Primitive War Revisited

Scott Holmes (sholmes@NETCOM.COM)
Mon, 9 Jan 1995 17:10:04 -0800

on possible instances of pre-agricultural warfare. This article is
reportedly gleaned from an article by Paul Tacon (of the Australian
Museum in Sydney) and Christopher Chippendale (at the University of
Cambridge, England) published in Cambridge Archaeological Journal
(October, 1994). SN reports an analysis of cave painting from three
periods of time (10,000 to 6,000 ya; 6,000 to 3,000 ya; and 3,000 to
present). Apparently the last period has the greatest frequency of
battle depiction, but the article suggests motivation only for the
second phase. "...coinciding with a rise is world sea levels around
6,000 years ago... ...forced inhabitants of those regions to move inland,
where others already lived...".

This would seem to support the argument, presented several times on this
list, that access to limited resources is a prime motivating factor for
warfare. My question here is, given that the interpretation of the
rock art is correct, does it depict warfare or only isolated battles?
Can these instances be interpreted as indicating a scale and frequency
such that we can accept this as warfare? I have recently been
contemplating the idea that for hostility to be considered warfare, there
must be multiple instances of military engagement between the combatants,
otherwise it is only a battle or skirmish. Is there a possibility of
recognizing multiple instances of violence between identifiable groups
in this art?

----------- There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, ----------------
Scott Holmes <> Informix 4GL Applications
---------------- Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ------------------------