Cannibalism in the Neolithic

  title={Cannibalism in the Neolithic},
  author={Paola Villa and Claude Bouville and J P Courtin and Daniel Helmer and Eric Mahieu and Paul A. Shipman and Giorgio Belluomini and Maril{\`i} Branca},
  pages={431 - 437}
Cannibalism is a provocative interpretation put forth repeatedly for practices at various prehistoric sites, yet it has been so poorly supported by objective evidence that later, more critical reviews almost invariably reject the proposal. The basic data essential to a rigorous assessment of a cannibalism hypothesis include precise contextual information, analysis of postcranial and cranial remains of humans and animals, and detailed bone modification studies. Such data are available from the… 

Topics from this paper

Cannibalism in prehistoric Europe
The key argument for the identification of prehistoric cannibalism is provided by analysis of close similarities in the treatment of human and animal remains. Such analysis requires precise data on
Villa et al. (1986:431) proposed that human skeletal material, recovered from the Neolithic levels of Fontbregoua Cave in southeastern France, exhibited particular attributes which indicated the
Neanderthal cannibalism at Moula-Guercy, Ardèche, France.
The inference of Neanderthal cannibalism at Moula-Guercy is based on comparative analysis of hominid and ungulate bone spatial distributions, modifications by stone tools, and skeletal part representations.
Archaeological Evidence for Cannibalism in Prehistoric Western Europe: from Homo antecessor to the Bronze Age
Archaeological studies of human cannibalism and its causes have never lacked controversy. The reasons for this are both the difficulties in identifying cannibalism and the inherent complexity, by the
Evidence of Early Cannibalism
The oldest human remains and tools that have been discovered in southem Europe (from 780,000 years ago) were described in two recent reports: "Lower Pleistocene hominids and artifacts from
Evidence for bronze age cannibalism in El Mirador Cave (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain).
During excavations of the Bronze Age levels at El Mirador Cave, a hole containing human remains was found. Taphonomic analysis revealed the existence of cutmarks, human toothmarks, cooking damage,
Kana Tamata or Feasts of Men: An Interdisciplinary Approach for Identifying Cannibalism in Prehistoric Fiji
It is concluded that mortuary rituals evidenced by sharp-force trauma may suggest non-nutritive and non-violent practices that may have included the consumption of small amounts of human flesh.
Cannibalism in Britain: Taphonomy of the Creswellian (Pleistocene) faunal and human remains from Gough's Cave (Somerset, England)
Summary of taphonomic modifications seen on the fossil bones from Gough’s Cave shows human skeletons are better represented than are those of any of the other large mammals, while metapodials and phalanges are abundant, but most limb bones are poorly represented.
Taphonomy and Site Formation of Azokh 1
This chapter aims to describe the complete scenario that existed during the Middle Pleistocene in Azokh Caves and the Lesser Caucasus area from the evidence provided by the fossil assemblages
Intergroup cannibalism in the European Early Pleistocene: the range expansion and imbalance of power hypotheses.
An analogy with chimpanzees is used to propose that the TD6 hominins mounted low-risk attacks on members of other groups to defend access to resources within their own territories and to try and expand their territories at the expense of neighboring groups.


Cannibalism and burial at Krapina
The frequencies of skeletal part preservation indicate that the Krapina Neanderthals were buried, by natural or human processes, soon after death.
A Survey of the Evidence for Intrahuman Killing in the Pleistocene
  • M. Roper
  • History
    Current Anthropology
  • 1969
This review article is a compilation of the concrete data available from the Pleistocene that has bearing on the subject of intrahuman killing and warfare. The two main sources of evidence are cave
Taphonomic analysis of late Pleistocene mastodon occurrences; evidence of butchery by North American paleo-Indians
Taphonomic analysis of several late Pleistocene mastodon ( Mammut americanum ) skeletons excavated in southern Michigan provides compelling evidence of mastodon butchery by Paleo-Indians. The
Early hominid hunting, butchering, and carcass-processing behaviors: Approaches to the fossil record
Different criteria currently used as evidence of hominid involvement with ancient bones are reviewed and it is concluded that the presence of cutmarks, verified by scanning electron microscope (SEM) inspection, is the most reliable.
Applications of Scanning Electron Microscopy to Taphonomic Problems *
  • P. Shipman
  • Materials Science, Medicine
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 1981
This paper focuses on the fossil or osteological evidence of once-living animals and its interpretation of artifacts and geological exposures and asks how badly each assemblage misrepresents the original collection of bones or species.
The interpretation of stratified sites: A view from underground
Abstract This paper reports on an experiment designed to study the role of trampling in the vertical dispersal of artifacts in the soil, and in the mixing of originally separate sets of materials.
Trampling as a cause of bone surface damage and pseudo-cutmarks
There have been many recent observations of trampling and its effect on bone surfaces1–8 as well as some experimental investigation of the process9–14. Although there is known to be a relationship
A replication technique for scanning electron microscopy: Applications for anthropologists
Scanning electron microscopy has become an increasingly useful tool for anthropologists, particularly because of the development of improved methods of replicating specimens. One of the best
Bones: AncientMen andModer Myths
  • 1981