some prehistorians believe that trepanation holes found on some Bronze Age skulls were attempts to treat battlefield head injuries.
In the Late Bronze Age (1700–1400 B.C.) cremation becomes the almost universal burial custom in Europe. Thus, if human physical remains provided the sole line of evidence, the Late Bronze Age would seem quite peaceful compared with earlier periods. Nonetheless, female skeletons bearing weapons traumas were found at Wicnica, Poland, and there is evidence for cannibalism from the cemetery at Velatice in the Czech Republic, where the fragmentary remains of 205 individuals were found in association with one (cremation) urn burial. Despite the dearth of remains, other archaeological evidence (see below) has convinced archaeologists that this was a period of frequent warfare and destruction, especially in eastern and central Europe.
Iron Age. Well-preserved Iron Age skeletons are rare in many areas of Europe. Most of the tumulus burials of the Early Iron Age were looted before they could be investigated. Less vulnerable "flat burials" from later in the Iron Age have been excavated and analyzed, but most seem to involve only exceptional elites. In any case, burial customs were quite varied, with cremation and exposure common in many periods and regions. At a number of burial sites in east Yorkshire, of 107 male skeletons analyzed, three had died of sword cuts. One of those buried at the great hillfort of Maiden Castle in England had been killed by a Roman ballista bolt during the Roman conquest.
In the middle of the Iron Age, the warriors of prehistoric Europe came into open conflict with their "civilized" neighbors to the south. As a result, the Celts were among the first Europeans north of the Alps mentioned by classical authors (after 550 B.C.). These accounts recorded their prowess in war, the weapons they employed, and the tactics they preferred. Especially horrifying to Romans was their taking and displaying of heads from enemy dead. Diodorus Siculus states that warriors would "embalm in cedar oil the heads of the most distinguished enemies and preserve them carefully in a chest to display them with pride" (in Ellis 1990). In addition, these were often nailed above the door of the victorious warrior's hut. At Entremont, France, a third century B.C. fortification, a stone shrine with niches for displaying trophy skulls was found along with fifteen such skulls with nail holes for attachment. Similar trophy skulls and one other shrine with skull niches (from Roquepertuse) have been found at other Iron Age sites in the region.

Fortifications are one of the most readily identifiable archaeological indicators of the possible presence of warfare during any period. Fortifications—often euphemistically called "enclosures"—are large-scale constructions that allow a relatively small number of defenders to repel forces that greatly outnumber them. The most common features of early fortifications include curtains (wooden palisades or walls of stone or earth enclosing a settlement or blocking its most vulnerable access routes), ditches in front of the curtains, bastions (projections of the curtain from which flanking fire can be directed along the curtain), and defensible gates designed to obstruct attackers and put them under fire from several directions.
Neolithic. Because of the smaller size of co-resident groups and a more nomadic way of life, no fortifications attributable to Mesolithic or earlier foragers have been discovered. On the other hand, Neolithic and later fortifications are very common throughout Europe. They are first seen in the southeast at Early Neolithic sites such as Sesklo, Dimini, and Danilo. The earliest fortifications in central and western Europe appeared when early farmers of the LBK culture colonized these regions. There are now almost one hundred known LBK fortifications, and more are found each year. They date to all phases of the culture, although they are more prevalent in the later phases in the west. While many LBK fortifications appear to have been built to counter short-term threats, some sites, such as Schletz, Eisleben, and Köln-Lindenthal, evidence multiple phases of use. LBK villages were usually not located in locations with natural defenses. As a result, man-made features were needed for protection. These included one or two ditches backed by a fireproofed (daubed) palisade, baffled or screened entrances, and (rarely) gate houses or towers. These elements are surprisingly sophisticated, as they can all be found in fortifications up until the age of gunpowder. Their sudden appearance implies that LBK farmers had inherited an older tradition of building and refining defensive works.
