Culture and Battle: An Epistemological Approach to Warfare

Author(s): Jay Silverstein

Year: 2017


The continuum of behaviors associated with war stretches from the act of killing to the profound ideology justifying the act. Thus the study of warfare encompasses a constellation of behaviors ranging from the ideological roots of political solidarity to the physical mechanics of death. Of the many aspects of war, battle represents the union of political and individual motive in a seminal action that often leaves a salient archaeological imprint circumscribed in space and time. However, bias, introduced by the veil of time and the sometimes ephemeral residues of war, meld with the bias embedded in the cultural context of the researcher. In this paper I present case examples of warfare studies I have conducted in Mesoamerica, Egypt, and with the POW/MIA recovery effort of the US government. The studies, however, will be examined not merely from the archaeo-historic contexts of the conflicts, but through the introspective lens of my socio-political environment.

Cite this Record

Culture and Battle: An Epistemological Approach to Warfare. Jay Silverstein. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429887)


Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14916