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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.


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Archaeology of Violence and Conflict: From Prehistory to the Great War

Universiteit Leiden
Honours Classes
Laatst Gewijzigd: 11-10-2011

Inleiding

In the 17th century Thomas Hobbes postulated that humans were by nature warlike and that peace could only be achieved by states. By contrast Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued a century later that people were essentially peaceful and only became belligerent when corrupted by civilisation. These philosophical thoughts about the human nature have impacted ideas on warfare in the past enormously. It is only in the last decades that there has been a shift from normative speculations to an assessment of the archaeological data that can inform us about violence and conflict throughout human history. In this course we will evaluate data and ideas about violence and conflict from Prehistory up to the Great War (1914-1918), with evidence from various parts of the world.
The Honours Class will explore the theoretical and practical dimensions of recent, excellent research into conflict and violence through the ages, and will proceed in this manner beyond any ordinary descriptive account. The course will confront students with the major ideas and controversies in the current discourse about conflict in history. Students will learn to think critically about this topic and how to evaluate the material evidence for war and its social implications.
The Honours Class will comprise a series of lectures, which will explore violence and conflict in various periods and from various theoretical perspectives. Whenever possible, reference to conflict in our days will be taken into account. Students will learn from renowned scholars from several countries, who will present the latest developments in their fields of expertise, with ample opportunities for discussion and reflection.

Programma

De Honours Class zal worden ingericht rond acht bijeenkomsten van elk twee uur. De Honours Class vindt plaats in blok III van het tweede semester, de inschrijving sluit 1 december 2011.

Contactpersoon

Prof. P.M.M.G. Akkermans

http://onderwijs.leidenuniv.nl/honours-onderwijs/honourscollege/honours-classes/honours-class-archaeology.html

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A arqueologi​a forense sugere que em torno de 15% dos indivíduos nas sociedades "pré-estat​ais" morriam de maneira violenta

Ora viva,
A arqueologia forense suger que em torno de 15% dos indivíduos nas sociedades "pré-estatais" morriam de maneira violenta
Novo livro do psicólogo de Harvard defende que apesar de sentirmo-nos rodeados por violência, ela diminuiu ao longo da história
A história da humanidade representa uma evolução na qual as pessoas são cada vez mais inteligentes, e em consequência disso, menos violentas, diz artigo publicado nesta quarta-feira (19) no último número da revista Nature.
O psicólogo canadiano Steven Pinker argumenta que o aumento da inteligência, que se reflecte em pontuações médias cada vez mais altas nos teste de raciocínio abstrato, e também o desenvolvimento da empatia entre os seres humanos, propiciaram um declive da barbárie nos últimos séculos.
Além disso, a alfabetização e o cosmopolitismo favoreceram uma troca de ideias em nível global que "possibilita a compreensão do mundo e facilita os acordos" entre distintas sociedades.
"Apesar de atualmente sentirmos-nos constantemente rodeados pela violência, em séculos anteriores a situação era muito pior. Impérios em colapso, conquistadores maníacos e invasões tribais" eram comuns, afirma Pinker.
A arqueologia forense e a demografia sugerem que em torno de 15% dos indivíduos nas sociedades "pré-estatais" morriam de maneira violenta, uma proporção cinco vezes maior à registrada no século XX, apesar de suas guerras, genocídios e crises de fome.
Nesse sentido, Pinker aponta que a afirmação popular de que "o século XX é o mais sangrento da história" é uma mera "ilusão" que dificilmente pode ser apoiada em dados históricos.
A barbárie diminuiu comparada a épocas anteriores não só em relação a conflitos armados, mas também a comportamentos sociais, diz o investigador..
No século XIV, 40 em cada 100 mil pessoas morriam assassinadas, enquanto atualmente essa taxa se reduziu a 1,3 pessoas.
"Além disso, nos últimos séculos, a humanidade abandonou progressivamente práticas como os sacrifícios humanos, a perseguição de hereges e métodos cruéis de execução como a fogueira, a crucificação e a empalação", lembra o psicólogo.
Pinker atribui essa evolução ao aperfeiçoamento da racionalidade e não a um "sentido moral" dos seres humanos, que por si só serviu para "legitimar todo tipo de castigos sangrentos".
"A propagação de normas morais tornou frequentes as represálias violentas por faltas como a blasfêmia, a heresia, a indecência e as ofensas contra os símbolos sagrados", afirma.
O estudo ressalta que com o tempo o ser humano foi diversificando sua tendência ao comportamento agressivo, presente desde os primeiros Homo sapiens.
"A racionalidade humana precisou de milhares de anos para concluir que não é bom escravizar outras pessoas, exterminar povos nativos, encarcerar homossexuais e iniciar guerras para restaurar a vaidade ferida de um rei", diz o psicólogo.
O autor do estudo apoia sua tese sobre o aumento da inteligência em pesquisas anteriores, que mostram como o Quociente Intelectual (QI) médio aumenta a cada geração.
"As empresas que vendem testes de inteligência têm que normalizar os seus resultados periodicamente. Um adolescente médio de hoje em dia se voltasse a 1910 marcaria um QI de 130, enquanto uma pessoa típica do século XX não passaria da pontuação 70 atualmente", explica Pinker.
--
Saúde e fraternidade,
António Correia
facebook: http://pt-pt.facebook.com/people/Antonio-Correia/100001002237842

Monday, 5 September 2011

University of Glasgow :: Centre for Battlefield Archaeology :: Conference Programme

Friday 7th October


09.00 - 13.00 Registration for delegates in the Gregory Building (see campus map)

10.00 - 13.00 Tour of the Arms and Armour Collections at Glasgow Museums, Nitshill Resource Centre (details to be posted)

Afternoon sessions and keynote speech to be held in the Officer Training Corps, 95 University Place

Chair: Lt Col Simon Higgens (Commanding Officer, Glasgow & Strathclyde Universities Officer Training Corps)

14.00 - 14.20 John Winterburn (University of Bristol)
Flying Elephants and Pumas: aerial archaeology and a desert war


14.20 - 14.40 Terence Christian (University of Glasgow)
Title tbc


14.40-15.00 Matthew Kelly (AHMS Pty Ltd/University of Sydney)
Eora Creek, Papua New Guinea, Battlefield Survey: local knowledge and historical events of World War Two

Discussion

15.15-15.30 Coffee/Tea Break

15.30 - 16.45 Session Two: Equipment, Methods and Techniques of Historical Warfare

Chair: TBC

15.30-15.50 Christina Mackie (Cranfield University at the Defence Academy)
An Application of Modern Ballistic Techniques to 15th Century Artillery

15.50-16.10 Brendan Halpin (University College, Dublin)
The Importance of Reenactment and Western Martial Arts: an Irish case study

16.10-16.30 James O’Neill (Queens University, Belfast)
Trailing Pikes and Turning Kern: assimilation and adaptation of military methods during the Nine Years War in
Ireland,1593-1603

Discussion

19.00 – Keynote: Dr Tony Pollard (Director, Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, University of Glasgow

To be followed by a wine reception in the Officer's Mess, hosted by the Glasgow & Strathclyde Universities Officer Training Corps

Saturday 8th October

09.00 - 09.30 - Registration and sessions to be held at the Queen Margaret Union (see campus map)

09.30 - 11.10 – Session Three: Social Meanings in Material Culture

Chair: TBC

09.30-09.50 Rachel Askew ()
‘Not with down-right bloews to rout’: the social side of siege warfare during the English Civil Wars

09.50-10.10 John Mabbitt (Newcastle University)
The Origins of Humpty Dumpty: archaeology, destruction and the narratives of the city

10.10-10.30 Abigail Coppins (Southampton University)
Prisoners of War at Portchester Castle 1793-1815

10.30-10.50 Chantel Summerfield (Bristol University)
The Forgotten City of Tents

Discussion

11.10 - 11.30 – Coffee/Tea Break

11.30 - 13.00 – Session Four: Death, Memory and Heritage

Chair: TBC

11.30 - 11.50 Emma Login (Birmingham University)
The Memory of Defeat or the Defeat of Memory: war memorialisation in the Lorraine region of France

11.50-12.10 HyunKyung Lee (University of Cambridge)
The Post-conflict Response of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to the Built Heritage of the Japanese Occupation

12.10-12.30 Artemi Alejandro-Medina (University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria)
Franco’s Bunkers and Hitler’s Dreams in the Canary Islands: the heritage nobody wants to inherit

12.30-12.50 Tadeusz Kopys (Jagiellonian University)
The Massacre of Polish Soldiers in the Soviet Union 1939-1944

Discussion

13.10 - 14.30 Lunch

14.30-15.45 Session Five: Conflict Archaeology in Practice

Chair: TBC

14.30 - 14.50 Syed Shahnawaz (University of Padua)
Braving the Conflict: Swat Valley archaeological sites and the Operation Rah-e-Raast

14.50-15.10 Owen O’Leary (JPAC/Centre for Battlefield Archaeology)
Accounting for America’s Missing: recovery and identification of a Consolidated B-24 Liberator from World War Two

15.30-15.30 Alexandria Young (Bournemouth University)
Reconstructing the Aftermath of Battle: the effects of vertebrate scavenging on the recovery and identification of human remains

Discussion

15.50 - 17.10 Session Six: Tourism and Thanatourism at Sites of Conflict

Chair: TBC

15.50-16.10 Justin Sikora (International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University)
Considering the Value of Battlefields as Heritage through On-site Interpretation

16.10-16.30 Stephen Miles (Glasgow University)
From ‘Fields of Conflict’ to Dark Attractions: battlefields as thanatouristic sites

16.50-17.10 Annalisa Bolin (University of York)
Witnessing the Remains: material heritage, memory politics and western tourism in Rwanda’s National Genocide Memorials

Discussion

17.00 - 19.00 Drinks to be held in Jim's Bar of the Queen Margaret Union

19.00 - Conference Dinner: Mother India, Westminster Terrace

Sunday 9th October

09.00-9.30 Registration

09.30-11.10 Session Seven (a): Methodologies for Conflict Archaeology
~
Chair: TBC

09.30-09.50 Julie Wileman (University of Winchester)
Evidence for Prehistoric Warfare: a counter-intuitive perspective

09.50-10.10 Joanne Ball (University of Liverpool)
Lost Landscapes of Conflict: approaches to locating ancient landscapes

10.10-10.30 Carlos Landa (CONICET/Universidad de Buenos Aires), Emanuel Montanari (Universidad de Buenos Aires) and Facundo Gomez Romero (UNCPBA)
La Verde Battlefield (25 de Mayo, Buenos Aires Province)

10.30-10.50 Gavin Lindsay (Independent Researcher)
Material in Conflict: rethinking approaches to challenging assemblages

Discussion
Or

09.30-11.10 Session Seven (b): Heritage Management and Remembrance

Chair: TBC

09.30-09.50 Emilio Distretti (University of Portsmouth)
The Stele of Axum and Italy’s Colonial Legacy: all the remains in the land of amnesia

09.50-10.10 Elizabeth Cohen (University of Cambridge)
Reminders of a Shared Past: the Ottoman heritage in Greece

10.10-10.30 Iraia Araboalaza (GUARD Archaeology) and Carmen Cuenca-Garcia (University of Glasgow)
Retrieving the Long Lost Memory: Spanish Civil War archaeology

10.30-10.50 Emily Glass (University of Bristol)
‘Enverism Nostalgia’ or Albanian Cultural Heritage Icon: conflicting perceptions of Tirana’s pyramid

Discussion
11.10-11.30 Coffee/Tea Break

11.30-12.45 Session Eight: Ancient Warfare

Chair: Dr Jon Coulston (Ancient History and Archaeology, University of St Andrews)

11.30-11.50 Samantha L. Cook (University of Liverpool)
Archer’s Looses in Sudan: an Asiatic style in an African context

11.50-12.10 Catherine Parnell (University College, Dublin)
The Kopis and the Machaira: portrayals and perceptions

12.10- 12.30 Salvatore Vacante (Università degli Studi di Genova)
Alexander the Great and the Defeat of the Sogdian Revolt

Discussion

12.45-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.15 Session Nine: Landscapes of Conflict

Chair: Ryan McNutt (Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, University of Glasgow)

14.00-14.20 Benjamin Raffield (University of Aberdeen)
A Landscape of Endemic Warfare: the archaeology of Scandinavian-occupied England

14.20-14.40 C. Broughton Anderson (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Subtle Violence: improvement and clearance in Galloway during the 18th Century

14.40-15.00 Salvatore Garfi (University of East Anglia)
Colonialism, Conflict and Exclusion: the case of Western Sahara

15.15-15.30 Coffee/Tea Break

15.30-17.00 Workshops/Roundtables

Workshops titles to be confirmed

Conference Posters
These will be on exhibit in the Queen Margret Unition throughout the duration of the conference.

