• What makes war? Assessing Iron Age warfare through mortuary behaviour and osteological patterns of violence.

      Armit, Ian; Buckberry, Jo; King, Sarah S. (University of BradfordSchool of Life Sciences, Division of Archaeological, Geographical and Environmental Sciences, 2012-04-19)
      There is an ongoing debate concerning the nature of warfare and violence in the Iron Age of Britain. Interpretations regarding material remains from this period fluctuate between classifying instruments of violence (i.e. swords, spears, hillforts) as functional tools of war and as ritual symbolic devices. Human skeletal remains provide the most unequivocal evidence for violent encounters, but were often missing from these debates in the past. This thesis addresses this lack of treatment by analyzing the patterns of traumatic injuries at sites from two distinct regions in Iron Age Britain (East Yorkshire and Hampshire). The human remains from these sites show clear markers of interpersonal violence. When the remains are placed in context with the mortuary treatment, it is evident that violence and ritual were inextricably linked. In East Yorkshire, combat may have been ritualized through duelling and competition performance. In Hampshire, individuals with perimortem injures are often found in special deposits such as pits, ditches and domestic areas, suggesting their use in ritual processes that distinguish them from the general population. This provides a basis for understanding warfare and violence during the Iron Age of Britain and how communities negotiated the social tensions caused by violent interactions.