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Interdisciplinary Approaches to Prehistoric Warfare and Violence: Past, Present, and Future

  • Andrea DolfiniEmail author
  • Rachel J. Crellin
  • Christian Horn
  • Marion Uckelmann
Chapter
Part of the Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences book series (QMHSS)

Abstract

Archaeological and anthropological research into prehistoric warfare and violence was long framed by two competing meta-narratives harking back to the work of political philosophers Hobbes and Rousseau. Whereas for some researchers violence is a key part of what makes us human, for others it emerges as a result of specific types of socio-political relationships. This contribution explores the ways in which these competing narratives, as well as Europe’s history of twentieth-century warfare, have influenced the way in which we have approached the subject. The paper argues that a turning point came in the wake of Keeley’s renowned monograph (i.e. War before civilization. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996). This has led to the creation of a vibrant field of specialist research on prehistoric warfare and violence. The authors argue that this field of study can be further advanced through interdisciplinary enquiries bringing together state-of-the-art scientific methods of analysis and contemporary theoretical reflections developed in the humanities and social sciences.

Keywords

Violence Warfare Prehistory Interdisciplinarity 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the organisers of the 21st annual meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (Glasgow 2015) for giving us the opportunity to discuss current approaches to prehistoric warfare and violence with many colleagues and researchers. We thank the authors of the individual chapters for contributing their ground-breaking research to the volume and also for their continuing collaboration during the editorial process. We also thank Matthew Amboy for his unwavering support and competent assistance. Andrea wishes to acknowledge the ‘Bronze Age Combat Project’ team for debating some of the issues discussed in this chapter. Rachel’s research was supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Leicester, while Christian’s research was supported by the German Research Council under grant number GSC 208, Torsten Söderberg Stiftelse under agreement number E16/16, and the Swedish Rock Art Research Archive (SHFA). All opinions and errors are ours.

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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Dolfini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rachel J. Crellin
    • 2
  • Christian Horn
    • 3
  • Marion Uckelmann
    • 4
  1. 1.Newcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.University of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  3. 3.University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  4. 4.Durham UniversityDurhamUK

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