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posted by janrinok on Thursday March 16 2023, @03:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the turning-ploughshares-into-swords dept.

Violence and warfare were widespread in many Neolithic communities across Northwest Europe:

Of the skeletal remains of more than 2300 early farmers from 180 sites dating from around 8000 – 4000 years ago to, more than one in ten displayed weapon injuries, bioarchaeologists found.

Contrary to the view that the Neolithic era was marked by peaceful cooperation, the team of international researchers say that in some regions the period from 6000BC to 2000BC may be a high point in conflict and violence with the destruction of entire communities.

The findings also suggest the rise of growing crops and herding animals as a way of life, replacing hunting and gathering, may have laid the foundations for formalised warfare.

[...] More than ten per cent showed damage potentially caused by frequent blows to the head by blunt instruments or stone axes. Several examples of penetrative injuries, thought to be from arrows, were also found.

Some of the injuries were linked to mass burials, which could suggest the destruction of entire communities, the researchers say.

Journal Reference:
Linda Fibiger, Torbjörn Ahlström, Christian Meyer, and Martin Smith, Conflict, violence, and warfare among early farmers in Northwestern Europe [open], PNAS, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2209481119


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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @04:20PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @04:20PM (#1296499)

    Wherever there are men working peacefully to feed their family, there are other men who want to rule them and take some or all of their stuff for themselves and the "greater good".

    Now that we've "evolved" we call those farmers "white supremacists", and the gang of thugs "government" the theft "taxes", and the "greater good" is socialism.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:11PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:11PM (#1296520)

      You're correct, to some extent. I'm not sure where you are in the world, but you'd do yourself more good by looking around you and counting up all the benefits you receive and use as a result of organized society. Drive? Did you pave the roads? You'd rather have mud trails? Traffic lights, stop signs, etc? You'd rather have chaos and collisions? Ambulance? How about electricity? You'd rather have corporate monopoly supply your electricity? How much do you think they'd charge without govt. regulation? Ever study the Great Depression? Any concept of what food would cost if govt. didn't partially control food prices and production? No system is perfect, but you'd do yourself a great service if you'd shut your mouth and fingers, open your eyes and ears, and actually think a bit rather than react and spew verbal vomit.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @01:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @01:08PM (#1296674)

        You're correct, to some extent. I'm not sure where you are in the world, but you'd do yourself more good by looking around you and counting up all the benefits you receive and use as a result of organized society. Drive? Did you pave the roads? You'd rather have mud trails? Traffic lights, stop signs, etc? You'd rather have chaos and collisions? Ambulance? How about electricity? You'd rather have corporate monopoly supply your electricity? How much do you think they'd charge without govt. regulation? Ever study the Great Depression? Any concept of what food would cost if govt. didn't partially control food prices and production? No system is perfect, but you'd do yourself a great service if you'd shut your mouth and fingers, open your eyes and ears, and actually think a bit rather than react and spew verbal vomit.

        It's the same low-intelligence argument everywhere.

        *derp*You don't use roads?!?!? What about schools?!?!?!

        As if the only way of driving on a road is by having the government *force* you to pay for it through fuel taxes, then squander the taxes through mismanagement, government retirement programs, and hiring the contractors that donate the most money to their campaigns.

        It's not like someone other than government could build a road and charge for it. You know...voluntarily. Not by threatening to lock people in cages like dogs.

        And no, I don't use public schools. Lots of people don't. There are childless people. There are people that home-school. And what does public school get you anyways? Morons who can't think for themselves. Education targeting the lowest common denominator. Most of my extended family are school teachers. They can tell you stories of stupid kids and dumb parents that cost the taxpayers insane amounts of money and teacher time....because dumb people think everyone is entitled to a taxpayer-funded education.

        As for electricity, it's already run by a corporate monopoly. I'm not in Texas where the grid is owned by the government and every utility connects to it to provide service to customers that choose them. In my area, you either build your old solar system (not enough sunlight) or you pay the one monopoly provider for service.

        I worked for an ambulance service. Every year they'd whine and bitch about money. Not because they needed it, but because (and I quote) "If we don't ask for more, we'll never get it, and if we don't get it, we can't spend it".

        The average income for a family in my area was about $36,000. But if you worked for the government monopoly ambulance service, you earned around $70,000/year plus benefits, plus retirement, plus working two 24-hour shifts per week, plus tons of vacation. It was great. Nearly $3,000,000 per year to pay for 8 dudes to live a lavish lifestyle, play with all sorts of fancy gear, new uniforms every few months, "admin" vehicles we didn't need so admins could sleep at home every night while having flashing lights in case they *decided* they wanted to go "supervise" a call. Oh, and let's not forget the best part of the retirement plan....when you decide you've had enough of driving real fast, being in the local parade, free drinks for heroes at the local bar, etc....you just "torque your back" on some call, go on leave, and find a doctor to say you are disabled. Then you get slightly-reduced pay and government disability for life.

