The Crime-Ridden Stone Age, When It Was Hardly Safe to Leave Your Cave

Daily Mail (London), May 11, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Crime-Ridden Stone Age, When It Was Hardly Safe to Leave Your Cave


Byline: JULIE WHELDON

AS far as the history books go, it is the period before crime began.

But Neolithic man was already up to no good 6,000 years ago, scientists have found.

Life was so violent in those ancient days that the average caveman had a one-in-14 chance of being walloped on the head.

One in 50 cave dwellers could expect to be fatally wounded in an attack.

This puts current levels of violent crime well and truly in the shade.

Although New Stone Age Britain would hardly have been a rural idyll, experts said the level of violence was much worse than first thought.

Researcher Rick Schulting of Queen's University in Belfast said the discovery of Neolithic or New Stone Age skulls showing signs of head trauma was nothing new.

However this study is the first to show the alarming frequency of such attacks.

'It is certainly more violent than we'd considered,' he said.

According to New Scientist magazine, most of the injuries appear to have come from fighting or being struck by a blunt instrument.

But in other cases skulls seem to have been hacked at by stone axes. In some there is evidence that the ears have been cut off.

The research was carried out by archaeology lecturer Dr Schulting along with Mick Wysocki at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. …

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