Angela Cunningham (Kingston University)
Terrestrial Lidar as a Data Collection Method for Historic Landscape Reconstruction

Emma Login (University of Birmingham)
A Biographical and Collective Memory Approach to War Memorials
Beatriz Rodriguez Garcia (University of Bath)
Consuming Dark Tourism: the role of organisational storytelling and narratives

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Tropical Civil War Correlated to El Niño.

Discovery News > Earth News > Tropical Civil War Correlated to El Niño
Analysis by Tim Wall
Thu Aug 25, 2011 03:04 PM ET

 
The El Niño/La Niña cycle has been correlated to periodic increases in warfare by researchers at Columbia University's Earth Institute.
Drought, crop losses, and other effects of the dry, hot El Niño climate conditions may destabilize already vulnerable nations. For example, the research notes the case of Peru. In 1982 a severe El Niño dried out the highlands of Peru and destroyed crops. That same year, attacks by the Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, guerrilla revolutionary movement escalated into full blown civil war.
BLOG: Climate Change and Corn a Bad Combo in Africa
Though El Niño can't be said to cause warfare, the research found a strong correlation between fluctuations in the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and large-scale civil strife. ENSO is the collective term for the El Niño/La Niña cycles.
The research, published in the journal Nature, found that the arrival of El Niño doubles the risk of civil wars across 90 affected tropical countries. El Niño, which strikes every three to seven years, may partially account for a fifth of worldwide conflicts during the past half-century.
"The most important thing is that this looks at modern times, and it's done on a global scale," said Solomon M. Hsiang, the study's lead author. "We can speculate that a long-ago Egyptian dynasty was overthrown during a drought. That's a specific time and place, that may be very different from today, so people might say, 'OK, we're immune to that now.' This study shows a systematic pattern of global climate affecting conflict, and shows it right now."
BLOG: Did Drought Kill the Mayans?
The scientists examined ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) from 1950 to 2004, alongside the onsets of civil conflicts that killed more than 25 people in a given year. They studied 175 countries and 234 conflicts, more than half of which caused in excess of 1,000 battle-related deaths each.
For nations where ENSO has little effect on the weather, the chances of a civil war stayed steady at 2 percent. In countries where ENSO influences the weather, La Niña increased the chance of civil war breaking out to about 3 percent.
But during El Niño, the chance doubled, to 6 percent. The Columbia researchers estimated that El Niño may have played a role in nearly 30 percent of the civil wars in those countries affected by El Niño, and 21 percent of all civil wars during the period studied.
Specifically the study mentions Sudan, first in 1963, then 1976, and finally in 1983. The fighting which started in 1983 continued for 20 years and resulted in 2 million deaths.
El Salvador, the Philippines, and Uganda were plunged into turmoil during a 1972 El Niño.
Angola, Haiti, and Myanmar experienced serious civil conflict starting in the 1991 El Niño year.
Congo, Eritrea, Indonesia, and Rwanda suffered deadly conflict during the 1997 El Niño.
Wealthier nations are better at keeping calm through disruptive El Niño events. Australia is influenced by ENSO, but has never had a civil war.
"But if you have social inequality, people are poor, and there are underlying tensions, it seems possible that climate can deliver the knockout punch," said Hsiang.
"No one should take this to say that climate is our fate. Rather, this is compelling evidence that it has a measurable influence on how much people fight overall," said coauthor Mark Cane, a climate scientist at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory . "It is not the only factor--you have to consider politics, economics, all kinds of other things."
Currently, the Horn of Africa suffers serious drought as well as brutal and deadly civil conflict. Discovery News recently covered research correlating La Niña conditions with drought in Eastern Africa.
BLOG: East Africa Drought Linked to La Niña
"Forecasters two years ago predicted that there would be a famine in Somalia this year, but donors in the international aid community did not take that forecast seriously," said Hsiang in a teleconference covered by the AFP.
"We hope our study can provide the international community and governments and aid organisations with additional information that might in the future help avert humanitarian crises that are associated with conflict."

Thursday, 4 August 2011

‘We go to gain a little patch of ground’: postgraduate research in conflict archaeology'

The Centre for Battlefield Archaeology Postgraduate Conference


First call for Papers

7th - 9th October 2011, University of Glasgow

Email: conflictpg@gmail.com

The Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow is hosting a three-day postgraduate conference bringing together researchers working within the field of conflict archaeology. It is intended that this conference be a postgraduate answer to the Fields of Conflict conference cycle. The first Fields of Conflict conference, held in Glasgow in 2000, represented a significant horizon for those eager for the opportunity to share pioneering research in the burgeoning field of conflict archaeology. In the last decade, conflict archaeology has transformed from a radical sub-discipline into an established, yet dynamic, academic subject covering a myriad of research avenues.

This postgraduate conference will bring together postgraduate researchers from around the world, providing a platform to present a new generation of research in the field of conflict archaeology. It is hoped that this conference will address a perceived lack of forum for the discussion and presentation of postgraduate work in all facets of conflict archaeology and will in turn foster a vibrant postgraduate research community that forges intellectual, international and interdisciplinary connections. We go, therefore, ‘to gain a little patch of ground’ (Hamlet IV.iv.18).

Papers will cover a wide range of research interests, reflecting the multifaceted nature of conflict archaeology, covering all time periods from the ancient to the contemporary.

Papers will examine topics such as:

■Methodologies and new approaches

■Landscapes of conflict

■Warfare, violence, resistance

■Politics and propaganda

■Memorialisation, remembrance and forgetting

■Imprisonment / internment

■Colonial encounter

■Heritage management of sites of conflict and public engagement

■Battlefield tourism, thanatourism

■Recreation, re-enactment and ersatz experience

■Ethics of studying violence and conflict

■Investigating and interpreting uncomfortable / problematic histories

■Recovery of remains

In addition, delegates are invited to participate in student-led workshops and round table discussions during the final afternoon of conference proceedings (more information to follow).

We are currently still accepting proposals for A0- and A1-sized research posters. If you would like to present your research as an academic poster, please send a 250-300 word abstract to conflictpg@gmail.com by 1 September 2011.

Selected papers from the conference will be published in a special edition of the Journal of Conflict Archaeology.

Watch this page for updates – a provisional programme will be coming soon.

For further information contact Natasha Ferguson, Jennifer Novotny or Jonathan Trigg.

Centre for Battlefield Archaeology

University of Glasgow

Gregory Building

Lilybank Gardens

Glasgow G12 8QQ

+44 (0)141 330 2304

conflictpg@gmail.com

Keynote speaker

The keynote speaker is Dr. Tony Pollard, University of Glasgow. He has carried out battlefield and conflict related archaeological projects in the UK, mainland Europe, Africa and South America. His interests range from 18th-century warfare, particularly in relation to the Jacobite rebellions in Scotland, to the archaeology of the First and Second World Wars. A co-organiser of the first Fields of Conflict conference, Dr. Pollard has long been at the forefront of research in conflict archaeology. His talk will explore (what?).

The keynote speech will be given on Friday evening, 7 October at the Officer’s Training Corps Drill Hall. This will be immediately followed by a welcome reception at the Drill Hall with a cash bar.

Conference dinner

The conference dinner will be held on Saturday, 8 October at Mother India, 28 Westminster Terrace, Glasgow G3 7RU (see http://www.motherindiaglasgow.co.uk/index.php?action=cms.westminster for more information). The price is £18.50 and includes starters, entrees, and bread and rice from a set menu. The menu includes vegetarian options.

We ask that you pay the conference dinner fee in advance, no later than Friday, 23 September so that we can finalise the booking for our large party. Though places may be available on the day, these will not be guaranteed.

Please advise us well in advance if you have any special dietary requirements or allergies.

To view Mother India’s set price menu, click here.

(add menus if we can get them)

Field trip

On the morning of Friday, 7 October, we will be offering an artefact handling session led by European Arms & Armour curator Ralph Moffat, at the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, Nitshill. A minibus will pick you up at 09.30 and transport you directly from the Archaeology Department (Gregory Building) to the Resource Centre, returning to the Archaeology Department at midday. For a sneak peak at some of the items in the Glasgow Museums collection, see http://collections.glasgowmuseums.com/cld.html?cid=533626

There is no charge for this session, however, please register here as soon as possible. Places are extremely limited, due to restrictions on how many people are allowed in the museum stores at one time.

If you have any questions or require additional information, email conflictpg@gmail.com

Link to the online web registration form here
For further information contact Natasha Ferguson, Jennifer Novotny or Jonathan Trigg.

