Surprising Research Reveals Rapid Farming Societies

Surprising Research Reveals Rapid Farming Societies ...

Evidence of weapon injuries was found in one out of every ten skeletal remains of more than 2,300 early farmers dating back to around 8,000 to 4,000 years ago at 180 sites.

During the time when farming became a habit, violence and conflict abounded in many Neolithic communities across Northwest Europe, according to new research.

In a time associated with agriculture, new research suggests that violence and conflict were common in a number of Neolithic communities throughout Northwest Europe.

Bioarchaeologists discovered that weapons were present in almost one out of every ten skeleton remains of early farmers from 180 sites dating back to around 8000 to 4000 years ago.

According to a group of international researchers, the Neolithic era, which was marked by peaceful cooperation, may be a high point in conflict and violence, with the destruction of whole communities.

According to the findings, the advent of growing crops and herding animals as a way of life, in place of hunting and gathering, might have laid the foundations for formalized warfare.

Researchers analyzed human skeletal remains from locations in Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, and Sweden.

The team compiled the findings in order to record, for the first time, evidence of violence in Neolithic Northwestern Europe, which has the largest concentration of excavated Neolithic sites in the world.

The researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Bournemouth, and Lund in Sweden, as well as the OsteoArchaeological Research Centre in Germany examined the remains for evidence of skull trauma.

A total of ten percent of cases showed damage possibly caused by frequent blows to the head by blunt instruments or stone axes. Several examples of penetrative injuries, thought to be caused by arrows, were also discovered.

According to the researchers, some of the injuries were related to mass burials, which may suggest the destruction of whole communities.

"Human bones are the most direct and least biased evidence for previous conflicts," says Dr. Linda Fibiger of Edinburgh's School of History, Classics, and Archaeology. "Our ability to distinguish between fatal injuries and post-mortem damage has improved dramatically in recent years, as well as distinguishing accidental injuries from weapon-based assaults."

Martin Smith, from Bournemouth University's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, said, "The research raises the question as to why violence appeared to have been so prevalent during this time." The most plausible explanation might be that farmers developed into insecure farmers, who also tended to use raiding and collective violence as a strategy for success. The findings are now becoming more recognized archaeologically."

Linda Fibiger, Torbjörn Ahlström, Christian Meyer, and Martin Smith, "Conflict, violence, and warfare among early farmers in Northwestern Europe," published on the 17th of January 2023, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2209481119.

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