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Interpersonal violence among the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages inhabitants living on the Central Plateau of Iran: A voice from Tepe Hissar

Afshar, Z.; Roberts, C.; Millard, A.

Interpersonal violence among the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages inhabitants living on the Central Plateau of Iran: A voice from Tepe Hissar Thumbnail


Authors

Z. Afshar



Abstract

The site of Tepe Hissar (Iran) experienced widespread cultural and economic changes during the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages (5th to the 2nd millennium B.C.). The discovery of evidence of burning, including charred human remains, the destruction of buildings (Periods II and III), and the presence of several mass-burials with comingling of human skeletal remains consisting of ten or more individuals (Period III), suggests interpersonal violence during these periods. The original excavator of Tepe Hissar, Erich Schmidt, suggested that phenomena such as war, massacres, epidemics, or similar catastrophes, may have been responsible for the excavated archaeological evidence. This study tests the hypothesis that interpersonal violence was responsible for this evidence. Patterns of violence related head injury are explored among 129 adult men and women from the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages. Sixty of the 129 (46.5%) crania examined presented with cranial trauma, with 25 (19.3%) having evidence of perimortem injury, and four (3.1%) and 31 (24%) individuals with signs of healing and healed head/facial trauma, respectively. Most of the injuries were located on the frontal or parietal bones of the cranium. Such findings may be interpreted as a result of the population experiencing a rise in social complexity and population increase that accompanied violence related to intra- or inter-group competition, often leading to lethal outcomes. These data support the hypothesis that the cultural and economic transitions and population changes that occurred at Tepe Hissar, and particularly in the Hissar II and III periods, were accompanied by tension and interpersonal violence.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 1, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 10, 2018
Publication Date Feb 1, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 15, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 15, 2017
Journal Anthropologischer Anzeiger
Print ISSN 0003-5548
Electronic ISSN 2363-7099
Publisher Schweizerbart Science Publishers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 75
Issue 1
Pages 49-66
DOI https://doi.org/10.1127/anthranz/2018/0723
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1369625

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