Centre for Battlefield Archaeology

University of Glasgow

Gregory Building

Lilybank Gardens

Glasgow G12 8QQ

+44 (0)141 330 2304

conflictpg@gmail.com

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes

Author: Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker's riveting, myth-destroying new book reveals how, contrary to popular belief, humankind has become progressively less violent, over millenia and decades.
Given the images of conflict we see daily on our screens, can violence really have declined? And wasn't the twentieth century the most devastatingly brutal in history? Extraordinarily, however, as Steven Pinker shows, violence within and between societies - both murder and warfare - really has declined from prehistory to today. We are much less likely to die at someone else's hands than ever before.
Debunking both the idea of the 'noble savage' and a Hobbesian notion of a 'nasty, brutish and short' life, Steven Pinker argues that modernity and its cultural institutions are making us better people. He ranges over everything from art to religion, international trade to individual table manners, and shows how life has changed across the centuries and around the world - not simply through the huge benefits of organized government, but also because of the extraordinary power of progressive ideas. Why has this come about? And what does it tell us about ourselves? It takes one of the world's greatest psychologists to appreciate and explain this story, and to show us our very natures.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Sexo e Violência: Realidades Antigas e Questões Contemporâneas

Novo livro
lançamento durante a reunião da Anpuh
são paulo – 21 de julho de 2011
apoio: FAPESP
ORGANIZADORES
José Geraldo Costa Grillo (UNIFESP)
Renata S. Garraffoni (UFPR)
Pedro Paulo A. Funari (UNICAMP)
São Paulo
Annablume/FAPESP
2011
Sumário
Introdução
O terrorismo dos kamikazes? Bombas carregadas a Eros
Ian Buruma
Mundo Antigo:
Tramas nos domínios do faraó
Margaret M. Bakos
O jardim do pecado: uma narrativa de violência sexual na Mesopotâmia
Katia Maria Paim Pozzer
Guerra, violência e sociedade na iconografia do sacrifício de Políxena
José Geraldo Costa Grillo
Homoerotismo, sedução e violência na Grécia antiga. Presentes e raptos, visões da pederastia na iconografia da cerâmica ática (séc. V a.C.)
Fábio Vergara Cerqueira
Corpo e sexualidade feminina na Atenas Clássica
Fábio de Souza Lessa
Sangue na arena: repensando a violência nos jogos de gladiadores no início do principado romano
Renata Senna Garraffoni
Sexualidades antigas e preocupações modernas: a moral e as Leis sobre a conduta sexual feminina
Marina Cavicchioli
Sexualidade e Violência no Reino dos Céus: O caso do Evangelho Secreto de Marcos e as tradições cristãs primitivas.
André Leonardo Chevitarese
Gabriele Cornelli
Mundo Moderno:
Arqueología, Resistência escrava e rebelião
Charles E. Orser Jr.
Pedro Paulo A. Funari
Espetáculos da diferença: gênero, raça e ciência no século XIX
Ana Paula Vosne Martins
A prostituição ontem e hoje
Margareth Rago
Os sussurros de Eros e Tânatos Renata Plaza Teixeira
Também quero ser “gato”: masculinidades e relações de subordinação
Vanda Silva
Crianças e Jovens: Adestramento e violência
Judite Maria Barboza Trindade

Monday, 4 July 2011

Interpersonal Violence in Paleolithic and Mesolithic Societies

Posted on 05/14/2011 by Katzman in Aggsbach's Paleolithic Blog




These are razor sharp microlithic arrowheads from the middle to late Ertebølle period. Such artifacts could not only be successfully used for hunting animals, but also for killing humans.
Biological anthropologists argue for a continuity of an aggressive instinct from a common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans (Kelly 2005) -but why should an aggressive attitude be evolutionary more successful than coalitions with friends?
Social anthropologists see interpersonal violence as the outcome of competition of individuals for status, prestige and high rank. They have also noted, that inter and intra group violence is more prevalent in non segmented societies, than in segmented ones (Marcus 2008).
Historical Materialists simply believe that conflict and warfare are driven by the need for food, land and other resources.
The archaeological record of interpersonal violence shows an enormous regional variation, clearly arguing against any simple monocausal explanation. A convincing gold standard of identifying victims of a lethal conflict is the association of artifacts lodged in human bones, with corresponding skeletal damage or the presence of lethal bone lesions that are unambiguously caused by other humans.
The earliest possible skeletal evidence of intra group violence comes from Sima de los Huesos, Atapuerca, Spain, with at least 32 human skeletons dating to ca. 250 k.a. BP. Several skulls of this sample have healed impact fractures. A final report is not available and therefore it remains somewhat unclear whether these findings should be interpreted as evidence of human conflicts.
Two late Paleolithic (Epigravettian at ca 13 k.a. BP) bodies of this kind are known from Italy. One, from San Teodoro cave in Sicily, was a woman with a flint point in her right iliac crest. This artifact was designed as a triangle and was most probably an arrow point. The other was a child with a flint in its thoracic vertebra, found in late Epigravettian layers of the Grotta dei Fanciulli (the famous Grotte des Enfants) at Balzi-Rossi / Grimaldi, on the LIgurian Italian / French border.
The most remarkable discovery of late Paleolithic Age comes from Jebel Sahaba, a few kilometers north of Wadi Halfa on the east bank of the Nile. A graveyard (ca 12 k.a.BP) containing 59 burials was located on a hill overlooking the Nile. Twenty-four skeletons had flint projectile points that were either embedded in the bones or found within the grave fill in positions which indicated they had penetrated the bodies. The excavator of the site, Fred Wendorf (The prehistory of Nubia, II p. 991) wrote: ” The most impressive feature is the high frequency of unretouched flakes and chips. In a normal assemblage all of these would be classified as debitage or debris and none would considered tools. Yet many of these pieces were recovered from positions where their use as parts of weapons were irrefutable”. joteIn total, more than 40% of the men, woman and children in the commentary had died by violence. Fred Wendorf, suggested that environmental pressure and vanishing resources on the end of the Pleistocene were the causes of violence, but this remains only one hypothesis. A detailed analysis of the skeletons with nowadays methods (dna-analysis, stable isotopes) is missing till now. If war is defined as organized aggression between autonomous social units, the archaeological record at Jebel Sahaba may indeed indicate the presence of an early war.
Coming back to the European Record, at Ofnet cave in Bavaria two pits contained the skulls and vertebrae of thirty-eight individuals, all stained with red ochre, dating to around 6.5 k.a. cal BC (Orschiedt 1998). The Ofnet finding most probably represents a massacre, which wiped out a whole community and was followed by the ceremonial burial of skulls. Most of the victims of deadly attacks were children; two-thirds of the adults were females, which led to the suggestion, that a temporary absence of males may have been the precipitating cause of the attack. Half the individuals were wounded before death by blunt mace-like weapons, with males and females and children all injured, but males having the most wounds.
Territoriality may have had an important connotation in semi sedentary Ertebølle communities. At Skateholm, two larger cemeteries from the middle to late Ertebølle period both located on an island contained about 85 graves. An arrowhead was lodged in the pelvic bone of an adult male and a bone point was found with another male At the Ertebølle Vedbæk cemetery on Zealand, one adult, probably male in a grave with three bodies had a bone point through the throat. Bone points that probably caused lethal damage have also been found in the chests of burials of adults at Bäckaskog and Stora Bjers in Sweden. Other Mesolithic victims of fatal injuries are known from France (Téviec in Brittany) to the Ukraine (Vasylivka III cemetery) in the East.


Ofnet-Cave (after R.R. Schmidt)

Reply

Imix says:

05/16/2011 at 10:55 am

Two things cross my mind when reading on this topic: First, that hominis unlike other primates are or became hunters of large mammals – killing a large mammal is deep in their blood and their psyche – also, then, of humans? Second, while we do not know the circumstances and context of the famous Upper Paleolithic cave paintings, there is a conspicuous absence of images of interpersonal violence such as war parties, raids, killings in them, which is in contrast to rather frequent depictions of such acts in most historial ethnic art.



Reply

Cernunnos says:

05/17/2011 at 9:47 am

Very interesting topic, indeed. I haven’t heard of the mentioned quite clear indications of interpersonal violence during the later phases of the paleolithic. I’d appreciate if you could state your sources, not because I reject your credibility, of course, but because I’d like to find out more about the sites by myself. Thanks a lot!
Anyway, they are all quite late and I doubt that the Sima de los Huesos evidence has much to do with the usual meaning of the term violence. Still, like in the previous comment, I consider the notion of lacking evidence (of course you know about the problems of “absence of evidence”) for inter- and intrapersonal violence during most of the paleolithic and especially in contrast to post-paleolithic periods, as a still valid paradigm.



Reply

Katzman says:

05/17/2011 at 5:45 pm

I doubt the Sima de los Huesos evidence also, and of course it does not fulfill my “gold standard”. The most useful articles and books about the topic:
Thorpe I. J. N. Anthropology, archaeology, and the origin of warfare. World Archaeology; 2003. 35: 145–165.
Kelly R.C. The evolution of lethal intergroup violence. PNAS 2005. 102: 43 15294-15298.
Marcus J. The Archaeological Evidence for Social Evolution. Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 2008. 37:251–66
Wendorf F (Ed.) Prehistory of Nubia. Vol 2 954-996

Massacres during the late Linear Pottery Culture of Middle Europe

Posted on 05/19/2011 by Katzman
in Aggsbach's Paleolithic Blog

As shown in earlier posts there are many possible explanations for the phenomenon of intra / intergroup violence during prehistoric and historic times. First evidence for murdered individuals and even massacres of a larger group of persons is available for the late Paleolithic in Europe and the Egypt
The first farmers in Europe are represented by the Early Linear Pottery Culture (LBK ), which developed in South Central Europe around 5.7 k.a BC. During the first phase the LBK began to spread from Hungary to the middle Rhine valley, with settlements established mainly on fertile soils like loess. During the late phase (about 5.0 k.a. BC), LBK settlements can be finally found from the Paris Basin in the West to central Poland and Moldavia in the East. There is no evidence of mass kills during the early and middle LBK. The archaeological record of the later and latest phases of LBK shows signs of greater regionalism and is characterized by settlements with fortifications and some clear indications for intensified intra / intergroup conflicts.
Asparn-Schletz in Lower Austria, about 50 km north of Vienna, is one of the fortified settlements from the end of the LBK period. During excavations, large numbers of human remains were found at the base of a fortification ditch. It is estimated from the number of cranial and postcranial remains that approximately 200 individuals were deposited. The skeletons were found mainly in strange positions, and often several skeletons were grouped together. The bodies were deposited prone and many skeletons were incomplete with extremities missing. The skeletal investigations showed that most of the skulls were lethally fractured. Many postcranial remains exhibit unusual features too. The age and the sex distribution of the individuals showed that the occurrence of females among the young adult population is significantly reduced. From these results, it has been suggested that the traumatic lesions originate from inter-human aggressive acts. It was also suggested that the reduced abundance of females amongst the young adults was interpreted as an indication of the abduction of women of child-bearing age. It seems that these humans were probably the victims of a massacre which led to the abrupt end of the LBK settlement at Schletz (Stadler 2004, Teschler-Nicola et al. 1999).
A similar situation as in Schletz is also found at 2 Neolithic sites from the LBK period in Germany: At Talheim near Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg and at a fortified large settlement at Vaihingen, in the Neckar region 650-700 km to the west from Schletz. At Talheim the remains of 34 human individuals were excavated from a mass grave found in 1983/84 located outside the settlement area. In contrast to Schletz, no fortifications have yet been found. The position of the skeletons indicated that these human remains were not buried according to usual LBK burial rites, but were victims of a massacre. Many bodies were lying in a strange twisted posture, and several skeletons were mixed together. Several skulls were lethally fractured. The whole assemblage was interpreted as a mass grave, with bodies quickly thrown into a pit and covered, because carnivore bite marks on the bones were absent. Regarding the age and sex profile of the cadavers a possible deficit of infants in the age group of below 4 yr was suggested by the excavators. One (very speculative) explanation was that they may have been kidnapped by the attackers (Wahl and König 1987).
At Vaihingen, 12 people’s bodies were thrown or dumped in two pits outside the ancient village, without ceremony and without any special treatment. Strontium isotopes indicated that perhaps 40% of these people were born elsewhere. Indications of violence are present in some of the bodies.
At Herxheim, a LBK enclosure near Landau, Rhineland-Palatinate, highly fragmented parts of more than 500 bodies were found since 1900. Human remains were present. Similar to Schletz the settlement was equipped with an outer and an inner fortification ditch. The human remains were mainly deposited within the ditches. Many skeletons were incomplete and were not lying in a correct anatomical position. Several bones were fragmented and deposited together with animal bones, pottery, and other waste material from the settlement. The most extraordinary findings at Herxheim are calottes from human skulls which at some places appeared to be grouped together (Häußer 1998). For the Herxheim site, a massacre-scenario is unlikely. The sheer number of individuals that were found strongly argues against the possibility that they were the victims of a single raid. Whilst many skulls showed evidence of violence, wounds often seem to have healed, or can be interpreted as peri- and post mortal event suggesting that this may not have been the cause of death. Nowadays a ritual context is preferred for the interpretation of the Herxheim enclosure. One interpretation suggest a common burial ground for individuals, that lived far off Herxheim and were finally secondary buried at the site. Alternative readings consider „less humanistic practices or ritual tortures and killings by captives, slaves or witches” (Groneborn 2009).

