Early Neolithic executions indicated by clustered cranial trauma in the mass grave of Halberstadt

Meyer, Christian and Knipper, Corina and Nicklisch, Nicole and Münster, Angelina and Kürbis, Olaf and Dresely, Veit and Meller, Harald and Alt, Kurt W.. (2018) Early Neolithic executions indicated by clustered cranial trauma in the mass grave of Halberstadt. Nature Communications, 9 (1). p. 2472.

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The later phase of the Central European Early Neolithic witnessed a rise in collective lethal violence to a level undocumented up to this date. This is evidenced by repeated massacres of settled communities of the Linearbandkeramik (ca. 5600-4900 cal bc), the first full farming culture in this area. Skeletal remains of several dozen victims of this prehistoric warfare are known from different sites in Germany and Austria. Here we show that the mass grave of Halberstadt, Germany, a new mass fatality site from the same period, reveals further and so far unknown facets of Early Neolithic collective lethal violence. A highly selected, almost exclusively adult male and non-local population sample was killed by targeted blows to the back of the head, indicating a practice of systematic execution under largely controlled conditions followed by careless disposal of the bodies. This discovery significantly increases current knowledge about warfare-related violent behaviour in Early Neolithic Central Europe.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Integrative Prähistorische und Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie (IPNA Schünemann)
UniBasel Contributors:Alt, Kurt W. and Nicklisch, Nicole
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Nature Research
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:18 Jan 2019 16:34
Deposited On:18 Jan 2019 16:34

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