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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Battle of Talheim, 5000 BCE

By the moment I just have read
a press release but it seems there is a paper published somewhere (in fact: here, pay per view/subscription) with more details. The media hype is obvious: the Rape of the Sabine Women in prehistoric version. But is that real or a fantastic recreation? And more important: who exactly were the victims?

Let me explain: the press release talks of 34 skeletons, apparently killed in a violent encounter, all but one being men and children. The researchers (or rather their news agent) says that the conclusion is obvious: that the goal of the raid was to capture the women. Maybe.

The article also says that the remains can be divided in three groups: locals, cattle-herders and a "family" of a man, woman and two children. But who exactly were these three groups? Which culture did they belong to? Why the "family" is placed apart? What does "locals" mean?

Circa 7,000 years ago, that area of he Upper Rhin was the frontier of the advance of the agriculturalists of the Linear Pottery culture, more commonly known as Danubian Neolithic (contextual map). The ones losing the land were the post-Magdalenian hunter-gatherers. The Rhin facies of Danubian Neolithic is known for being the only one of including weapons in the burials (they also were growing opium, by the way) and, in later phases, I have the feeling they were quite disruptive and squabbling, eventually facilitating the Indo-European advance.

But that I knew before. What I'd like to know is how these remains and the likely battle they come from fit in the big picture. Who were the victims and who the raiders who got the women? Tell me if you know, please.

The remains as shown in BBC news.

And thanks to Shiny for posting at Archaeo Forums.

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