Title: Massacres, Torture and Mutilation: Extreme Violence in Neolithic Conflicts
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2015 23:31:00 -0400
Violent conflicts in Neolithic Europe were held more brutally than has
been known so far. This emerges from a recent anthropological analysis of the
roughly 7000-year-old mass grave of Schöneck-Kilianstädten by researcher of
the Universities of Basel and Mainz. The findings, published in the journal
PNAS, show that victims were murdered and deliberately mutilated.
It was during the time when Europeans first began to farm. To what degree
conflicts and wars featured in the early Neolithic (5600 to 4900 B.C.), and
especially in the so-called Linear Pottery culture (in German,
Linearbandkeramik, LBK), is a disputed theme in research. It is particularly
unclear whether social tensions were responsible for the termination of this
era. So far two mass graves from this period were known to stem from armed
conflicts (Talheim, Germany, and Asparn/Schletz, Austria).
Besides various types of (bone) injuries caused by arrows, they also found
many cases of massive damage to the head, face and teeth, some inflicted on
the victims shorty before or after their death. In addition, the attackers
systematically broke their victims' legs, pointing to torture and deliberate
mutilation. Only few female remains were found, which further indicates that
women were not actively involved in the fighting and that they were possibly
abducted by the attackers.
The abstract from the original study can be found at pnas.org.
From Schöneck-Kilianstädten to Rwanda, it seems like humanity hasn't come very
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