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Warfare and the Evolution of Culture

  • Jonathan Haas

Warfare is perhaps the ugliest and most repugnant of all human cultural adaptations. It has its roots in the demographic and economic changes of the Neolithic revolution, and its blighted branches continue to darken skies across the globe in the contemporary period. The conduct of war has had a profound impact on the trajectory of cultural systems in virtually every corner of the world. Today it has evolved to the point that it stands as the biggest single threat to the survival of humanity. The importance of warfare in human affairs has made it the focus of intense research in a wide range of disciplines from biology to history, psychology, and political science (e.g., Bremer and Cusack, 1995; Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1979; Wright, 1965). Each discipline adds a different dimension to our understanding of the causes and role of warfare in the past, present, and future of the human species. Archaeology makes specific contributions to the study of war in two ways. First, it provides insights into the origins and evolution of war extending thousands of years back into the prehistoric past. Second, archaeology provides a diachronic perspective on the causes and effects of war in many different kinds of societies over very long periods of time.

Keywords

Archaeological Record Skeletal Remains American Antiquity Projectile Point Archaic Period 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Haas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyThe Field MuseumChicagoUSA

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