5 November 2020

Winter Lecture: Violence in Prehistory

The Neolithic and Bronze Age periods have traditionally been thought of as relatively peaceful times where warfare and acts of violence rarely happened.

Yet recent studies suggest that this is not necessarily the case. So how violent was our prehistoric past?

Professor Rick Schulting has been re-assessing prehistoric skeletal collections looking at evidence of violence and the results reveal a darker side to the human species. One of these collections involves the scattered remains of at least 40 men, women and children found in a 20m-deep pit during the 1970s excavations at Charterhouse Warren, in nearby Somerset.

This Early Bronze Age assemblage featured cutmarks indicating dismemberment, alongside fracturing of long bones and injuries to skulls that took place around of shortly after the time of death.  While evidence for violence is not unknown in British prehistory, nothing on this scale has been found, and the site joins a small number of Continental Neolithic and Bronze Age sites showing extreme violence and postmortem processing of human remains.

This lecture provides an overview of recent research into violence in prehistory and looks at the fascinating work on the Charterhouse Warren assemblage.

Speaker: Rick Schulting, Professor of Scientific and Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Oxford.

Please note: This lecture will include images of human remains.

How to take part

Due to COVID-19, this winter lecture season will take place over Zoom.

Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 3pm on Thursday 5 November.

All Winter Lectures are free and open to all thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining meetings. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. All guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.

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