Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Family Ties

The sweet side of life in the Stone Age:
One particularly well-preserved grave holds what researchers say is the first known nuclear family, with an adult male and female cradling the bodies of their two sons.
The far from sweet side:
Says study coauthor Alistair Pike: "They were definitely murdered, there are big holes in their heads, fingers and wrists are broken." At least five of the individuals show the effects of a violent attack, one even had the tip of a stone weapon embedded in a vertebra. . . . Study coauthor Wolfgang Haak says that the presence of older adults and young children in the graves may indicate that only part of the community was killed in the attack, which may have been provoked by competition for fertile farmland.
I know resources are, even now, a widespread reason for human conflict. But I always wonder if we're not under-imagining the chaos and brutality of prehistoric life, so that articles like this one should read, "...which may have been provoked by competition for fertile farmland. Or by the fact that one group thought the other 'smelled wrong.'"


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