“‘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
Stretching across continents and centuries, The Origins Of War provides a fascinating examination of executions, torture, ritual sacrifices, and other acts of violence committed in the prehistoric world. Until recently what little has been written on prehistoric violence and warfare focused on the symbolic interpretations of archaeological 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 archaeology.