The War to Begin All Wars?

Contextualizing violence in Neolithic Britain

Authored by: Martin J Smith

The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415842198
eBook ISBN: 9781315883366
Adobe ISBN: 9781134677979

10.4324/9781315883366.ch6

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Abstract

The Neolithic period has been a focus of study in British archaeology for close to two centuries. Characterized as a period of rapid and significant economic and social transition, the time between the late fifth and late third millennia bc is the period during which the foundations were laid for trajectories of ongoing and accelerating social change that continue to be played out in our own time. In the British Isles, as in other parts of Atlantic Europe, a range of momentous innovations were adopted, including ceramics, crop and animal domestication, greater levels of sedentism and the collective building of a variety of monumental structures that imply whole new ways of conceptualizing the landscapes people inhabited. This period is also of particular interest from the viewpoint of biological anthropology as it constitutes the earliest time from which human burials occur in significant numbers in Britain.

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