The defensive works at Darion and Waremme-Longchamps, both in Belgium, are typical LBK fortifications. Ditches backed by palisades enclosed both villages. The entries into the palisades were protected by two methods. At Darion's north gate, a gate tower projects out from one side of the entrance. At Longchamps, a small "guardhouse" flanked the south gate but projected inward. Also at the south gate, both the ditches and palisades overlap forming a "baffle" (known to Roman military engineers as a clavicum). A similar design was employed at Darion's south gate, but only the palisades were "baffled." Attackers entering such gates had to expose themselves to fire from their unshielded (i.e., usually right) side and/or rear. The ditches fronting LBK palisades may have simply been large "borrow pits" from which mud was extracted to fireproof the palisade. However, their cross-section was often V shaped—particularly near the vulnerable gate areas—and they were two meters deep and three meters wide in some places, so they would have offered protection even without the palisade. Indeed, the Romans defended their forts with exactly similar V-sectioned ditches of 1.2 to 3.5 meters deep that they called fossae fastigata. Another form of defended gate used during the LBK was the screened gate (as is seen at Köln-Lindenthal), known to Roman military engineers as the titulum, where a section of the palisade sat out or in from the main palisade to form a double baffle entry. Cardial farmers in south and southwest Europe, contemporaries of the LBK, also surrounded some of their settlements (such as Masseria Candelero, Italy) with ditches, sometimes with baffled ("crab-claw") gates.
In some cases, Early Neolithic fortifications were so large that it seems unlikely that the number of people living within them could have constructed them. For example, English Early Neolithic fortifications were estimated to have required over 100,000 man-hours to construct. The smaller fortifications at Darion, with only about twenty adults, would have needed about 1,700 man-days to build. Several cooperating villages must have constructed these, either as a central refuge for several nearby communities or as frontier protection for villages to the interior.
By the end of the Neolithic, in the Copper Age, regularly spaced bastions were a feature of several stone-walled fortifications, such as Chalandriani (Greece), Boussagues (France), Los Millares (Spain), and Zambujal (Portugal).
Bronze Age. Although nearly all of the fundamental features of subsequent fortifications were in use by the end of the Neolithic, fortifications continued to increase in size and number during the Bronze Age. After 4200 B.C., there was a general growth of fortifications across Europe as groups competed for resources and control of trade routes. Hillforts protected by a ditch and earthen rampart begin to make their earliest appearance in this period, as at Hradisko, Slovakia. There seem to have been few fortifications in northwest Europe during the Early Bronze Age.
During the Middle Bronze Age, much of the European continent was unfortified. Sites that had been fortified during earlier periods were still inhabited, but their defenses were either absent or in disrepair. Refuge fortifications are known from Italy, and the site of Prítluky, Slovakia, was enclosed in a double ditch and rampart. The greatest fortifications, however, appeared late in the Middle Bronze Age, with the rise of the Mycenaeans. The defenses of the Aegean palaces at Mycenae, Tiryns, and Pylos, had "Cyclopean" walls, so called because the stones used to construct them were so large that the mythological Cyclops would be needed to move them.
In the Late Bronze Age, there was an increase in the number of fortifications across Europe. The first Europeans to routinely construct hillforts were the Urnfield cultures. Some Urnfield sites were simply palisaded while others were enclosed in multiple walls and ramparts. The majority of Urnfield fortifications are in Germany, but they can also be found in southern and central Europe.
Fortifications with wall-and-fill (or "box") ramparts appear in Europe in the earliest Hallstatt phases of the Late Bronze Age. The method of construction involved building a facing wall of durable material—wood pilings, stone, or sod—and another wall two to three meters behind it. In some cases, the rear wall is tied to the face with transverse timbers, as at Poundbury in Dorset. The area between these walls was then filled with either spoil from the ditches fronting the wall or from quarries elsewhere. Box ramparts were relatively high yet resistant to slumping. They continued to be built until the ninth century B.C. and even later in some places in Britain. The rampart at Biskupin, Poland, also incorporated posts anchored into the outer slope at a 45° angle forming a kind of chevaux-de-frise. Gate areas were sometimes baffled, as at Seftenburg and the Wasserburg in Baden-Württemberg and the Mycenaean palace at Tiryns, but major advances in gate defenses came later in the Iron Age.
Around 1250 B.C. the defenses of the Mycenaean strongholds were strengthened, implying imminent conflict, but these improvements were apparently insufficient. By 1200 B.C. many sites bordering the Mediterranean were attacked, destroyed, and abandoned. Unfortified sites in Sicily were destroyed and subsequently rebuilt as fortified settlements by culturally different inhabitants. On the island of Sardinia, large stone refuge fortifications with massive walls and bastions, called nuraghi, first made their appearance at about this time. The wave of site destruction swept through the eastern Mediterranean as far as the mouth of the Nile. Its cause is still being debated.
At the same time, hillforts appeared in Italy, Ireland, and Romania. The people of the Swiss lakes region continued to utilize terrain to the best effect, locating their villages on islands or promontories and often enclosing them with substantial walls. In Ireland, artificial island strongholds, crannogs, were constructed.
