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A Bioarchaeological Perspective On The History Of Violence

Phillip L. Walker

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▪ Abstract  Traumatic injuries in ancient human skeletal remains are a direct source of evidence for testing theories of warfare and violence that are not subject to the interpretative difficulties posed by literary creations such as historical records and ethnographic reports. Bioarchaeological research shows that throughout the history of our species, interpersonal violence, especially among men, has been prevalent. Cannibalism seems to have been widespread, and mass killings, homicides, and assault injuries are also well documented in both the Old and New Worlds. No form of social organization, mode of production, or environmental setting appears to have remained free from interpersonal violence for long.