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H 245 x W 174 mm

136 pages

37 figures, 10 tables

Published Mar 2022

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781803270524

Digital: 9781803270531

DOI 10.32028/9781803270524

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Neolithic; Bell Beaker; prehistoric warfare; archery; anthropology; entheseal changes; social stratification

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Practice and Prestige: An Exploration of Neolithic Warfare, Bell Beaker Archery, and Social Stratification from an Anthropological Perspective

By Jessica Ryan-Despraz

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Drawing on the author's recent study that assessed the bone morphology of skeletons in Bell Beaker burials for signs of specialised archery activity, this book contextualises the osteological findings and explores the evidence for warfare and archery throughout the Neolithic period in general and the Bell Beaker period in particular.



Introduction ;
Archaeological background ;
Neolithization ;
The Early and Middle Neolithic periods ;
The Pre-Bell Beaker Final Neolithic period ;
The Bell Beaker period ;

Part 1: Neolithic warfare ;
During the Neolithic period ;
Anthropological evidence ;
Fortifications ;
Imagery ;
Horses: domestication and riding ;
Weapons ;
Bows ;
Arrows ;
During the Bell Beaker period ;
Anthropological evidence ;
Fortifications ;
Imagery ;
Bow-shaped pendants ;
Weapons ;
Bows ;
Arrows ;
Wristguards ;
A glance at Bronze Age warfare ;

Part 2: Neolithic social organization ;
Specialization ;
The problem of child burials ;
Social hierarchy ;
Early indications and genetic evidence ;
Structures and metalworks ;
Examples from Bulgaria ;
A return to warfare ;

Part 3: The anthropological connection ;
The anthropological study ;
The Bell Beaker skeletal collection ;
Traumas ;
The suspected archers and their contexts ;
Results summary ;
Interpretations at the population level ;
Interpretations at the individual level ;
The anthropological results within an archaeological framework ;
Burial contexts ;
Bell Beaker society ;
A note on sex and sexism in archaeology ;
Closing remarks ;

Acknowledgements ;


About the Author

Jessica Ryan-Despraz is a postdoctoral assistant at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). She holds an MSc in prehistoric archaeology and anthropology and a PhD in prehistoric archaeology. She specialises in biological anthropology, with a focus on human biomechanics and its influences on skeletal morphology. Her research has led to extensive work on Bell Beaker skeletons in order to address questions surrounding prehistoric archery and warfare.