Wysocki, Michael Peter and Schulting, R J
"In this chambered tumulus were found cleft skulls ...": an assessment of the evidence for cranial trauma in the British Neolithic.
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 71
Interpersonal violence is a powerful expression of human social interaction. Yet a consideration of violence in the past has done relatively little to inform our discussions of the British Neolithic. Here, we present the results of an examination of some 350 earlier Neolithic crania from mainly southern Britain. Of these, 31 show healed or unhealed injuries suggestive of interpersonal violence. We suggest a conservative estimate of 2% fatal cranial injuries, and 4 or 5% healed injuries. These data are used as a platform to discuss possible contexts for, and consequences of, violence. We argue that, regardless of its actual prevalance, the reality or the threat of interpersonal violence can have an important affect on both the behaviour of individuals and the structure of society.