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The Origins of War: Violence in Prehistory

ISBN: 978-1-4051-1260-4
296 pages
December 2004, Wiley-Blackwell
The Origins of War: Violence in Prehistory (1405112603) cover image
Stretching across continents and centuries, The Origins of War: Violence in Prehistory provides a fascinating examination of executions, torture, ritual sacrifices, and other acts of violence committed in the prehistoric world.

  • Written as an accessible guide to the nature of life in prehistory and to the underpinnings of human violence.
  • Combines symbolic interpretations of archaeological remains with a medical understanding of violent acts.
  • Written by an eminent prehistorian and a respected medical doctor.
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Foreword.

1. Preliminary Observations.

2. Violence in Hunter-gatherer Society.

3. Agriculture: A Calming or Aggravating Influence?.

4. Humans as Targets: 4,000-8,000 Years Ago.

5. The Warrior: An Ideological Construction.

6. The Concept of the Hero Emerges.

Conclusions.

Appendix.

Bibliography.

Index
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Jean Guilaine is Professor of Archeology at the Collège de France and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. He is the author of numerous books, including Prehistory: The World of Early Man (US translation 1986).


Jean Zammit is a doctor and paleopathologist at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.


Melanie Hersey is a translator specialising in the social sciences. She has studied German, French, and anthropology and received an MA in translation from Durham University.

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  • Written as an accessible guide to the nature of life in prehistory and to the underpinnings of human violence.

  • Combines symbolic interpretations of archaeological remains with a medical understanding of violent acts.

  • Examines such acts of violence as executions, massacres, torture, and ritual sacrifices.

  • Written by an eminent prehistorian and a respected medical doctor.
See More
“‘Nasty, brutish, and short’ was how Hobbes characterized human life in a state of nature, but for the last thirty years prehistorians have largely contrived to forget the nasty side. This lively and authoritative volume goes a long way to redressing the balance, giving a superb overview of the more aggressive side of life in early Europe.” Andrew Sherratt, University of Oxford


“There are few more intriguing yet disturbing subjects than the origins of human violence. This richly detailed account provides dramatic insights into a distant and often violent world, but one that is only too familiar in its contemporary relevance. Essential reading for all who are interested in the human past.” Chris Scarre, University of Cambridge

"An intriguing and convincing account of violence and conflict in deep antiquity ... The authors have successfully produced a stimulating and thought provoking text." Archaeology Ireland

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