        Most of the EMTs/Paramedics I knew worked two days every week and then had a "side business".

        One guy started a tow company. He didn't follow regulations because he was friends with all the cops through the ambulance service. They would give him the "easy" tows, and he would bill the county/vehicle owner extortionate amounts.

        Another guy was kinda creepy. Whenever we would run calls on old people who would die, he would swoop in a few days later and low-ball the family with cash to help with expenses...for their departed loved one's home. He would flip it using low-paid illegal immigrant labor and sell it for twice was it was worth.

        A third guy would buy bulk medical supplies from the cheapest vendor he could find, store it in his shed, and then sell it to the ambulance service at a healthy mark-up. I don't know why they went with him. His prices weren't the cheapest. He made thousands per month off the shady deal.

        Another guy stole morphine for years and re-sold it before he was finally "caught". Slap on the wrist because he was a "hero" who just had a problem. Back to work 3 months later.

        Another guy would drink and drive regularly. Fortunately never while on duty. One night he plowed into a house. Thankfully no one was injured, but the first-arriving deputy was his friend, and he was told to "run" so they couldn't sobriety-test him. His brand-new model-year pick-up truck that cost ~$50,000 was totaled and covered completely by insurance. The deputy said a "tire blew" and he lost control on wet roads. He joked (semi-privately) that he was drunk as a skunk when it happened.

        Fuck government. It forces you to pay for lowlifes and losers. And if you don't, you'll be caged like a dog or shot.

        Mafia.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Opportunist on Thursday March 16 2023, @07:17PM (1 child)

      by Opportunist (5545) on Thursday March 16 2023, @07:17PM (#1296540)

      C'mon, if you want to be racist, at least go all the way and call the farmers the white master race and the bandits who want to steal their produce some N-word.

      It's not like you're fooling anyone.

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday March 16 2023, @09:32PM

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 16 2023, @09:32PM (#1296564) Journal

        In historic times agricultural societies were often invaded by less settled groups. But the less settled groups were also often exported from their home agricultural society. (Not always, read about the Medes and the Persians.)
        The Hittite conquest of Egypt was carried out between two largely agricultural societies, but the Hittites were less settled and more militaristic. They also had better knowledge of iron working and horse handling. Or consider the invasion of Greece by the Danos (as in "timeo danaos et dona ferentes". Previously Greece had been held bye the Pelops (hence Peloponnesia) (i.e. the Mycenae). This WAS an unsettled tribe advancing to conquer an agricultural civilization.

        Well, OK. The problem is that we don't know that patterns during historic eras match those from earlier times. But agricultural lifestyles tend to support higher populations than hunter-gatherer or pastoral lifestyles. (I'm avoiding the word "civilization" here, as that means the art of living in cities.) But there is inherent conflict, because farms like to use the best hunting grounds.

        Were I to guess, I'd guess that the farmers kept moving onto the best hunting ground, until in desperation the hunters staged a "big hunt" against the farmers. Look into the interactions between the hunter-gathers or the pastorialists in recent time with the farmers moving onto their turf. Now imagine the weaponry on both sides was about equal, but the hunters were more proficient in the use.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by choose another one on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:02PM (11 children)

    by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:02PM (#1296517)

    This should be no surprise to anyone, the notion that ancient humans were somehow less violent than later civilisations just makes no sense, the only _possible_ argument for this is that there were less of them spread out more so contact would be less frequent.

    Farmers vs hunter-gatherers / settlers vs nomadic has been a trigger of violence throughout recorded history, it should be no surprise to find it plays out in pre-recoded times just the same.

    Ain't no gathering easier than carfeully cultivated crops, no hunting easier than penned in domesticated animals - ask the fox in the chicken coop.
    Ain't nothing more antagonising than having your hard work and, indeed (in mesolithic times), your very food supply for survival, usurped by another - ask the chicken owner about the fox.

    "the rise of growing crops and herding animals as a way of life, replacing hunting and gathering, may have laid the foundations for formalised warfare."

    No shit sherlock.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DeathMonkey on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:22PM (7 children)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:22PM (#1296527) Journal

      Less violent compared to when?

      It seems like the previous hunter gatherers were relatively peaceful compared to these early farmers so it got more violent as time progressed during that period.

      It makes sense, though, in that a centralized food store like a farm would have a better cost/benefit ratio for a violent attack.

      • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Thursday March 16 2023, @07:22PM (4 children)

        by Opportunist (5545) on Thursday March 16 2023, @07:22PM (#1296542)

        The main reason early hunter-gatherer societies were fairly "peaceful" is that there was simply not many human packs and a vast, vast amount of land. In prehistoric times, maybe 100,000 humans roamed the earth. That's plenty of space for a very, very small amount of humans. The chance to even encounter another tribe was fairly small and the resources were not scarce enough to warrant the risk of losing members.

        Only when the amount of humans increased, the reason to fight over resources started to become an issue.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Reziac on Friday March 17 2023, @03:10AM (3 children)

          by Reziac (2489) on Friday March 17 2023, @03:10AM (#1296618) Homepage

          Also, I recall reading an anthropology paper contending that in all current societies that lead a neolithic or hunter/gatherer lifestyle and are "untouched by modern life", interpersonal violence is the leading cause of death. (Something like 40% of males dying by violence, don't recall the % for females.) There was one tribe cited where ALL males died by interpersonal violence.

          --
          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by r1348 on Friday March 17 2023, @09:10AM (2 children)

            by r1348 (5988) on Friday March 17 2023, @09:10AM (#1296655)

            Something similar is described in "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond, where he described how encounters between hunter-gatherer bands in Papua New Guinea worked: they started very long conversations about their ancestors to see if they had some in common, otherwise the default reaction would be homicide.

            • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday March 17 2023, @05:33PM (1 child)

              by Reziac (2489) on Friday March 17 2023, @05:33PM (#1296717) Homepage

              And that's approximately how it works in other pack-oriented predators. Do you smell like us? Okay, friends. If not? Death to the foreigners. Evolved behavior to favor your broader kin group in the competition for resources.

              [Spotted hyenas have multiple levels of kinship, much like humans.]

              --
              And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @02:28AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @02:28AM (#1297099)
                Plenty of territorial birds and fish too. No coming to my territory, I kill you! Unless you're a female that I like...
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday March 16 2023, @09:35PM

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 16 2023, @09:35PM (#1296565) Journal

        OK, but remember that "less" is a relative term. Violent death due to weapons was a frequent cause of the deaths that archeologists find.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 16 2023, @10:02PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 16 2023, @10:02PM (#1296572)

        If anything, it seems that the bigger stick we carry, the less we actually use it.

        WW I and II were horrific, but killed a relatively small percentage of our populations as compared to an invading horde who burst through town hurling rocks, spears, and possibly exotic diseases.

        The Cold War was (is?) absolutely existentially terrifying, but compare the number of humans who have died by nuclear detonation in anger vs those shot by machine guns...

        Lately we seem to need to fight "restrained" wars with smaller arms, just so people will put up with the violence.

        So, it absolutely makes sense that early agricultural societies, lacking even metalworking for swords and ploughshares, would have gone around pummeling each other with fists, rocks, and pointy sticks much more often than we hurl H bombs at each other.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @02:20AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @02:20AM (#1296607)
      My theory is distance running in humans evolved more from the needs of war than from the need to chase down animals. Only incompetent hunters or kids trying to "prove themselves" would be running for hours chasing animals. Distance walking and tracking animals, on the other hand makes sense for hunting.

      Long distance running evolving makes more sense when the predator and prey are the same species. After a certain minimum speed there's not much evolutionary pressure to get faster when both predator and prey are the same species.

      Whereas being able to run till the sun sets and/or you can hide makes a difference. Same for being able to run far away BEFORE the "predators" come to kill/enslave everyone.
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday March 17 2023, @03:13AM (1 child)

        by Reziac (2489) on Friday March 17 2023, @03:13AM (#1296619) Homepage

        Probably not. Needing to run down prey happens a lot more often, because you don't get attacked every day, but you need to eat every day.

        And the speedy males might outrun an attacking tribe, but the females (who for the age-of-interest would mostly be pregnant) mostly cannot, and then your speedy males are replaced in the gene pool by those who ran slower, but fast enough to catch 'em a woman.

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @06:03AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @06:03AM (#1296644)

          Needing to run down prey happens a lot more often

          False. Most human hunter gatherer tribes don't run down prey. They use their brains to get their prey in other more efficient and safer ways.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:03PM (4 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:03PM (#1296518)

    So the researchers successfully determined that human beings have always been extremely crappy to each other, and agriculture made it possible for early humans to be more efficient at being a shite species.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by RedGreen on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:49PM (3 children)

      by RedGreen (888) on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:49PM (#1296530)

      "So the researchers successfully determined that human beings have always been extremely crappy to each other, and agriculture made it possible for early humans to be more efficient at being a shite species."

      Yes a double win for efficiency for both the good and the bad of humanity. Now perhaps they can reexamine the "noble savage" garbage theory I was taught in school about the original inhabitants of North America. We certainly did not teach them all those torture techniques they used against people they were out to kill, they already had knowledge on their own from the same violence they had among themselves. People are the same over the entire world no matter their race, they were killing each other forever when it suited their purposes.

