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The Archaeology of Historic Battlefields: A History and Theoretical Development in Conflict Archaeology

Abstract

In the last two and a half decades there have been many advances in the technology available to archaeologists. As new technologies have been used to challenge previously held hypotheses and expand the capabilities of current research, they also have assisted the expansion of archaeology to include conflict archaeology. Although there has been a long history of interest in the material remains of conflict, it is only recently that the necessary tools, methodology, and theoretical approaches have been combined to allow serious scientific contributions to the holistic study of past human conflict. This article provides an overview of the origins of conflict archaeology and research that has helped consolidate the subfield into its present form. We examine the current state of conflict studies and consider what lies ahead for conflict archaeology.

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Acknowledgments

We express our appreciation to the editors and editorial assistant Linda Nicholas for their keen eye and assistance in the preparation of this article. We also thank Peter Bleed, Tony Pollard, Charles Haecker, and Richard Diehl, as well as several anonymous reviewers, for their comments on earlier drafts of this work. We are grateful for their comments and suggestions, which we have endeavored to incorporate as much as possible. No topical review of current literature in an on-going and dynamic field can ever be complete, and we had to be somewhat selective in the literature citations we chose to include, which we hope, if not fully inclusive, is at least representative of the diversity in both time and space of the field of conflict archaeology.

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Scott, D.D., McFeaters, A.P. The Archaeology of Historic Battlefields: A History and Theoretical Development in Conflict Archaeology. J Archaeol Res 19, 103–132 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10814-010-9044-8

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Keywords

  • Geographic Information System
  • Mass Grave
  • Archaeological Record
  • Archaeological Investigation
  • Terrain Analysis