Suggested Reading:



Friday, 24 June 2011

Arrow origins traced to Africa

By Dan Vergano,
in USA TODAY Science Snapshot

Nicknamed Otzi, for his resting place in the Ötztal Alps, the "Iceman" was outfitted with a copper ax, flint knife and bearskin hat, a surprise to archaeologists because they all were so well-crafted. His bow and 12 arrows, two of them nicely feathered and tipped with flint points, were likely less surprising, because they nicely fit with the then-current story of the bow and arrow's origins.
"The invention of the bow and arrow used to be closely linked to the late Upper Paleolithic (Stone Age) in Europe," less than 30,000 years ago, says anthropologist Marlize Lombard of South Africa's University of Johannesburg, in a study in the current Journal of Archaeological Science.
Last year, however, Lombard and her colleagues reported in the journal Antiquity, that arrows were around at least 64,000 years ago, and were first discovered not in Europe, but in South Africa. A single quartz arrowhead, bloodstained, had turned up at the Sibudu Cave site, dating to that time. In the new Journalof Archaeological Science study, Lombard reports more arrowheads and more evidence pushing back the age of the bow and arrow.
Why does it matter? Well, modern-looking humans turn up in fossils from as long as 195,000 years ago in Africa, but only spread worldwide starting about 60,000 years ago. Anthropologists have debated for decades about the innovations or changes, everything from language to genes to tools, that turned modern man loose on the world.
Arrows are one possibility for what helped people spread all over the world, either through hunting or fighting, as Lombard cautiously notes. "Although the existence of bow and arrow technology (more than 60,000 years ago) may have far-reaching consequences for hypotheses about human behavioural evolution and adaptation, it is by no means easy to establish," she says at the beginning of her study. In the study, she looks through the microscope at 16 quartz blades found in dirt layers as much as 65,000 years old at the South African site.
All but two of the ancient blades have blood traces on them and nine were deliberately hafted, or chipped, to fit onto a tool, she finds. More than half of the blades look like they were attached to arrows and eight carry traces of blood stains, Lombard concludes. "It is therefore my reading that at least nine tools in this sample were probably used as transversely hafted arrowheads."
The others may have been blades used to butcher animals, she suggests, or fitted onto barbs or darts.
"I think the finding adds to growing evidence for the great antiquity of complex projectile weaponry in Africa," says paleoanthropologist John Shea of Stony Brook (N.Y.) University. "The real startling upshot of this finding is that it challenges longstanding archaeological beliefs that important changes in projectile technology only occurred very recently, less than 30,000 years ago, after humans dispersed into Europe."
In North America, Shea adds, "it also challenges the longstanding hypothesis that the bow and arrow were only invented a few thousand years ago and largely in conjunction with the origins of agriculture."
Even after prehistoric people invented arrows, they likely kept on using spears as well, Lombard suggests. Hunters in Africa still use spears to run down wildebeest and zebra, while using arrows only during part of the year to hunt for giraffe, eland, hartebeest and springbok. So, she concludes, archaeologists shouldn't be surprised when they find both heavier spear points and arrowheads mixed together at future archaeological digs.
" Complex projectile technology may have given our species a crucial ecological advantage in competition with other hominin (human) species as they dispersed from Africa," Shea says, by e-mail. That's one explanation for the disappearance of the Neanderthals, who have left only spear points behind at sites in Europe. Outgunned by modern humans and their arrows, the (literal) "killer app" of its day, the Neanderthals weren't able to compete for game and faded from the archaeological record (if not completely from our genes) about 30,000 years ago.
And the age of the bow and arrow may go further back, Shea says. "My own personal hunch is that the bow and arrow dates to at least 100,000 years ago based on stone tools found at sites in Ethiopia, Kenya and neighboring countries."
No wonder Otzi had such nice arrows. Archery was an ancient technology in his day. Unfortunately for the Iceman.
After a puncture wound was discovered in Otzi's left shoulder a decade ago, researchers at Italy's South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, X-rayed the wound and found what had killed the Iceman— a flint arrowhead that severed a major artery and likely paralyzed his arm. "The Iceman probably bled to death within a matter of minutes," the museum notes, because of the arrowhead.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Vitrified Forts

By K. Kris Hirst, About.com Guide

Definition:

There are some 200 hillforts and other settlements in the world which evidence signs of being subjected to intense heat. Such burned forts range in age from Neolithic to Roman period. The heating was so extreme that all, some or part of the structures were vitrified or calcined. Vitrification is a chemical process by which silicate-based rocks are turned into a glass-like amorphous solid; calcination is the loss of moisture, reduction or oxidation in carbonate rocks.
Granite, basalt, gneiss or other silicate rocks begin to crystallize at temperatures about 650°C, and melt and vitrify when exposed to temperatures between 1050 and 1235°C. Biotite micas melt at 850°C. Carbonate rocks such as limestone and dolomite become calcined when exposed to temperatures of 800°C.
Why Vitrify?
In some cases, vitrification of timber-laced ramparts was done on purpose, to produce a more solid defensive feature. In others, vitrification was a result of an accidental or purposeful fire by people bent on destruction.
Vitrified forts (or vitrified structures) are difficult to date, because exposure to such intense heat destroys the organic materials, although recent research at Misericordia (Portugal) seems to suggest that archaeomagnetic dating may be a workable solution.

Sources
Catanzariti, Gianluca, et al. 2008 Archaeomagnetic dating of a vitrified wall at the Late Bronze Age settlement of Misericordia (Serpa, Portugal). Journal of Archaeological Science 35:1399-1407.
Friend, C. R. L., N. R. Charnley, H. Clyne, and J. Dye 2008 Experimentally produced glass compared with that occurring at The Torr, NW Scotland, UK: vitrification through biotite melting. Journal of Archaeological Science 35(12):3130-3143.

Examples:
Monte Novo and Misericordia (Portugal), Pico del Castillo (Spain), Tap o'Noth and Finavon Castle (Scotland)

First Cannibals Ate Each Other for Extra Nutrition

In Discovery News
By Jennifer Viegas
Thu Aug 26, 2010 05:20 AM ET

Why did our ancestors eat each other?
Simple: They were hungry.
The world's first known cannibals ate each other to satisfy their nutritional needs.
The cannibals belonged to the species Homo antecessor, related to both Neanderthals and modern humans.
Homo antecessor appears to have preyed on competing groups, treating victims like any other meat source.

The world's first known human cannibals ate each other to satisfy their nutritional needs, concludes a new study of the remains of cannibal feasts consumed about one million years ago.
The humans-as-food determination negates other possibilities, such as cannibalism for ritual's sake, or cannibalism due to starvation. In this oldest known case of humans eating humans, other food was available to the diners, but human flesh was just part of their meat mix.
"These practices were conducted by Homo antecessor, who inhabited Europe one million years ago," according to the research team, led by Eudald Carbonell.
Carbonell, a professor at the University of Rovira and Virgili, and his colleagues added that Homo antecessor was "the last common ancestor between the African lineage that gave rise to our species, Homo sapiens, and the lineage leading to the European Neanderthals of the Upper Pleistocene."
For the study, published in the latest issue of Current Anthropology, the anthropologists analyzed food remains, stone tools, and other finds associated with Homo antecessor at a cave site called Gran Dolina in the Sierra de Atapuerca near Burgos, Spain. An apparent refuse pile containing tools and meat bones from animals also included multiple butchered bones of Homo antecessor individuals.
"Cut marks, peeling, and percussion marks show that the corpses of these individuals were processed in keeping with the mimetic mode used with other mammal carcasses: skinning, defleshing, dismembering, evisceration, and periosteum (membrane that lines bones) and marrow extraction," according to the researchers.
They added that the butchery techniques identified at the site "show the primordial intention of obtaining meat and marrow and maximally exploiting nutrients. Once consumed, human and nonhuman remains were dumped, mixing them together with lithic tools."
The other bones belonged to animals such as ancient bears, wolves, foxes, mammoths, lynx and more.
The bones and many stone tools indicate this was a campsite. All human butchering took place inside the cave.
"Other small-sized animals were processed in the same way," the scientists wrote. "These data suggest that they (Homo antecessor) practiced gastronomic cannibalism."
To further support this belief, the researchers point out that the consumed individuals came from a variety of age groups, ranging from young children to young adults.
The living arrangement, choice of prey, hunting and butchering methods all suggest that Homo antecessor lived in cohesive groups that likely would have competed with other Homo antecessor groups.
"Necessarily, a level of behavioral complexity is present among these human groups," the anthropologists believe. "This complexity allows using the cannibalism in response to resources competition with other human groups."
Based on other findings, eating one's enemy for political and nutritional gain was also likely practiced by Neanderthals and early members of our own species, who also practiced cannibalism for other reasons, such as during rituals.
Biologist Steven Vogel at Duke University ruminated on cannibalism in his book Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle. Vogel calculated that we'd have to consume too many of our brethren for cannibalism to be a sustainable nutritional source in and of itself.
Instead, humans "muscled our way up the food chain," Vogel said, developing better hunting weapons and other tools to allow almost everything to be on our menus.

Monday, 6 June 2011

A computer dating revolution (of the archaeological kind)

in The Independent
Monday, 6 June 2011

Innovations in programming are changing archaeologists’ perception of how settled life and early agriculture spread through Britain, David Keys, Archaeology Correspondent, reports.