Iron Age. Throughout the Iron Age, hillforts gradually increased in size, number, and complexity, particularly with regard to their entrances. Many hillforts—both on the Continent and in Britain—fell into disrepair around the middle of the first millennium B.C., suggesting some type of social collapse, only to be reoccupied by different peoples during later periods. By the sixth century B.C., hillforts on the Continent began to show the influence of classical Greece and Greek colonies, which resulted in square-bastioned fortifications such as Heuneberg, Germany, and Entremont, France, which are imitations of Greek fortifications.
The seventh century B.C. seems to have been a period of great unrest in northern Britain. Great hillforts were constructed, and farmsteads were fortified with stockades, suggesting that raiding was prevalent. In Scotland and Ireland, circular dry-stone towers called brochs began to appear, over fifty of which still survive. One of the earliest, Click-himin, developed from a fortified farm. Two of the highest are Dun Troddan (7.6 meters) and Mousa (13.7 meters). Staigue Fort, in Ireland, was 3.9 meters high and over 24 meters in diameter and had rooms built within the thickness of the walls.
Fortifications with "dump" ramparts first appeared around the fifth century B.C. Although the term "dump" implies haphazard construction, these ramparts were carefully laid. Generally, these curtains were unfaced, but their thickness and the shallow angle of the ramparts prevented slumping.
The gates of hillforts evolved throughout the first millennium B.C. The earlier examples had simple bent outset gates that formed a small courtyard, within which was the gate proper. Over time, entrance passages became longer and more complex. Whereas earlier entrances at sites like Ivinghoe Beacon were only 3.4 meters deep, later passages were lengthened to over 40 meters—the then-effective range of bowshot. Later, flanking guard chambers were added to the passageway. In some hillforts, gated barriers at the beginning and middle of the passageway reinforced this position. In the latest examples of Iron Age fortifications, entrance passages were lengthened to 45 meters and were curved at the interior end so that the gate was not visible from the exterior of the fort (as is seen at Painswick Beacon, England). Curving the entrance passage inhibited the use of fire arrows against the wooden gate or the use of battering rams. Bridges over the guard chambers, implied by the footings at Rainsborough and Titterstone Clee, subjected gate attackers to fire from above as well as both flanks. Gate screens or barbicans also came into use.
The zenith of prehistoric fortifications were the large Celtic hillforts, or oppida, which even Roman generals described with respect. By the middle of the first century B.C., some fortifications had developed into massive hilltop edifices like Alesia, which took Caesar's legions weeks to reduce. Against attackers armed with only short-range weapons such as the bow, sling, and spear, lacking siege engines and artillery, such oppida must have been nearly impregnable. This explains the relative absence of evidence that they were attacked until the Roman conquest. Many oppida enclosed so many inhabitants and such diverse activities that they have been described as "protourban centers"—that is, more like walled towns than just refuges or forts. For example, cities such as Paris, Toulouse, and Colchester began as oppida.

The earliest known weapons of war were made of stone, wood, and bone. While used for more prosaic purposes, axes, adzes, mallets, knives (of stone or bone), and hunting weapons such as bows, throwing or thrusting spears, and slings were all employed to kill humans. As noted above, embedded arrow points and weapon traumas from knives, axes, and clubs have been found on the skeletons of Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic foragers.
Neolithic. During the Neolithic, the evidence for "purpose-built" weapons of war is at best circumstantial. Weapon traumas on victims indicate that the primary weapons of Early Neolithic warriors were the bow and arrow and the groundstone axe/adze. LBK arrowheads were large triangular points that would have been difficult to withdraw, while their lack of a stem made them likely to slip off the shaft when the arrow was extracted and remain to infect the wound. Food remains indicate that LBK farmers almost never hunted, so these points, as their design suggests, may have been purpose-built for warfare. Indeed, skeletons from this period bear embedded LBK arrowheads. These points are most prevalent in western LBK distribution, where other evidence for warfare is also common. The ubiquitous groundstone adzes of the Early Neolithic are often assumed to have been used solely for woodworking. As mentioned above, the perforated skulls of many war victims indicate that these tools were also used as weapons. Further proof is found in the fact that axes are found as grave goods in LBK adult male burials. Historically, prowess in war and the wielding of weapons was a much more common source of male status than skill at carpentry.
Bronze Age. How metallurgy appeared in Europe is still a matter of debate. Whatever its origin, Europeans immediately and most commonly used these new materials to make weapons.
