DR. LINDA FIBIGER, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2010 to aid research and writing of 'Confronting Violence: Skeletal Evidence for Interpersonal Violence In Neolithic Europe (5500-2000 BC).' The Hunt Fellowship made possible the completion of four articles on patterns of violence in the small-scale societies of Neolithic Europe, exploring regional as well gender and age-related patterns of violent interaction. Skeletal trauma, especially head trauma, presents the only direct evidence for the occurrence of violence in the past. The population-based study of head trauma in over 1000 individuals from Germany, Denmark, and Sweden reveals endemic, yet not uniform levels of violence across the study area and identifies physical violence as a commonplace rather than an exceptional mode of interaction. Injury types and frequencies best fit a context of small-scale violent events, such as minor battles, surprise raids or feuds, which seemed to be most frequent in southern Scandinavia, especially Denmark. Adult males are significantly more affected, though women and children show an equal risk of sustaining fatal head injuries. While injury patterns confirm adult men as the main instigators of violent interaction it was women and children who most frequently suffered its fatal consequences. Indications of active involvement of the latter two in violent confrontations challenges perceived notions of gendered identities and divisions of labour as well as concepts of childhood in the small scale societies of the central and northern European Neolithic.
Fibiger, Linda, Torbjörn Ahlström, Pia Bennike, and Rick J. Schulting. 2013. Patterns of Violence-Related Skull Trauma in Neolithic Southern Scandinavia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 150(2):190-202.