Inter-group violence among early Holocene hunter-gatherers of West Turkana, Kenya

Lahr, M.M., Rivera, F., Power, R.K., Foley, R.A., Mounier, A., Copsey, B., Crivellaro, F., Edung, J.E., Fernandez, J.M., Kiarie, C., Lawrence, J., Leakey, A., Mbua, E., Miller, Holly, Muigai, A., Mukhongo, D., Van Baelen, A., Wood, R., Schwenninger, J-L., Grun, R., Achyuthan, H. and Wilshaw, A. (2016) Inter-group violence among early Holocene hunter-gatherers of West Turkana, Kenya. Nature, 529 . pp. 391-410. ISSN 1476-4687

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The nature of inter-group relations among prehistoric hunter-gatherers remains disputed, with arguments in favour and against the existence of warfare before the development of sedentary societies. Here we report on a case of inter-group violence towards a group of hunter-gatherers from Nataruk, west of Lake Turkana, which during the late Pleistocene/early Holocene period extended about 30 km beyond its present-day shore. Ten of the twelve articulated skeletons found at Nataruk show evidence of having died violently at the edge of a lagoon, into which some of the bodies fell. The remains from Nataruk are unique, preserved by the particular conditions of the lagoon with no evidence of deliberate burial. They offer a rare glimpse into the life and death of past foraging people, and evidence that warfare was part of the repertoire of inter-group relations among prehistoric hunter-gatherers.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities > Department of Archaeology
Identification Number: doi::10.1038/nature16477
Depositing User: Miller, Holly
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2018 10:28
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 17:30

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