Purpose-built weapons of war are among the earliest of metal artifacts. The first of these were triangular-bladed daggers with round pommels produced during the Chalcolithic by the makers of beakers. This form continued to be used for weapons and ornaments up until the Iron Age. Improvements in metal technology were signaled by the appearance of the Bronze sword in about 2300 B.C. Initially, these were short leaf-bladed weapons, heavily weighted toward the point and used to slash, but as knowledge of metalworking improved they became longer and slimmer. By the middle of the Bronze Age, true cut-and-thrust swords had been developed in central and eastern Europe, while rapier-like slashing swords were developed in the Aegean. The cut-and-thrust sword did not reach the Aegean (where early weapons show ties to Anatolia) until the Late Bronze Age. The first metal lance heads also appeared around 2300 B.C. They consisted of a dagger-like head with a long tang for attaching it to the shaft. The socketed spear tip followed shortly thereafter. These spears outnumber swords ten-to-one, suggesting that they were the primary weapon of common soldiers. It was not until the Late Bronze Age that bronze was used to create heads for arrows and javelins.
A major change in the way that war was waged arrived in central Europe with the Battle-Axe culture: the war chariot. By the Early Bronze Age, war chariots are known from Moravia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Transylvania. Early chariots were typically heavy carts, more like wagons than the graceful twowheeled vehicles depicted in later art. Nevertheless, they enhanced the mobility of an army, allowing it to flank less-mobile opponents. They also increased the firepower of charioteers because they allowed more projectile weapons (arrows, javelins, etc.) to be brought rapidly to the front lines.
As weapon technology progressed, so did the need for more advanced personal defense, meaning metal body armor. The existence of baffled gates that force a warrior to expose his unshielded side implies that shields had been in use from the Early Neolithic. Early shields were undoubtedly made from perishable materials such as wood, bone, and treated leather. Early body armor made from such materials is known from the second millennium B.C. in the form of a boar tusk corselet from Aegina, Greece. Armor continued to be made from such perishable materials even in the metal ages because they were relatively inexpensive. No helmets are known before the Late Bronze Age, although they surely existed prior to that time.
Bronze armor was developed first in the Aegean and was unknown in Europe until about 1200 B.C. Armor dating from this time was discovered in a chieftain's grave in Caka, Slovakia. An early example from Dendra, Greece, consisted of bronze greaves (leg armor) and arm guards, and boar's tusk helmets, similar to those of Anatolia. By the Late Bronze Age, Aegean military equipment, such as the round shield, shows more of a central European character. By around 1000 B.C., European armor had assumed the basic forms it would keep with only minor variations for the next 2,000 years. For example, Urnfield warriors wore a bronze breastplate, greaves, and conical helmet with top knob and cheek guards, and they carried a round wooden shield sheathed in leather and sometimes bronze.
Iron Age. Iron was first worked in western Anatolia around 2000 B.C. By 1500 B.C., it was displacing bronze in that region for tools and, especially, weapons. Ironworking reached the Aegean around 1250 B.C., taking another 550 years to spread to the Britain.
In the eighth century B.C. there was an increase in iron usage in eastern and central Europe. In central Europe, it was associated with the early Celtic cultures of Hallstatt C and D. They were skilled ironworkers, producing a variety of iron weapons and tools, from socketed axes to billhooks. Their iron swords and spears were superior to the weapons of all but their southern neighbors. Not surprisingly, the well-armed warrior elite of the Late Hallstatt controlled riverine trade routes of central Europe and established trade ties with the Greeks to the south.
Later La Tène Celts developed a number of specialized modes of combat. They continued the development of chariot and mounted warfare, becoming the most formidable cavalry Europe had yet seen. Their armies were highly mobile, and their two and four wheeled chariots (essenda) gave them the advantage over all but the most disciplined and well-armed infantry. Elite chariot burials have been found across Europe. By the time of Caesar's conquest, chariots had gone out of fashion in combat on the Continent, but they were still so used in Britain.
