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date: 16 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Warfare may be understood as violent social encounter with the Other, and has in this sense occurred from the first hominid societies until today. Ample evidence of war-related violence exists across time and space: skeletal traumata, material culture, weapons, war-related ritual finds, fighting technologies, fortifications, and martial iconographies. The archaeology of war is a late ‘discovery’ of the mid 1990s, but advances have recently been made in understanding the scale and roles of warfare in pre- and protohistory and how warfare and warriorhood relate to society, culture, evolution and human biology. This chapter ventures into this discursive field from a theoretical and archaeological point of view while reflecting upon the effectiveness and role of war as a prime mover in history. It is argued that war was often present but never truly endemic, and that war essentially is a matter of culture.

Keywords: warfare, warriors, warriorhood, weaponry, social change

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