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Violent Interactions in the Mesolithic

Evidence and meaning

Mirjana Roksandic


Why another book on violence in prehistory? Do we have enough evidence to draw meaningful conclusions on the importance and meaning of violent interactions among sedentary and semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers of Europe? What methodological and theoreticalquestions do we hope to answer with this volume? Many questions on the evidence and meaning of confirmed violent interactions remain unresolved even as more and more books appear on the topic. This volume was prompted by the editor’s research in the Iron Gates Gorge and the 8 papers presented here reflect a similar puzzlement felt by each of the particAants while examining the evidence of trauma and possible or probable interpersonal violence. As a framework for this volume, Mesolithic societies are defined as sedentary or semi-sedentary prehistoric hunter-gatherers with no temporal or geographical limitations usually associated with this term, allowing for comparisons between temporally and geographically remote regional groups. While the number of societies presented could have been much larger, the 8 articles in this volume present a number of different approaches, focuses and expertise. What seems to unite them is the call for minute examination of osteological evidence and broad understanding of contextual data.