Celtic warriors employed a wide array of weapons: arrows, javelins, short- and long-bladed swords, and—in Iberia—the falcata, a heavy cleaver-like weapon that the Roman historian Livy claimed could sever a head or a limb in a single stroke. Slings were almost certainly used much earlier but the "ammo dumps" of sling stones found beside Late Bronze and Iron Age fortifications, such as Maiden Castle, are the first clear evidence of their use in Europe. Both mounted and chariot-borne troops utilized javelins. They would rapidly advance, release their missiles, then retire to safety. The Celtiberians of Spain used a short stabbing sword, the gladius, so effectively against the Romans that the latter adopted it as their legions' principal weapon. Celtic warriors used long shields of an oblong or rectangular shape and wore horned or plumed metal helmets. A few of these have survived, although some were so fragile they were more theatrical than protective. Ornate "jockey cap" helmets with gold plating and coral inlays, such as the splendid fourth century B.C. examples from Amfreville and Agris, France, are known from the La Tène period.
The Celts' best warriors, called gaesatae, wore torcs, thick-braided circlets of metal, around their necks. Gaesatae usually fought naked, sometimes with their bodies painted blue with dye made from woad (a type of herb), in the front ranks of Celtic armies. Because of their reputation for ferocity, they were hired as mercenaries into many Mediterranean armies. According to classical authors, the Celts preferred to settle conflicts in single combat between opposing leaders or champions. The long blunt-ended swords, useful only for slashing, that equipped most Celtic warriors reflected this predilection for single combat. Because of their longer reach, these were best in open, uncrowded combat, but unwieldy in crowded close quarters, as the closed ranks of Roman Legions with their stabbing swords would demonstrate in many battles.

Although rare, representations of homicide exist from the Palaeolithic onward, and depictions of warfare date from the Neolithic. They were created in every medium—paintings on cave walls and ceramics, sculpture, and engravings in stone, bone, ivory, and metalwork. Artistic representations are not photographs and do not always represent actual events, nor is their incidence directly related to the frequency or severity of actual conflict. Nonetheless, they do indicate that artists and audiences of the time were familiar with warriors, weapons, and combat.
One of the earliest depictions of warfare is from the Early Neolithic site of Morella la Villa–Cueva del Roure in Spain (c. 4900 B.C.). It shows combat between two groups of archers, one of four, the other of three. The larger group is both advancing in the center while flanking the smaller group on its more vulnerable right side. This painting indicates that even Neolithic warriors had knowledge of rudimentary tactics. There are other Neolithic conflicts depicted in Spain—eleven archers confronting nine at Les Dogues, fifteen archers opposing twenty at El Molino de las Fuentes. Several Bronze Age Scandinavian rock art scenes show groups of warriors with spears fighting on land and from ships. With the arrival of the Battle-Axe culture, images of chariot warfare appear in European art.
Beginning with the Hallstatt cultures, the number of objects decorated with martial scenes dramatically increased. In part, this is due to the more durable media on which they were recorded. Copper, bronze, gold, and iron were all used to depict Celtic warriors, their equipment and tactics. Early Celtic bronze drinking bowls typically depict scenes of warfare. The Hallstatt D (c. 530 B.C.) burial couch from Hochdorf, Germany, is decorated with warriors riding on wagons and three warriors brandishing swords and shields. Similar bowls from Steier-mark, Austria, and Certosa, Italy, depict Celtic warriors with axes, spears, oblong shields, and rounded helmets. The Vix krater (wine mixing bowl), a Greek import found in a tomb in France, shows infantry and charioteers. In addition to its skull shrine, the site of Entremont provides further evidence for the Celtic obsession with trophy heads in the form of a sculpted pile of severed human heads.
Classical authors testify to the accuracy of the depictions on Celtic objects. Diodorus Siculus described Celtic warriors as carrying man-sized shields with projecting bosses of bronze and wielding long swords or lances. According to the author, their apparel included bronze helmets with horns or projecting figures, chain mail, and iron breastplates. They were said to be accompanied by musicians playing harsh-sounding war trumpets. All of these are depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron, a second century B.C. La Tène artifact found in Denmark.

See also Hochdorf (vol. 1, part 1); Maiden Castle (vol. 1, part 1); First Farmers of Central Europe (vol. 1, part 3); The Iceman (vol. 1, part 4); Late Neolithic/Copper Age Iberia (vol. 1, part 4); Sardinia's Bronze Age Towers (vol. 2, part 5); Late Bronze Age Urnfields of Central Europe (vol. 2, part 5); Mycenaean Greece (vol. 2, part 5); Oppida (vol. 2, part 6); Hillforts (vol. 2, part 6); Ironworking (vol. 2, part 6); The Heuneburg (vol. 2, part 6).

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LeBlanc, Steven A., and Katherine E. Register. Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage. New York: St. Martin's, 2003.
Milisauskas, Sarunas, ed. European Prehistory: A Survey. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum, 2002.