Synopses & Reviews
This study seeks to present a comprehensive analysis of the qualitative and quantitative aspects of warfare during the Early Bronze Age (2300/2200 B.C. until 1500 B.C.) in the Weinviertel region of northeastern Austria. This period saw the first use of bronze for jewellery, weapons, tools and special-purpose money. The production and distribution of the raw materials needed for bronze and of finished copper and bronze products were connected to substantial changes in the social, political, economic, and ideological spheres, a process that at the latest began during the Eneolithic period. Many aspects of these transformations are reflected in the patterns of warfare. While the archaeological evidence remains somewhat uncertain as is typical for societies of low social complexity, one cannot conclude that warfare was unknown. This exploratory study expands on and qualifies current ideas on warfare using the Early Bronze Age material record from the Weinviertel. The warfare model, developed in detail in the individual chapters, runs as follows: Warfare was conducted on a small scale, it was infrequent and non-specialized weapons were used. It contained aspects of ritual and may have been motivated by a number of reasons based on the social or physical environment. It was carried out predominantly by males and was organized at the household, village, and/or polity level. Over time, specialized weapons were developed. During the Middle Bronze Age one finds an increase in social complexity and by the Late Bronze Age, extensive defense systems. The ideas contained in this model are based on archaeological evidence, ethnology, general human behaviour, European and North American scholarship on warfare, and literature discussing functionalism, systems theory, and post-processualism. Many points are illustrated through the selective use of ethnographic information.