Windmill Hill, a large Neolithic causewayed enclosure in Avebury, was dated within a span of six centuries, but the new project has narrowed that down to just six decades

The long-lost ‘history’ of prehistoric Britain, including our island’s first wars, is being re-discovered - courtesy of innovations in computer programming as well as archaeology.
Using newly refined computer systems, developed over recent years by programmers at Oxford University, archaeologists from English Heritage and Cardiff University have for the first time been able to fairly accurately date individual prehistoric battles, migrations and building construction projects.
After eight years of research, the team has been able to create a ‘historical’ chronology for the first 700 years of settled life in Britain.
“In effect, we have been able to turn pre-history into history. In the past we knew about events in prehistory – but we weren’t able to date them sufficiently precisely to put them into a chronological sequence,” said Dr. Alex Bayliss, English Heritage’s chief dating specialist.
“Now, for the first time, we’re able to tell the real story of how settled life in Britain began,” said her colleague, one of Britain’s leading experts on the period, Professor Alasdair Whittle of Cardiff University.
The new dating revolution is completely changing archaeologists’ perception of how settled life and early agriculture first spread through Britain and how, some 800 years before Stonehenge, Britain’s first monumental buildings came to be constructed.
For the first time ever, computer programmers and archaeologists have now fully developed and utilized on a mass scale a technique – known as Bayesian Chronological Modelling – to be able to glimpse the real political and even military events which shaped Britain’s prehistoric past.
The new research, based on computer-refined radiocarbon dates, strongly suggests that farming life-styles were introduced from the continent through Kent and Essex by immigrants – not simply through the transmission of knowledge and ideas. The work also reveals that for the first 200 years, roughly the first 8 to 10 farming generations, the agricultural revolution spread very slowly – from Kent/Essex in around 4050 BC to the Cotswolds by 3850 BC (on average just over half a mile per year).
But the research also suggests that in around 3850 BC, the new farming culture reached some sort of demographic or political ‘critical mass’ – for the new dates reveal that suddenly the agricultural lifestyle (also being adopted by Britain’s indigenous pre-agricultural inhabitants) spread throughout Britain within just 50 years – at an average speed of around 9 miles per year – ie. some 15 times more rapidly – vastly faster than most archaeologists had previously thought.
The new study – partly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council – has also discovered that this farming explosion in around 3850 BC seems to have triggered the construction of Britain’s first monumental buildings – the great communal tombs known today as long barrows. But the new more precise dating system has also indicated, contrary to previous archaeological belief, that most of them were only in use for two or three generations – not normally the centuries prehistorians had always assumed.
Yet the most intriguing new discovery seems to be a political one – a finding that hints at ferocious competition for power between competing groups, possibly even competing traditions and ideologies.
The new study, ‘Gathering Time’, published this month, has revealed that the introduction of continental-style ceremonial/political complexes into Britain – massive circular enclosures, each up to 300 metres in diameter – met with a mixed reception.
The new dating analysis reveals that at first (around 3700 BC) large numbers – around 40 to 50 – were built within 50 to 100 years. However some were violently attacked, their palisaded ramparts burnt down and their people killed. By around 3625 BC, attempts to build new enclosures had almost ceased.
This pause – potentially the result of opposition to the new order – lasted around half a century. A brief revival of enclosure-building between approximately 3575 and 3525 BC, detected by the new dating analysis, may represent a temporary political/military comeback for what had been briefly a dominant new tradition. This later period of monument building and subsequent ongoing occupation is also associated with terrible violence – with several of these ceremonial centres coming under attack from massed prehistoric archers.
Gradually, by around 3300 BC, the monumental enclosures (known today as ‘causewayed camps’) were abandoned – and an entirely British (as opposed to continental European-originating) style of monument, great processional avenues associated with funerary rituals, began from 3550 BC, to take their place as the dominant monumental (and probably ideological) tradition in Britain.
The ability of the refined dating system (precise to within around two and a half decades rather than two and a half centuries) is therefore transforming archaeologists’ understanding of pre-history. In the future it may even be possible to work out what the political/military events actually represent – whether they in fact represent tensions between continental immigrants and people of indigenous origin (who had adopted agriculture from those immigrants) – or whether they represent tensions between tribes or other groups of a single or related ethnic and cultural tradition. Only future research using the newly refined dating techniques plus DNA and other technologies will finally reveal the full story.
The Bayesian computer programme
The technique which English Heritage and Cardiff University has used to discover the chronology of Britain’s early agricultural ‘history’ (the early Neolithic) uses computer programs to narrow down the date ranges provided by conventional radiocarbon dating tests.
Typically radiocarbon dates in the early Neolithic have been so imprecise that they could only be expressed as wide date ranges, typically some 250 years long.
The Bayesian computer program solves this ‘imprecision’ problem by systematically checking each year in a given radiocarbon date range against other archaeological dating information, mainly the original stratigraphic relationships between the archaeological items being tested.
When literally hundreds of pieces of radiocarbon and stratigraphic data from a given site have been systematically analysed by a Bayesian computer program, the precision can typically be improved to a 25 year rather than 250 year date range.
The Bayesian software, which the archaeologists have been using, has been developed principally at Oxford University. The first program was brought out in 1995, but over the past 16 years constant improvements have been made to the system. Perhaps most importantly, however, the just completed English Heritage/Cardiff University investigation into the early Neolithic has enabled archaeologists for the first time to learn how to apply the new technique on a grand scale.
Re-discovering Britain's First Wars
Reconstructing the chronology of the early Neolithic has enabled English Heritage and Cardiff University archaeologists to re-discover Britain’s first wars – a series of conflicts which the new dating analysis shows occurred mainly between 3675 and 3475 BC.
The archaeologists have now succeeded in giving relatively precise dates to eight out of Britain’s eleven known early Neolithic battles. In almost all cases the targets for attack were the early Neolithic monumental enclosures known as causewayed camps – and the attacks were carried out through a mixture of massed archery and the use of fire.
In some cases enhanced defences appear to have been built in particularly insecure periods only to be attacked and burned down relatively rapidly. The wars were between agricultural peoples – but whether those peoples were from the same or different ethnic or cultural groups is not yet known.

Conference Defence Sites: Heritage and Future 2012

http://pt.scribd.com/doc/57231703/Conference-Defence-Sites-Heritage-and-Future-2012

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Sex and Violence: Is Sex at the Psychological Root of War?

in AlterNet
Miller-McCune Magazine / By Tom Jacobs
March 30, 2011

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.
Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?
How about warlike?
Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.
With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence. A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.
Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.
It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing.
A team of Hong Kong-based researchers led by psychologist Lei Chang of Chinese University conducted four experiments that suggest a link between the motivation to mate and a man’s interest in, or support for, war.
The first featured 111 students (60 men) at a college in China. Each was shown 20 full-body color photographs of members of the opposite sex. Half viewed images of people who had been rated attractive; the other half saw pictures of people classified as unattractive.
Afterward, “participants responded to 39 questions about having wars or trade conflicts with three foreign countries that have had hostile relationships with China in recent history,” the researchers write. Twenty-one of the questions “tapped the willingness to go to war with the hostile country,” they noted, while 18 addressed “peaceful solutions to trade conflicts.”
The results duplicated those of a pilot study: Male participants answering the war-related questions “showed more militant attitudes” if they had viewed the photos of attractive women. This effect was absent in answers to the trade-related questions, nor was it found among women for either set of questions.
In another experiment, 23 young heterosexual males viewed one of two sets of 16 photos. One featured images of Chinese national flags; the other focused on female legs. They then performed a computer test to see how quickly they could respond to common, two-character Chinese words. Half of the words related to war, while the others related to farms.
If they were motivated by nationalism or patriotism, the young men would have presumably responded to the war words more rapidly after having viewed the flag. But in fact, the researchers write, they “responded faster to war words when primed by female legs.”
In contrast, the rate at which participants processed farm-related words did not vary depending upon which photos were seen. This result was repeated in a follow-up experiment using a slightly different design.
Why would men with mating on their minds be more receptive to the idea of war? Chang and his colleagues suggest there is a “mating-warring association” deep in the male brain, due to the fact successful warriors have traditionally enjoyed greater access to women.
This instinctual force propels men “to engage in organized lethal aggression by co-opting other human adaptations, including our unique cognitive and social mind,” they write. To put it more simply, our rational brains lose the internal battle to our instinctual selves.
If peacocks impress potential mates with colorful feathers, the researchers write, perhaps warriors attract women with their ribbons, badges and fancy dress uniforms. And men’s “swords and missiles” may be our answer to a stag’s horns: weapons that showcase one’s virility.
The researchers concede war is a collective enterprise that cannot be explained entirely by individual motivates. And it’s worth noting this theory doesn’t explain why women join the military (admittedly in relatively small numbers). Furthermore, while there’s no reason to believe their results are culturally driven, it would surely be interesting to try to duplicate them in the U.S. or Europe.
Such caveats aside, their work provides further evidence that the impulse to fight may go deeper than the desire to defend one’s nation, religion or tribe. If their thesis is correct, the 1960s slogan “Make love, not war” may have to be revised. Love — at least the sexual variety — may have more in common with war than anyone imagined.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Early Bronze Age battle site found on German river bank

In Archaeology Daily News
May, 22 2011


BBC

Fractured human remains found on a German river bank could provide the first compelling evidence of a major Bronze Age battle.
Archaeological excavations of the Tollense Valley in northern Germany unearthed fractured skulls, wooden clubs and horse remains dating from around 1200 BC.
The injuries to the skulls suggest face-to-face combat in a battle perhaps fought between warring tribes, say the researchers.
The paper, published in the journal Antiquity, is based primarily on an investigation begun in 2008 of the Tollense Valley site, which involved both ground excavations and surveys of the riverbed by divers.
They found remains of around 100 human bodies, of which eight had lesions to their bones. Most of the bodies, but not all, appeared to be young men.
The injuries included skull damage caused by massive blows or arrowheads, and some of the injuries appear to have been fatal.
One humerus (upper arm) bone contained an arrow head embedded more than 22mm into the bone, while a thigh bone fracture suggests a fall from a horse (horse bones were also found at the site).
The archaeologists also found remains of two wooden clubs, one the shape of a baseball bat and made of ash, the second the shape of a croquet mallet and made of sloe wood.
Dr Harald Lubke of the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology in Germany said the evidence pointed to a major battle site, perhaps the earliest found to date.
"At the the beginning of the Neolithic, we have finds like Talheim in Germany, where we have evidence of violence, but it doesn't look like this situation in the Tollense Valley where we have many humans there in the riverbed," he told the BBC.
"We have a lot of violence from blunt weapons without any healing traces, and we have also evidence of sharp weapons. There are a lot of signs that this happened immediately before the victims died and the bodies are not buried in the normal way."
The archaeologists found no pottery, ornaments or paved surfaces which might be suggestive of formal graves or burial rituals.
Many of the bones appear to have been transported some distance by the river, although some finds appear to be in their original position.
The researchers suggest the bodies may have been dumped in the river before being washed away and deposited on a sandbar. Alternatively, the dead could have been killed on the spot in "the swampy valley environment", the paper concludes.
Dr Lubke believes the real conflict may have been fought out further up the river, and that the bodies so far found represent just a fraction of the carnage wrought by the battle.
"This is only a sample, what we have found up until now - the modern river bed only cuts across part of the river bed of that time. There are likely to be many more remains.
"It's absolutely necessary to find the place were the bodies came into the water and that will explain if it really was a battle or something else, such as an offering, but we believe that a fight is the best explanation at the moment."
Evidence was also found among the human remains of a millet diet, which is not typical of Northern Germany at the time, which the researchers say may betray the presence of invaders.
While bronze pins of a Silesian design could suggest contact with the Silesian region 400km to the south-east, they say.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Standing Up to Fight: Does It Explain Why We Walk Upright and Why Women Like Tall Men?


