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Understanding blunt force trauma and violence in Neolithic Europe: the first experiments using a skin-skull-brain model and the Thames Beater

  • Meaghan Dyer (a1) and Linda Fibiger (a1)

The difficulty in identifying acts of intentional injury in the past has limited the extent to which archaeologists have been able to discuss the nature of interpersonal violence in prehistory. Experimental replication of cranial trauma has proved particularly problematic due to the lack of test analogues that are sufficiently comparable to the human skull. A new material now overcomes this issue, and for the first time allows accurate insight into the effects of different weapons and different blows in inflicting cranial injury; in this case, blunt force trauma caused using a replica of the ‘Thames Beater’ Neolithic wooden club.

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