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The massacre mass grave of Schöneck-Kilianstädten reveals new insights into collective violence in early Neolithic Central Europe

Meyer, Christian and Lohr, Christian and Gronenborn, Detlef and Alt, Kurt W.. (2015) The massacre mass grave of Schöneck-Kilianstädten reveals new insights into collective violence in early Neolithic Central Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112 (36). pp. 11217-11222.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/41896/

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Abstract

Conflict and warfare are central but also disputed themes in discussions about the European Neolithic. Although a few recent population studies provide broad overviews, only a very limited number of currently known key sites provide precise insights into moments of extreme and mass violence and their impact on Neolithic societies. The massacre sites of Talheim, Germany, and Asparn/Schletz, Austria, have long been the focal points around which hypotheses concerning a final lethal crisis of the first Central European farmers of the Early Neolithic Linearbandkeramik Culture (LBK) have concentrated. With the recently examined LBK mass grave site of Schöneck-Kilianstädten, Germany, we present new conclusive and indisputable evidence for another massacre, adding new data to the discussion of LBK violence patterns. At least 26 individuals were violently killed by blunt force and arrow injuries before being deposited in a commingled mass grave. Although the absence and possible abduction of younger females has been suggested for other sites previously, a new violence-related pattern was identified here: the intentional and systematic breaking of lower limbs. The abundance of the identified perimortem fractures clearly indicates torture and/or mutilation of the victims. The new evidence presented here for unequivocal lethal violence on a large scale is put into perspective for the Early Neolithic of Central Europe and, in conjunction with previous results, indicates that massacres of entire communities were not isolated occurrences but rather were frequent features of the last phases of the LBK.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Prähistorische und Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie (IPNA)
UniBasel Contributors:Alt, Kurt W.
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
e-ISSN:1091-6490
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
Last Modified:14 Oct 2016 14:55
Deposited On:20 Sep 2016 07:16

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