These two photo sequences depict a key part of a University of Utah experiment that showed why there is a fighting advantage to walking on two legs and being tall -- something that may help explain why ape-like human ancestors started walking upright and why women today tend to prefer tall men. In the top three photos, a participant in the study kneels with four limbs on the ground and then raises one arm to strike downward on a padded block equipped with sensors to measure the force of the blow. The bottom three photos show the same experiment, but with the blow delivered from an upright position. The study found that blows delivered downward from a two-legged posture are more powerful than downward blows from an all-fours posture, or than any blows delivered upward, from the front or sideways. (Credit: David Carrier, University of Utah)


ScienceDaily (May 19, 2011) — A University of Utah study shows that men hit harder when they stand on two legs than when they are on all fours, and when hitting downward rather than upward, giving tall, upright males a fighting advantage.
This may help explain why our ape-like human ancestors began walking upright and why women tend to prefer tall men.
"The results of this study are consistent with the hypothesis that our ancestors adopted bipedal posture so that males would be better at beating and killing each other when competing for females," says David Carrier, a biology professor who conducted the study. "Standing up on their hind legs allowed our ancestors to fight with the strength of their forelimbs, making punching much more dangerous."
"It also provides a functional explanation for why women find tall men attractive," Carrier adds. "Early in human evolution, an enhanced capacity to strike downward on an opponent may have given tall males a greater capacity to compete for mates and to defend their resources and offspring. If this were true, females who chose to mate with tall males would have had greater fitness for survival."
Carrier's new study is being published May 18 in the online Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.
The idea is not new that fighting and violence played a role in making human ancestors shift from walking on all fours to walking on two legs. But Carrier's new study physically demonstrates the advantage of fighting from an upright, two-legged posture.
Carrier measured the force of punches by male boxers and martial arts practitioners as they hit in four different directions: forward, sideways, down and up.
A punching bag fitted with a sensor measured the force of forward and sideways punches. For strikes downward and upward, the men struck a heavy padded block on the end of a lever that swung up and down because it was suspended from an axle.
In either case, the men struck the target as hard as they could both from a standing posture and on their hands and knees.
The findings: for all punching angles, men hit with far more force when they were standing, and from both postures they could hit over twice as hard downward as upward.
Humans: Two-Legged Punching Apes?
The transition from four-legged to two-legged posture is a defining point in human evolution, yet the reason for the shift is still under debate. Darwin thought that our ancestors stood up so they could handle tools and weapons. Later scientists have suggested that bipedalism evolved for a host of other reasons, including carrying food, dissipating heat, efficient running and reaching distant branches while foraging in trees.
"Others pointed out that great apes often fight and threaten to fight from bipedal posture," says Carrier. "My study provides a mechanistic explanation for why many species of mammals stand bipedally to fight."
Carrier says many scientists are reluctant to consider an idea that paints our ancestors as violent.
"Among academics there often is resistance to the reality that humans are a violent species. It's an intrinsic desire to have us be more peaceful than we are," he says.
Nevertheless, human males and their great ape cousins -- chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans -- frequently fight each other for territory and access to females.
The most popular theories about why we became bipedal are based on locomotor advantages -- increases in the efficiency of walking and running. However, research shows upright posture is worse for locomotion, contrary to what Carrier initially believed.
"If you're a chimpanzee- or gorilla-type ancestor that is moving on the ground, walking bipedally has a cost," he says. "It's energetically more expensive, it's harder to speed up and slow down, and there are costs in terms of agility. In every way, going from four legs to two is a disadvantage for locomotion. So the selective advantage for becoming bipedal, whatever it was, must have been important."
Nearly all mammals, including chimps and gorillas, move on all fours when they run or cover long distances on the ground. On the other hand, all sorts of four-legged animals stand up and use their front legs to fight. They include anteaters, lions, wolves, bears, wolverines, horses, rabbits and many rodents and primates.
Carrier believes that the usefulness of quadruped forelegs as weapons is a side effect of how forelegs are used for walking and running. When an animal is running with its body positioned horizontally, the forelegs strike down at the ground. By lifting the body to a vertical posture, animals can direct that same force toward an opponent.
In addition, quadrupeds are stronger pulling back with their forelimbs than pushing forward. That translates to a powerful downward blow when they rear up on their hind legs. These advantages, which grow directly out of four-legged movement, can be used most effectively by an animal that can stand easily on two legs.
Carrier predicted that animals would hit harder with their forelegs when their bodies were held upright than when they were horizontal, and that they would hit harder downward than upward. Although it would be ideal to test these hypotheses with four-legged animals, humans should still possess the advantages that led our ancestors to stand upright, and they are more practical test subjects.
The results were exactly what Carrier expected. Men's side strikes were 64 percent harder, their forward strikes were 48 percent harder, their downward strikes were 44 percent harder, and their upward strikes were 48 percent harder when they were standing than when they were on their hands and knees. From both postures, subjects delivered 3.3 times as much force when they hit downward rather than upward.
Do Women Want Men Who Can Fight?
While Carrier's study primarily deals with the evolution of upright posture, it also may have implications for how women choose mates. Multiple studies have shown that women find tall men more attractive. Greater height is also associated with health, social dominance, symmetrical faces and intelligence in men and women. These correlations have led some scientists to suggest that women prefer tall men because height indicates "good genes" that can be passed on to offspring. Carrier believes there is more to it.
"If that were the whole story, I would expect the same to be true for men -- that men would be attracted to tall women. But it turns out they're not. Men are attracted to women of average height or even shorter," he says.
The alternative explanation is that tall males among our ancestors were better able to defend their resources, partners and offspring. If males can hit down harder than they can hit up, a tall male has the advantage in a fight because he can punch down to hit his opponent's most vulnerable targets.
Carrier certainly isn't saying women like physically abusive men or those who get into fights with each other. He is saying that women like tall men because tallness is a product if the evolutionary advantage held by our ancestors who began standing upright to fight.
"From the perspective of sexual selection theory, women are attracted to powerful males, not because powerful males can beat them up, but because powerful males can protect them and their children from other males," Carrier says.
"In a world of automatic weapons and guided missiles, male physical strength has little relevance to most conflicts between males," he adds. "But guns have been common weapons for less than 15 human generations. So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that modern females are still attracted to physical traits that predict how their mates would fare in a fight."

Story Source:
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Utah, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
Journal Reference:
1.David R. Carrier. The Advantage of Standing Up to Fight and the Evolution of Habitual Bipedalism in Hominins. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (5): e19630 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019630

Friday, 6 May 2011

Mass burial suggests massacre at Iron Age hill fort

BBC, 18 April 2011 Last updated at 03:10 GMT


Archaeologists have found evidence of a massacre linked to Iron Age warfare at a hill fort in Derbyshire.

A burial site contained only women and children - the first segregated burial of this kind from Iron Age Britain.

Nine skeletons were discovered in a section of ditch around the fort at Fin Cop in the Peak District.

Scientists believe "perhaps hundreds more skeletons" could be buried in the ditch, only a small part of which has been excavated so far.

Construction of the hill fort has been dated to some time between 440BC and 390BC, but it was destroyed before completion.

The fort's stone wall was broken apart and the rubble used to fill the 400m perimeter ditch, where the skeletons were found.

A second, outer wall and ditch had been started but not finished.

Iron Age warfare

The findings provide a rare insight into warfare in pre-Roman Britain, according to Dr Clive Waddington of Archaeological Research Services, who directed the excavations.

"There has been an almost accepted assumption amongst many archaeologists that hill forts functioned as displays of power, prestige and status and that warfare in the British Iron Age is largely invisible," he said.

"For the people buried at Fin Cop, the hurriedly constructed fort was evidently intended as a defensive work in response to a very real threat."

The skeletons are of women, babies, a toddler and a single teenage male. The archaeological team believe they were probably massacred after the fort was attacked and captured.

All were found in a 10m long section of ditch, the only part to be excavated so far. The ditch was 5m wide with 2m deep vertical edges and would have guarded a 4m high perimeter wall.

Animal bones, also found in the ditch, suggest the fort's inhabitants kept cattle, sheep and pigs. There were also remains from horses which indicate some of the fort's inhabitants were of high status.

The human and animal remains at Fin Cop are relatively well preserved, at least partly due to the limestone geology - the alkaline chemistry slows down decay of organic material including bone.

This may also help explain why similar evidence of Iron Age warfare has not been found at other sites; many hill forts are built on gritstone or sandstone whose acidic soil accelerate the decay of organic matter.

Friday, 8 April 2011

La violence aux origines de l'humanité : Les temps préhistoriques

Jean GUILAINE - 1er février 2003 (1)
in Église Réformée d'Auteuil: Etudes & Recherche

La préhistoire fut-elle, comme certains l'ont pensé, une période pacifique, un âge d'or ?
Au delà même du mythe traditionnel d'une âge d'or originel, suivi d'une " chute ", certains spécialistes ont cru pouvoir l'assurer. Par exemple, Marshall Sahlins pour qui la société des origines était presque paradisiaque, une humanité peu nombreuse pouvant alors acquérir sa nourriture quotidienne sans difficulté dans un environnement riche et giboyeux, ce qui laissait à ces heureux ancêtres beaucoup de temps pour le repas, pour le loisir et pour l'affection et leur permettait de vivre en harmonie les uns avec les autres (Age de pierre, âge d'abondance, chez Gallimard en français).
En fait, il n'en est rien. L'analyse approfondie des fouilles les plus récentes(2) prouve que la préhistoire fut une époque de violence et de guerres, et cela aussi bien au paléolithique, le temps des chasseurs cueilleurs, qu'au néolithique, le temps où apparaissent les agriculteurs et les éleveurs.

Rappel du cadre chronologique : paléolithique puis néolithique
Pour commencer, revenons sur ce cadre chronologique. Pendant la presque totalité de la préhistoire, l'homme a été un prédateur. Par la chasse, la pêche ou la cueillette, il a vécu sur la nature, prélevant sur elle pour consommer, mais il n'a pas transformé la nature. De 2 500 000 ans en Afrique (pour remonter aux traces humaines les plus anciennes connues) à 10 000 ans avant notre ère (donc 99,9 % de la préhistoire) on peut dire que la nature est dominante et l'homme dominé. C'et l'époque dite " paléolithique ".
Puis, à partir, grosso modo, d'un peu moins de 10 000 ans avant notre ère, on observe une sédentarisation : l'homme commence à se fixer en certains endroits favorables. Il va pratiquer l'agriculture et l'élevage. C'est l'époque dite " néolithique ". A partir de ce moment-là - c'est-à-dire une époque très récente à l'échelle de la préhistoire - l'homme devient un agriculteur et un pasteur. Domestiquant les animaux et les céréales, il va pouvoir désormais produire son alimentation, alors que jusque là il s'était contenté de la prélever sur la nature. Différence immense : l'homme, devenu capable de faire se reproduire les plantes et les animaux, devient, dans une mesure certes encore modeste, le maître de la nature. C'est le début du culturel et de l'artificiel. En un sens, nous sommes les descendants de ces premiers paysans du néolithique qui ont transformé et humanisé la nature et en ont totalement changé les paysages.
Cela dit, cette transformation fut très progressive. Concernant " nos pays " (3), le passage au néolithique semble avoir débuté au Proche-Orient. Il s'est fait vers 8 500 avant notre ère, non sur le " Croissant fertile ", comme l'on dit souvent, mais, comme le montrent les recherches les plus récentes, avec un " épicentre ", une zone clé, qui se situe dans la partie supérieure des cours du Tigre et de l'Euphrate. C'est à partir de là que, vers l'Est, vers l'Ouest, vers le Nord et vers le Sud, selon un processus qui prit quelques millénaires, ont diffusé sur les continents environnants les premiers paysans, dès lors qu'ils maîtrisaient la culture des plantes et qu'ils avaient domestiqué des animaux. Par le " pont " anatolien notamment, ils sont passés en Grèce et ont peu à peu colonisé l'Europe.
Il faut donc toujours garder à l'esprit que le passage au néolithique ne s'est pas produit simultanément partout et que, pour l'Europe, plus on va vers l'Ouest, plus il est tardif. De plus, cette époque néolithique, la plus proche de nous, a pu être balisée. On y distingue, après le néolithique stricto sensu, les âges des métaux (cuivre, puis bronze, puis fer). Puis, dans un certain nombre de régions où ces éléments sont acquis, l'homme restant toujours un éleveur et un agriculteur, on voit apparaître l'écriture, les premières villes et les premiers états (Egypte, Mésopotamie, Vallée de l'Indus, Chine du nord - pour se limiter à l'ancien monde). C'est alors le début de l'Histoire.

