Violence in the Mesolithic

  • Mirjana Roksandic University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
Keywords: prehistoric violence, prehistoric trauma, Mesolithic/Neolithic transition

Abstract

The Mesolithic populations of the Danube’s Iron Gates Gorge (Serbia/Romania) spanned over 1500 years (from before 7000 BC to around 5500 BC) in one of the more favourable foraging environments of Europe. Over most of this period, the dominant economy was foraging, but farming was practiced by communities in the region from around 6500 BC. This research examines individuals from four sites on the Danube (Lepenski Vir, Vlasac, Padina, and Hajdučka Vodenica) whose traumatic lesions can be most plausibly interpreted as resulting from violent interactions. Given the number of individuals buried at these sites (MNI = 418), the episodes of violent interactions were few and without evidence of a specific temporal pattern. They probably represent sporadic episodes of interpersonal conflict that do not support the notion of endemic warfare deemed typical of the Mesolithic, or elevated levels of interpersonal/intertribal conflict at the time of contact with farming communities. The difference in the pattern of violence between the Mesolithic sites on the right bank of the Danube and a coeval site of Schela Cladovei on the left bank is explained in terms of differences in archaeological context, geographic location and possibly specific local histories.

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Published
2006-12-31
How to Cite
Roksandic, M. (2006). Violence in the Mesolithic. Documenta Praehistorica, 33, 165-182. https://doi.org/10.4312/dp.33.16
Section
Articles