Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Neolithic men raided other tribes for women and pigs

Christmas (or whatever cavemen had) for a Neolithic tribesman

A recent re-examination of a 7,000 year old mass grave in Talheim, German, has demonstrated that Neolithic men would raid other settlements for women. Tests proved that this post-raid gravesite showed that whilst all the men and children originated from the one tribe the (few) women came from different ones. Most of the victims had been executed or shot in the back with arrows (presumably whilst fleeing). The fact that there were no women of the tribe in the grave indicates that the women of the tribe had been kidnapped, it is assumed. The women who were in the group could conceivably have been raiders killed in the fighting, researchers postulate. Equally, I would have thought, if women-raiding was prevalent then they could have been women who did belong to that tribe but had originated elsewhere as a result of their own raiding. Or maybe they were just the really ugly ones who weren't worth stealing.

The Talheim gravesite

Dr Alex Bentley of Durham University, who led the team, said: "there is a theory that the most violent feuds in developing communities are motivated by women and pigs and this would slot into that theory." Quite. It was tough being a stone-age cavegirl (or a pig) but at least women's worth was high.

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