Warfare and Society: Archaeological and Social Anthropological Perspectives

By Ton Otto; Henrik Thrane et al. | Go to book overview

22 Society and the Structure of Violence:
A Story Told by Middle Bronze Age
Human Remains from Central Norway

HILDE FYLLINGEN


Introduction

In the Early Nordic European Bronze Age, almost 4000 years ago, people began, more scrupulously than before, to make artefacts specifically designed for warfare. These artefacts were weapons forged in metal, shaped for use in close combat. Swords, daggers, axes and spears became important personal possessions and depositing them in burials and hoards reinforced their symbolic meaning. Despite this fact, archaeologists have traditionally believed the Bronze Age to be a peaceful and prosperous period in our prehistory. One may ask why large investments of energy were put into the weapons if these weapons were not used at all. Did the Bronze Age people live in harmony only driven by the desire to secure agricultural wealth and religious prestige?

As mentioned above, 150 years of research has presented us with the view that the Early and Middle Bronze Age (Montelius’ period II–III) was a time of prosperity and peace and weapons were made for symbolic use hence ignoring the potential of bronze weaponry in war. Or as Øystein K. Johansen put it in his latest work from 2000:

Researchers as a whole agree that the Bronze Age appears to
have been a quiet and calm period. We cannot detect any
major changes in people’s living conditions during the Bronze
Age. Neither violent events, nor migrations or anything simi-
lar can be detected in the material (Johansen 2000: 144, my
translation)

I do not claim that this is altogether wrong. However, my point is that the skeletal material tells us stories about a less peaceful and easy life. Kristian Kristiansen’s recent work supports such a more nuanced view. He argues that the inability to recognise warfare in prehistoric societies can be blamed on the academic traditions developed after World War II. Warfare in the past did not fit well with the idea of building a modern welfare society (post-war) and archaeologists were therefore more focused on rituals and religion (Kristiansen 1999b: 175). Additionally, his studies of wear patterns on swords should be taken as strong indications of violent encounters.

In connection with writing my thesis at the University of Bergen, I have analysed extensive Norwegian skeletal material dated to the Middle Bronze Age. The focus has been on an assemblage of skeletons with trauma at Sund, Inderøy in NordTrøndelag, comparing these with the results of an analysis of skeletons from burials, notably cairns, from the same geographical area – at Toldnes. The results of these examinations are presented in this

-319-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Warfare and Society: Archaeological and Social Anthropological Perspectives
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 557

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.