The Origins of War
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The Origins of War : Violence in Prehistory

By (author) Jean Guilaine , By (author) Jean Zammit

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Stretching across continents and centuries, "The Origins of War: Violence in Prehistory" provides a fascinating examination of executions, torture, ritual sacrifices, and other acts of violence committed in the prehistoric world. It is written as an accessible guide to the nature of life in prehistory and to the underpinnings of human violence. It combines symbolic interpretations of archaeological remains with a medical understanding of violent acts. It is written by an eminent prehistorian and a respected medical doctor.

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  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 152 x 226 x 18mm | 439.99g
  • 04 Jan 2005
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  • Oxford
  • English
  • 61
  • 1405112603
  • 9781405112604
  • 1,237,709

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Author Information

Jean Guilaine is Professor of Archeology at the College de France and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. He is the author of numerous books, including Prehistory: The World of Early Man (US translation 1986). Jean Zammit is a doctor and paleopathologist at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Melanie Hersey is a translator specialising in the social sciences. She has studied German, French, and anthropology and received an MA in translation from Durham University.

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Review quote

"'Nasty, brutish, and short' was how Hobbes characterized human life in a state of nature, but for the last thirty years prehistorians have largely contrived to forget the nasty side. This lively and authoritative volume goes a long way to redressing the balance, giving a superb overview of the more aggressive side of life in early Europe." Andrew Sherratt, University of Oxford "There are few more intriguing yet disturbing subjects than the origins of human violence. This richly detailed account provides dramatic insights into a distant and often violent world, but one that is only too familiar in its contemporary relevance. Essential reading for all who are interested in the human past." Chris Scarre, University of Cambridge "An intriguing and convincing account of violence and conflict in deep antiquity ... The authors have successfully produced a stimulating and thought provoking text." Archaeology Ireland

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Back cover copy

Stretching across continents and centuries, "The Origins of War: Violence in Prehistory" provides a fascinating examination of executions, torture, ritual sacrifices, and other acts of violence committed in the prehistoric world. Until recently what little had been written on prehistoric violence and warfare focused on the symbolic interpretations of archeological remains. This engrossing book demonstrates that violence has always been far more than just symbolic by combining such interpretations into prehistory with a medical understanding of these violent acts. The authors, one an eminent prehistorian and the other a respected medical doctor, are the ideal guides through such evidence and enable the reader to understand this violence at a human level, without a sophisticated understanding of history or archeology.

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