      --
      "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday March 16 2023, @09:38PM (2 children)

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 16 2023, @09:38PM (#1296567) Journal

        OK, but remember that scalping was introduced by the french fur traders during the "French and Indian wars". And there's a long history of quite refined torture in European civilization. Not just extreme events like the Inquisition, but also as a regular part of "police practice".

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RedGreen on Friday March 17 2023, @01:53AM (1 child)

          by RedGreen (888) on Friday March 17 2023, @01:53AM (#1296602)

          "And there's a long history of quite refined torture in European civilization."

          Yet another one in the blame the white Europeans for all the problems in the world bull shit I see too often. I clearly stated everyone does it and has done it from the dawn of time. Once we stop the blame game to justify the non-white peoples behaviour perhaps we can try to work together to solve the problems of the world. Though knowing what scummy bastards too many of the people in this world are, I am not holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

          --
          "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
          • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday March 17 2023, @01:46PM

            by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 17 2023, @01:46PM (#1296679) Journal

            No, I'm just saying that the Amerinds weren't exceptional (except perhaps the Aztecs), I you want I could also mention the Chinese, and the Africans had a few techniques of their own. I don't know anything particular about the groups in South America or Australia or... well, lots of places. But the Amerinds were not more given to torture than other folks were. (OTOH, "Noble Savage" is a foolish idea. They're typically better in some ways and worse in others.)

            --
            Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bradley13 on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:04PM (4 children)

    by bradley13 (3053) on Thursday March 16 2023, @05:04PM (#1296519) Homepage Journal

    It is inherently easier to destroy than to create. It is easier to take from another than to produce something yourself.

    Today, we have governments, laws and police forces to keep these problems in check. Before? A small, agricultural community must have been a tempting target for raiders, or for communities whose crops had failed.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @06:26PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @06:26PM (#1296533)

      Today, we have governments, laws and police forces to keep these problems in check.

      Unfortunately we are letting the thugs run the government/police. Majority rule is deteriorating into mob rule

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @11:26PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @11:26PM (#1296581)

        Flamebait

        Of course the collaborators in denial would mod me down, "The Sorrow and The Pity" is a documentary, after all. Maybe it should be required viewing

        Humans are savages, it takes an iron fist to keep the peace

    • (Score: 0, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @07:48PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @07:48PM (#1296545)

      It is easier to take from another

      And

      Today, we have governments

      The purpose of (modern) government is to take from another.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @02:28AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @02:28AM (#1296609)

      Today, we have governments, laws and police forces to keep these problems in check

      Today you have governments taking your money to spend part of it to destroy stuff and kill people thousands of miles a way and and spending another part of it to convince you that it's to defend you.

      And police who are so cowardly, unfit and lazy that they regularly murder people- "Got to shoot that guy in the back because I might get a heart attack running after him - he's putting my life at risk!"

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @09:25PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @09:25PM (#1296561)

    I am sure they were anglosemites.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @09:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16 2023, @09:47PM (#1296569)
    Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called War; and such a war as is of every man against every man... In such condition there is no place for Industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continual Fear, and danger of violent death; And the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @10:57AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @10:57AM (#1296659)

    Australian aboriginals have been doing this to each other for centuries, yet when others come along suddenly everything is changed and different. Respect our culture, they say. Most people have no idea what their culture is or what goes on.

    A friend of mine has two broken bones courtesy of her husband. By dream time tribal law what he did was acceptable. The problem is that they live in a large city where such things are not allowed. This is where culture clashes.

    Right now in Alice Springs there is a lot of violence and destruction. The truth is that the violence has been here all along. So much so it is ingrained in the culture. It is accepted, even today, that the way to educate people is through violence. Usually a spear through a limb or breaking bones for serious offenses.

    There is nothing new under the sun.

  • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Friday March 17 2023, @11:01AM (1 child)

    by PiMuNu (3823) on Friday March 17 2023, @11:01AM (#1296660)

    Interestingly, the start of this period marks the end of the ice age, so probably a time of significant landscape change in terms of habitable environments. For example, sea levels changed drastically about 8000 years ago:

    Sea level:
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_FraUxsnCivU/TA0FMIX-kkI/AAAAAAAAAT4/-qGd1Ga0Xm4/s1600/Recent+sea-level+rise.jpg [blogspot.com]

    Land area:
    https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Zrc_URgDscc/VbqJlD0wBMI/AAAAAAAAJpU/ThMDzovVYSI/s1600/exposed-land-20000.jpg [blogspot.com]

    (someone can probably find a better reference)

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @02:30AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20 2023, @02:30AM (#1297100)
      Global warming is real! OMG our houses might be inundated in 4000 years!
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