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The origin of war: New (14)C dates from ancient Mexico

By Kent V. Flannery and Joyce Marcus


New (14)C dates from archaeological sites in Oaxaca, Mexico, support R. C. Kelly's observation that intervillage raiding may begin as soon as a region has segmentary societies. The oldest defensive palisade dates to 3260–3160 B.P. in conventional radiocarbon years, only a few centuries after village life was established. Over the next millennium raiding evolved into war, with residences and temples burned, captives killed, and populations moving to defensible hills. (14)C dates are now available for the first use of hieroglyphic writing to record a captive's name, military victories leading to the consolidation of the Zapotec state, the first skull rack, and the building of a fortress in conquered territory

Topics: Social Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1073/pnas.1934526100
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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