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

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

Sunday, 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
José Geraldo Costa Grillo (UNIFESP)
Renata S. Garraffoni (UFPR)
Pedro Paulo A. Funari (UNICAMP)
São Paulo
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)


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.


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.


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).

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