Indices de la violence préhistorique : à l'orée de la période historique, la guerre est déjà là
Lorsqu'on veut parler de la violence préhistorique, une des questions que l'on peut se poser est de savoir quand commence la guerre. Or, précisément, le début de l'histoire nous apprend qu'à ces époques reculées la guerre est déjà une pratique courante. L'archéologie, notamment mésopotamienne ou égyptienne, nous enseigne que les premières cités sumériennes s'entre-déchiraient et que l'unification de l'Egypte se fit par la guerre.
C'est ainsi, par exemple, qu'un panneau célèbre, dit l'étendard d'Our (British Museum), retrouvé dans les tombes royales d'Our et datant d'environ 2500 ans avant notre ère, montre des scènes de violence contre des ennemis vaincus : chars roulant sur le corps des ennemis et prisonniers dénudés menacés par des soldats en armes. En Egypte, la non moins célèbre palette de Narmer (Musée du Caire), censée raconter l'unification de l'Egypte - en fait la conquête du Nord par le Sud - montre sur une face le personnage central, Narmer, le premier pharaon mythique, en train de lever sa hache pour éliminer un autre personnage qui est un personnage du delta. Au revers, le pharaon, suivi par son porte-sandales et précédé par ses porte-étendard contemple le champ de bataille où l'on voit de nombreux sujets allongés et décapités. Toujours en Egypte, le poignard en silex de Djebel-el-Arak (Musée du Louvre) s'assortit d'un manche en ivoire sculpté représentant une scène de combat.
Ce qui est valable en Mésopotamie et en Egypte, l'est aussi ailleurs. Il est certain que les archéologues peuvent lire la violence sur des documents laissés par les premières civilisations historiques (c'est-à-dire celles qui ont laissé des documents écrits) et que cette violence ne peut-être considérée comme une " nouveauté " de ces époques lointaines.
Autre indice d'une violence ancestrale : le cannibalisme, et plus précisément un cannibalisme rituel, ceux qui le pratiquaient voulant vraisemblablement s'approprier les vertus d'un défunt honoré ou la force d'un ennemi tué au combat et particulièrement valeureux. Par les traces laissées sur les ossements (traces de décharnement en vue d'une possible consommation), on a des preuves que ce cannibalisme a traversé toute la préhistoire. On en trouve encore des traces vers 8000 ans avant notre ère.
Tout cela dit, pour parler de la violence préhistorique et en produire des preuves, nous traiterons essentiellement d'abord du temps des chasseurs cueilleurs, soit la très longue durée du paléolithique ; puis des premiers agriculteurs, c'est-à-dire l'époque néolithique ; et enfin, moins longuement, nous déborderons sur quelques faits concernant les âges des métaux.
Précisons néanmoins que nous serons relativement brefs et rapides sur les temps les plus anciens, pour la raison bien simple que, plus il s'agit de temps anciens, plus la documentation est réduite, disparate, souvent mal conservée et surtout très difficile à questionner. Les éléments disponibles sont peu intelligibles.
Si, exemple extrême, nous voulions remonter à l'époque des australopithèques, entre six millions d'années et trois millions d'années, nous verrions que les australopithèques sud-africains, dont les restes sont rares, portent des traces d'enfoncement, des marques de blessures, mais nous ignorons complètement si ce sont des blessures accidentelles ou si elles ont été causées par un tiers. Certains archéologues pensent même que certaines des modifications que l'on constate sur les os ont pu intervenir post mortem, du fait des conditions de fossilisation qui ont pu entraîner des déformations de l'os. Autrement dit, ce n'est que lorsque la documentation augmente et devient plus récente qu'elle peut donner lieu à des interprétations et encore, celles-ci prêtent souvent à discussion, surtout si les " documents " sont anciens.
Ce dont nous allons essentiellement parler, c'est donc de notre espèce, l'homo sapiens, ou plus précisément l'homo sapiens sapiens (4).

La violence au paléolithique
Quelles preuves a-t-on de la violence au paléolithique ?
Ce sont d'abord les nombreuses traces de traumatismes osseux provoqués par des armes. Soit des blessures au crâne (fractures, crânes défoncés ..) ; soit des pointes de flèches que l'on trouve encore fichées dans les os, et ce dans toutes les parties du corps, vertèbres, os du bassin, os des membres etc.. Ainsi par exemple, les restes d'un bassin trouvé à Skühl, en Israël, montrent une tête de fémur et un os coxal perforés par un projectile. Les victimes ne sont pas que des hommes : on observe que ces violences atteignent aussi bien des enfants ou des femmes, comme par exemple cet enfant gravettien de Grimaldi qui porte la pointe d'une arme de jet dans la colonne vertébrale.
Une deuxième preuve de la violence paléolithique est fournie par certaines gravures rupestres. Elles offrent quelques scènes où l'on voit des sujets percés de flèches ou de sagaies comme, par exemple, une gravure figurant sur les parois de la grotte de Cosquer, près de Marseille. On a aussi, dans la grotte de l'Addaura, en Sicile, une scène de supplice où deux hommes ont les jambes repliées en arrière et retenues par une corde formant nœud coulant autour du cou, ce qui ne peut aboutir qu'à une strangulation. C'est en quelque sorte une exécution, mais une exécution qui ne fait pas couler le sang.
Enfin, dernière preuve, il est quasi certain que les paléolithiques se faisaient la guerre. Avec quelles armes ? Pendant très longtemps des javelots, ont été lancés à bras. Puis il y eut une invention qui a donné au système beaucoup plus de force, c'est l'invention du propulseur. C'est une baguette cannelée (en bois ou en os) dans laquelle on met la flèche (ou le javelot) qu'on veut lancer. Le fait de tenir ce propulseur avec la flèche à l'intérieur fait que le propulseur guide la flèche et lui donne en même temps beaucoup plus de précision et de force. C'était un premier progrès balistique.
L'arc fut ensuite une découverte importante : il accentue la précision et la force du projectile. Invention essentielle, utilisée jusqu'au..... Moyen-Age, où elle fut supplantée par l'arbalète. Les plus anciens arcs connus remontent aux 9ème ou 10ème millénaires avant notre ère. On les retrouve surtout dans les tourbières du nord de l'Europe, dans des endroits où le bois peut se conserver. Ce sont des arcs qui appartenaient encore à des civilisations de chasseurs-cueilleurs. Il est vraisemblable que l'arc a été inventé vers la fin des temps paléolithiques, aux environs de 12 000 à 10 000 avant notre ère.

Un exemple de massacre guerrier au paléolithique : le massacre du Djebel el Sahaba
Il y a une vingtaine d'années, une mission américaine a fouillé au Soudan une nécropole remontant à 12 000 /10 000 ans avant notre ère, donc des chasseurs-cueilleurs (site du Djebel Sahaba, non loin du Nil). On a trouvé là une soixantaine de personnes enterrées et la moitié de ces personnes avaient des pointes de flèche ou de dards dans les os. Rien ne nous dit, d'ailleurs, que les autres sujets n'ont pas aussi été tués de façon violente. Si la flèche n'atteint que des parties molles, elle peut être mortelle sans que pour autant la pointe reste fichée dans un os. Autrement dit, ces gens-là ont été exterminés par des congénères. S'agissait-il d'une élimination à l'intérieur du groupe social, ou d'ennemis qui ont essayé de chasser des gêneurs ? nous n'en savons rien.
Ce qui est intéressant, dans ce cas du Djebel Sahaba, c'est que des sujets ont reçu de 6 à 20 pointes de flèche. Une étude balistique a montré que certains d'entre eux étaient déjà à terre lorsqu'on a continué de leur tirer dessus ; on s'est acharné sur des corps déjà transpercés (et peut-être déjà morts). Cet acharnement montre qu'il s'agit d'une sorte de violence de masse et non de règlements de compte individuels. Ce cas du Djebel Sahaba, avec cet acharnement à tirer sur les corps, n'est d'ailleurs pas unique. Dans le mésolithique européen, à l'époque des derniers chasseurs collecteurs, on a de nombreuses nécropoles où l'on a trouvé des sujets pareillement percés de flèches, et souvent de plusieurs flèches.

Une violence accrue du fait de la sédentarisation
Enfin il est intéressant de noter que ces traces de conflits au sein de la société des chasseurs collecteurs se retrouvent souvent dans des nécropoles en bordure de grands fleuves : le Gange, le Dniepr, le Danube, le Nil près des cataractes (cas du Djebel Sahaba). Nous sommes là vers la fin des temps paléolithiques ; l'homme est toujours un chasseur, un cueilleur, un pêcheur, mais on voit une certaine tendance des populations à se sédentariser dans les régions où il y a en abondance de la nourriture. On peut y chasser, pêcher, collecter des plantes sans avoir à faire de grands circuits, comme c'était, semble-t-il, le cas auparavant.
Pendant longtemps, en effet, l'humanité, au moins en partie, a été une humanité mobile, en quête de nourriture. La population était clairsemée et chaque groupe parcourait de très grands territoires. Puis, petit à petit, on voit les populations tendre à se fixer ; elles se sédentarisent, avantageusement, dans les endroits où, sans faire de trop grands déplacements, elles peuvent trouver de la nourriture tout au long de l'année. Or ces terres se trouvent souvent près des fleuves, notamment près des grands fleuves et de leurs rapides, en des lieux proches de niches écologiques différentes, avec une grande variété végétale et animale. Selon une hypothèse en général admise par la communauté des préhistoriens, la sédentarisation se serait produite dans de tels lieux où, potentiellement, la nourriture pouvait être acquise sans trop de difficultés. Ces lieux étaient donc recherchés, disputés, et cela pouvait entraîner des heurts et des conflits. Les traces de ces conflits, nous les avons justement dans les nécropoles qui se trouvent dans ce type de situations.

La violence au néolithique
Il ne faut pas imaginer les premiers paysans qui ont lentement traversé l'Europe pour arriver jusque chez nous, comme des barbares frustes et incultes. Ce n'étaient plus des primitifs. Il s'agissait d'homo sapiens comme nous, contraints à la solidarité dans la mesure où ils devaient dépenser leur énergie pour défricher la forêt et lutter contre la nature. Pendant longtemps on a même pensé que ces paysans néolithiques ignoraient la violence. En réalité, comme on va le voir, leurs relations étaient loin d'être toujours pacifiques.

