Neolithic Massacres: Local Skirmishes or General Warfare in Europe?
Windl, Helmut J.
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CitationWild, E. M., Stadler, P., Häußer, A., Kutschera, W., Steier, P., Teschler-Nicola, M., ... & Windl, H. J. (2004). Neolithic massacres: Local skirmishes or general warfare in Europe?. Radiocarbon, 46(1), 377-385.
DescriptionFrom the 18th International Radiocarbon Conference held in Wellington, New Zealand, September 1-5, 2003.
AbstractThe Neolithic site of Schletz in Lower Austria comprises a fortified settlement from the end of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture. Large numbers of human bones were found at the base of the fortification ditches, and many of the excavated bones and skulls showed evidence of trauma which most likely originates from violence. This remarkable deposit of human remains has been considered evidence for an abrupt end to the Early Neolithic settlement at Schletz. In order to investigate this interpretation, radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) measurements of human bone samples from this site were performed at VERA. The X2 test of the results from specimens with clearly identified lesions suggests that these may be contemporaneous. Further, it may be concluded that all individuals with evidence of trauma from Schletz were probably the victims of a single event: a massacre at the end of the LBK. Similar evidence is found at Early Neolithic sites at Talheim and Herxheim in the western part of Germany. Analysis of the 14C ages of bones from both sites suggests that the Talheim event may have been coeval with the massacre of Schletz, whereas an event at Herxheim might have happened some time earlier. For Herxheim, the massacre theory is still under discussion, and a change in the burial rite is also considered as an alternative interpretation.