The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict (Routledge Handbooks (Hardcover))
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If human burials were our only window onto the past, what story would they tell? Skeletal injuries constitute the most direct and unambiguous evidence for violence in the past. Whereas weapons or defenses may simply be statements of prestige or status and written sources are characteristically biased and incomplete, human remains offer clear and unequivocal evidence of physical aggression reaching as far back as we have burials to examine.
Warfare is often described as ‘senseless’ and as having no place in society. Consequently, its place in social relations and societal change remains obscure. The studies in The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict present an overview of the nature and development of human conflict from prehistory to recent times as evidenced by the remains of past people themselves in order to explore the social contexts in which such injuries were inflicted. A broadly chronological approach is taken from prehistory through to recent conflicts, however this book is not simply a catalogue of injuries illustrating weapon development or a narrative detailing ‘progress’ in warfare but rather provides a framework in which to explore both continuity and change based on a range of important themes which hold continuing relevance throughout human development.
memoria histórica. Madrid: Los Libros de la Catarata. Espinosa, F. 2009. Las cifras de la represión. In M. Nuñez (ed.), La gran represión. Madrid: Flor del Viento, pp 393–401. —— 2012. La represión franquista: las circunstancias de la muerte. Boletín Galego de Medicina Forense e Legal 18: 47–54. Etxeberria, F., L. Herrasti, L. Pérez de la Iglesia, C. Albisu, J. Jiménez, S. Cardoso, M. Baeta, C. Nuñez, L. Palencia and M. Martínez de Pancorbo. 2012. Exhumación, identificación y causa de muerte
in her sample of sub-adult individuals bearing cranial trauma. This evidence would seem to indicate that thrown stones, with or without the use of a sling, were used as a saturation weapon to inflict indiscriminate casualties from range on massed groups of individuals, as recorded in later periods of its use (Armit 2011; Dohrenwend 2002; Scott and Buckley 2010). Piers Mitchell (Chapter 14) identifies a depressed cranial fracture but suspects that it had been sustained accidentally; the
with the pattern of assault-related trauma. The extra-ordinarily high number of nasal fractures in Ceridwen Boston’s Royal Naval samples she attributes to interpersonal fighting, such as would occur in brawls and accidents. Their occurrence in these men engaged on close-quarters sailing vessels may provide an incisive analogy for similar trauma received in the domestic confines of habitations. With the advent of ever more powerful weapons that kill in greater numbers and at a greater and greater
to the incidence, prevalence and demography of human aggression on a wider scale and with greater time-depth. Such a move would permit greater sense to be made of the trajectory(ies) violence has taken in the past and to make suggestions as to the likely form and direction of human hostility in the future – offering a firmer basis on which to assess whether we can indeed be optimistic as proposed in our introduction or whether the outlook should, for the time being, remain bleak. References
deformation (Clough and Boyle 2010; Stuart-Macadam et al. 1998; Wheeler et al. 2007). Trauma to the growth plates have been recorded at later medieval Chichester, Sussex (Ortner 2003) and Pecos Pueblo in New Mexico (Ortner 2003), post-medieval Christ Church Spitalfields in London (Lewis 2002), early medieval Raunds Furnells in Northamptonshire (Lewis 2002) and medieval La Madeleine, Orléans, France (Kacki et al. 2011). Four post-cranial fractures were found in children living on the steep