January 20th, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: email@example.com
Skulls smashed by blunt force, bodies pin-cushioned by projectile points and hapless victims—including a pregnant woman—abused with their hands bound before receiving the fatal coup de grâce.
This violent tableau resembles something from the darker side of modern warfare. But it instead describes the grizzly demise of a group of African hunter-gatherers some 10,000 years ago. They are the victims of the earliest scientifically dated evidence for human group conflict—a precursor to what we now know as war.
The battered skeletons at Nataruk, west of Kenya’s Lake Turkana, serve as sobering evidence that such brutal behavior occurred among nomadic peoples, long before more settled human societies arose. They also provide poignant clues that could help answer questions that have long plagued humanity: Why do we go to war, and where did our all too common practice of group violence originate?