Blood Feuds and Battlefields: The Archaeology of Warfare and Conflict


In this course we will explore the origins, causes and consequences of warfare in human societies. Our overall aim will be to gain a broad understanding of the range of variation in which warfare and human societies have influenced one another. The bulk of human history falls outside the scope of written records making archaeology a critical means of understanding our past. Through an examination of diverse case studies students will gain an understanding of the various forms of violence and warfare carried out among and between human populations-from small-scale "blood feuds" among foraging and early agricultural societies to the large-scale warfare and territorial expansion undertaken by states and empires. Particular attention will be paid to the role of warfare in social and cultural change. We will also explore common themes in the archaeology of warfare including sacrifice and ritual violence, gender, and the depiction and commemoration of warfare in art, iconography and monumental architecture. Finally, we will consider how perceptions of past conflicts affect us in the present-day by examining the role that they continue to play in the present. Throughout the course we will remain respectful and mindful of our ethical responsibilities to descendant communities and the contemporary context for studying violence in the human past.
Course Attributes: EN S; BU BA; AS SSC; FA SSC

Section 01

Blood Feuds and Battlefields: The Archaeology of Warfare and Conflict - 01
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