- De multiples exemples de violence
Il y a une vingtaine d'années, près de Stuttgart, à Talheim, on a fouillé une fosse commune néolithique. Il y avait là trente-trois sujets : tous ont reçu des impacts de flèche ou des chocs et beaucoup de crânes sont défoncés à la hache de pierre. Il s'agit apparemment d'une tuerie organisée d'hommes, de femmes et d'enfants. On a creusé une fosse commune et on s'est débarrassé des corps dans cette fosse.
Cette découverte jeta un froid dans la communauté archéologique qui, comme on vient de le dire, avait pensé que les néolithiques ignoraient la violence. A partir de ce moment-là, on a réexaminé attentivement un certain nombre de documents osseux qui existaient dans les laboratoires, et qui provenaient de fouilles souvent beaucoup plus anciennes. On s'est alors aperçu que les traces de violence étaient nombreuses à l'époque néolithique. Il peut s'agir soit d'impacts de flèche, soit de crânes défoncés. Par exemple, les haches de pierre polie, omniprésentes puisqu'elles servaient à déforester : ces outils de déforestation pouvaient très bien se transformer en armes le moment venu. Sur certains fragments des crânes de Talheim on peut voir dans la boîte crânienne exactement la forme, en négatif, de la hache de pierre polie qui à servi à défoncer le crâne de ce sujet.
En Autriche, sur un site néolithique, on a découvert les restes de plusieurs dizaines de sujets sur lesquels on voit des impacts de flèche, des traces de coups, des crânes défoncés à la hache de pierre. Dans le Palatinat, sur un autre site néolithique, à Exheim, on a retrouvé les crânes de 300 individus. Tous ont été brisés par la moitié, de façon à ne conserver que la partie supérieure de la calotte crânienne. Il s'agit presque toujours d'adolescents ou d'enfants. L'interprétation de ce constat est difficile. S'agit-il de trophées de guerre, après le rapt d'une population d'enfants ? s'agit-il d'enfants de la communauté qui ont été éliminés ou sacrifiés, à la suite d'une crise interne à la population de ce site ? Nous n'avons pas de réponse.
Prenons enfin le cas de la France. Le néolithique français se situe en gros entre 5 500 et 2 500 avant notre ère. On y trouve de nombreux exemples de violence. Dans l'Allier, à Pontcharoux (vers 4 500 - 4 000 avant notre ère) une tombe multiple contient sept sujets tous enterrés en même temps. Or l'un de ces sujets porte dans la moelle épinière la trace d'une flèche qui s'y est plantée et qui l'a tué. On s'interroge sur les six autres. Ont-ils été tués en même temps et mis dans la même fosse ? ont-ils été " poussés " pour qu'ils accompagnent le précédent ? les a-t-on éliminés ? De tels cas ne sont pas rares.
Dernier exemple : en Vendée, aux Châtelliers-du-Vieil-Auzay, dans une sorte de grand tumulus on a trouvé trois tombes qui contiennent chacune deux sujets, un adulte et un adolescent. Tous ont subi soit des impacts de flèche, soit des chocs sur le crâne qui ont entraîné la mort. Chose surprenante, bien qu'ils aient été tués, ces sujets ont quand même reçu une sépulture décente. S'agissait-il de sujets sacrifiés ? Là aussi, il n'y a pas de réponse.

- La guerre au néolithique - Le Levante espagnol
Curieusement, vers la fin du néolithique, on retrouve dans les tombes (5) une grande quantité de pointes de flèche aux formes variées et très élaborées, foliacées, losangées, à pédoncule et ailerons etc.. Il y en a une grande profusion et l'étude des matériaux montre que ces pointes de flèches circulent comme des denrées précieuses entre des lieux éloignés. Or ces pointes de flèche impliquent nécessairement les flèches elles-mêmes tout comme les arcs et leurs accessoires. Alors que nous sommes déjà vers la fin du néolithique et que l'homme vit d'agriculture et d'élevage, tout se passe comme si la chasse restait importante. Mais quand on étudie les reste d'animaux de cette époque, on voit que la viande dont l'homme se nourrit provient essentiellement des animaux domestiques et que la chasse, au niveau alimentaire, apporte très peu. Et pourtant, c'est à cette époque où la chasse ne joue qu'un très faible rôle alimentaire que les pointes de flèche sont en surabondance. Que peut signifier une telle constatation ?
Elle veut probablement dire que si les flèche ne jouent plus grand un rôle dans la chasse, pour l'alimentation, elles jouent par contre un rôle important en tant que symbole, pour la position sociale. C'est là un fait très important, auquel il y a une explication. Plus la densité de population augmente, plus l'individu masculin, qui veut se mettre en valeur, ne peut y parvenir dans les comportements ordinaires de sa vie quotidienne de paysan ou de pasteur. Il n'y a que deux domaines où il peut " briller ", se constituer une position sociale importante : ou la chasse ou la guerre. Il construit son statut social à partir de son courage et de son amour du danger. Autrement dit, si les flèches servaient peu à la chasse, on peut penser qu'elles servaient à la guerre.
Or précisément, l'art rupestre de l'époque néolithique nous donne des informations sur la violence et la guerre. Il nous faut ici parler notamment de l'Espagne, en particulier du Levante espagnol. Dans toute la zone montagneuse qui regarde vers la Méditerrannée, des Pyrénées à la chaîne Bétique, à l'arrière des plaines côtières, se trouvent des paysages très tourmentés. Ce sont des régions calcaires dans lesquelles il y a beaucoup d'abris sur les parois desquels les populations préhistoriques ont peint un certain nombre de scènes, presque toujours des scènes de chasse, et parfois des scènes de guerre. Pendant longtemps on a pensé, puisqu'il y avait des scènes de chasse, qu'il s'agissait de populations de chasseurs, plus précisément de paléolithiques terminaux, de mésolithiques. Puis, la recherche aidant, on s'est rendu compte que ces scènes étaient d'âge néolithique et que ces scènes représentant la chasse ou la guerre ont été peintes par des paysans ou des éleveurs qui n'ont pas représenté sur les parois des grottes des scènes de leur vie quotidienne mais tout ce qui avait un caractère mythique qui pouvait grandir l'individu.
Par exemple des groupes d'archers face à face, avec parfois un peu à l'écart un petit groupe de " réservistes ". Les sexes sont indiqués : ce ne sont que les mâles qui se battent. Souvent apparaît le chef d'un groupe ou de l'autre, caractérisé par sa coiffure ou des plumettes sur la tête, au derrière et aux mollets. Les batailles ainsi représentées ne sont pas désordonnées : ce sont des batailles rangées. Dans un cas, on a une véritable scène d'exécution avec la victime, criblée de flèches, allongée sur le sol. Enfin, sur l'un de ces panneaux et pour un camp, on a pu faire le décompte du nombre des archers. On arrive à 20 à 25 auxquels il faut ajouter, en arrière-plan, des " réservistes " au nombre de 25. Au total 50 personnes dans ce camp. Si on considère que ne se battent que les jeunes mâles, on peut évaluer, avec les adultes plus âgés, les femmes et les enfants, que cela représente une communauté d'au moins 200 personnes (en transposant démographiquement). Il est clair qu'il ne s'agit plus des bandes de l'époque paléolithique, toujours très peu nombreuses. Nous sommes carrément dans un milieu de type néolithique.

La violence à l'âge des métaux : idéologie du guerrier et meurtres rituels collectifs.
Nous serons beaucoup plus brefs.
Vers la fin de la préhistoire, à l'âge des métaux, on voit se mettre en place, en occident, une figure de guerrier, que l'on perçoit grâce au mobilier trouvé dans les tombes : des armes pour les hommes, des parures et des objets domestiques pour les femmes. Il y a déjà une séparation idéologique entre les sexes que confirme l'examen des premières statues-menhirs. L'homme y est représenté avec ses armes, la femme avec des seins qui évoquent sa fonction nourricière et domestique. Non qu'à l'époque il y ait des armées de guerriers, cela viendra plus tard. Mais l'idéologie du guerrier est déjà préparée.
De la même époque, enfin, datent les meurtres rituels collectifs : le " chef ", pour magnifier son pouvoir, se fait enterrer avec ses épouses, ses courtisans et ses serviteurs, tués pour l'occasion. On en a notamment des traces en Egypte et en Mésopotamie. En Egypte, sous la première dynastie, autour de la tombe du pharaon, sont disposées les tombes des serviteurs ; par exemple à Abydos, autour de la tombe du roi, 800 tombes subsidiaires (serviteurs, courtisans, artisans, femmes du harem ...). Deux souverains ont été enterrés au dessus du corps de leurs serviteurs. En Mésopotamie, les tombes des rois d'Our accusent une profusion de richesses, mais aussi de nombreux sujets sacrifiés. Dans la tombe du roi Anou : 59 serviteurs mâles et 19 femmes ont accompagné le roi. Dans une autre tombe encore, 68 femmes et 6 hommes. On retrouve également ce phénomène au Soudan, dans la civilisation de Kerma (3ème millénaire). Il y a 200 ou 300 personnes autour d'une sépulture princière.
L'exemple le plus célèbre reste évidemment celui du premier empereur de Chine, vers 200 ans avant notre ère. Ce mégalomane s'est fait construire une pyramide de 400 m de côté pour abriter son tombeau et lors de ses funérailles, ont été sacrifiés les concubines de son père, plusieurs princes et leurs serviteurs, même peut-être ses propres enfants ; et aussi tous les artisans qui avaient travaillé au tombeau, pour en conserver le secret. C'est également lui qui a voulu être protégé par une armée symbolique de milliers de guerriers dont on a modelé des statues en terre cuite, qui sont disposées dans des casernes souterraines. Ici, toutefois, on était passé de l'être vivant à la figuration symbolique.
En définitive, les sociétés préhistoriques n'ont pas été plus pacifiques que les civilisations historiques. Elles ont connu des crises et des tensions comme toutes les sociétés. Elles ont pratiqué meurtres, violences et exécutions. S'il est vrai que dans de nombreux cas l'archéologie ne peut pas répondre aux questions que l'on se pose, on peut penser néanmoins que les sociétés préhistoriques se faisaient la guerre, peut-être pour des rivalités de territoires, mais aussi peut-être pour des motifs idéologiques : Vexations, insultes, rapts de femme. La violence est une réalité de tous les temps.

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(1) La conférence de Jean Guilaine, illustrée par de nombreuses diapositives, fut exceptionnellement longue. Le présent condensé de cette conférence a été établi par J.L. Wolfender.
(2) Un certain nombre des exemples cités sont donnés par Jean Guilaine dans son livre : Le sentier de la guerre, visages de la violence préhistorique , écrit en collaboration avec J. Zammit - Editions du Seuil, 2001.
(3) Nous désignons ici sous le terme de " nos pays " l'aire géographique formée de l'Asie occidentale, de l'Europe et du pourtour méditerranéen. Or la transformation néolithique est un phénomène constaté dans les diverse parties du monde. On admet en général qu'il y a eu plusieurs foyers de néolithisation, en Asie, en Afrique subsaharienne, en Amérique ... qui virent la domestication de plantes et d'animaux différents. Le foyer proche-oriental semble être le plus ancien.
(4) Rappelons ici que notre espèce est apparue hors d'Europe, en Afrique, il y a environ 100 000 ans et qu'elle y fut contemporaine de l'homme de Néandertal ; alors qu'en Europe l'homme de Néandertal, dont on a des traces vers -100 000 ans, a largement précédé l'homo sapiens sapiens qui n'y est parvenu que vers -40 000 ans. Certains paléontologistes considèrent le Néandertal comme un sapiens, d'autres comme une espèce distincte. Nous n'entrons pas ici dans ce débat.
(5) Vers la fin du néolithique, on voit se développer ce qu'on pourrait appeler des " armes de parade ". On le constate dans les tombes où les gens mettent des offrandes : le défunt part avec son carquois, avec ses haches, avec ses objets de parure, avec ses flèches. Subsistent les pointes de flèche.