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Battlefield Archaeology in Ancient Europe and Southeast Asia: The Challenge of Remote Histories and Personification of War Events

Author(s): Laura Junker

Year: 2017

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Summary

Archaeological studies of 'warfare' in their cultural settings have multiplied over time and include analyses of fortifications, military equipment, warrior paraphernalia, and human skeletal trauma, usually spanning broad time scales and including diverse archaeological contexts (e.g. town walls, weapons production workshops, cemeteries) that are often remote from the actual locales where warfare is carried out. In contrast, 'battlefield' archaeology focuses on relatively temporally compact events occurring within actual fighting spaces and on the personal 'minutia' of battle experiences and outcomes for individual participants and factions. In the case of recent wars, a sizeable and diverse historical record and oral histories, more visible and better preserved sites, and a wider array of forensic science options have produced good results in not only identifying combatants, but also inferring the various factors (mechanical, environmental, and human decision-making) involved in war casualties. However, differing temporal scales, degrees of historical reference, and preservation of archaeological remains challenge battlefield archaeologists dealing with pre-modern war events. To illustrate the difficulties of reconstructing battlefield events in the distant past and investigating their impact on regional political and social landscapes, several case studies from Bronze Age and Iron Age Europe and pre-16th century Southeast Asia are analyzed.


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Battlefield Archaeology in Ancient Europe and Southeast Asia: The Challenge of Remote Histories and Personification of War Events. Laura Junker. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429882)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16017

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America