Tuesday, September 18, 2007

GODDESS Spells N-O * W-A-R

The plain fact is we’ve dug up no evidence that the Neolithic and Bronze-Age guiding-goddess societies did war. As archaeologist Jonathan Haas puts it “’endemic warfare was much more the exception than the rule until the first appearance of state-level societies between 4000 and 2000 B.C.E. in the centers of world “civilization.”’”

Anthroplogist Billy Haviland chimes right in behind Jonny: in his survey of human prehistory Billy mentions war only when he talks about the first state-level societies.

And in her “The Natural History of Peace” Leslie Sponsel follows suit: “nonviolence and peace were likely the norm throughout most of human prehistory.”
Thnx to James Wainwright for the foto


Anonymous said...

I thought the Kurgan hypothesis described a warlike invasion at the end of the neolithic. The beaker people of the early bronze age and tail end of the neolithic fit this pattern, for instance replacing communal long barrows with individual warrior graves. The beaker people also had swords, unlike the neolithic people they replaced.


Athana said...
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Athana said...

Pignut, you're right. At the end of the European Neolithic war-goddites moved into Europe and seemed to swamp out most of the peaceful Goddess peoples. The Goddess figurines in Southeast Europe are replaced by battle axes and individual warrior graves. Some of the Goddess peoples however continued on into the Bronze Age -- for example the Minoans on Crete. But many of the non-Goddess peoples on the European mainland began to do war in the Bronze Age.

There's a similar (but not identical) pattern that takes place in the Near East, India and Japan. And probably China too, but I haven't checked out China as well as I have these other areas (the data for China's just not there the way it is for other parts of the world).

Mike said...

The argument seems to be that there was no warfare until people had the ability to make war.

Athana said...

Mike, what? Are you saying what I think you're saying -- that any group that discovered how to make battle axes would suddenly dance around making war all over the place?

Anonymous said...

Anyone with spears, bows, slings, clubs, axes etc used for hunting could also use these for warfare. The fact that they didn't is significant.

Don't know much about China, but in Korea, as far as I can tell the early archaeology is just a lot of very nice pottery - no fortresses, weapons, chariots, despots buried in grand mausoluems etc. so I guess that's a good sign.

Athana said...

Good point Pignut. As soon as humans picked up rocks and began using them as tools they had human-on-human "weapons." But if they failed to perceive those rocks as human-on-human weapons, then can we really call them weapons? And of course they wouldn't have been used as such.