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According to a recent re-evaluation of an archaeological excavation, it is believed that the first major war in Europe occurred approximately 5,000 years ago during the neolithic era, which is 1,000 years earlier than previously believed.
According to the most recent examination of 300 sets of skeletal remains found at a Spanish site, it appears that a significant number of individuals were victims of Europe’s earliest period of warfare.
There is still limited knowledge about the conflict that occurred in Europe from 9,000 to 4,000 years ago. The earliest recorded conflict in Europe was thought to have taken place during the Bronze Age, approximately 4,000 to 2,800 years ago.
The results, revealed in the publication Scientific Reports, indicate a significant number of wounded people and a larger proportion of males among the remains discovered at a mass grave in a shallow cave in the northern Spanish region of Rioja Alavesa.
The findings suggest that the injuries could have been sustained during a prolonged period of conflict, possibly lasting for several months, according to researchers, including those from the University of Oxford.
Previous studies have indicated that conflicts in the continent during the New Stone Age were characterized by brief raids lasting only a few days and involving small groups of 20-30 people.
Scientists believed that ancient civilizations did not have the resources to sustain prolonged and extensive battles.
In the most recent research, experts reviewed the bone structures of 338 people in search of signs of both healed and unhealed injuries.
Additionally, they evaluated 52 flint arrowheads that were uncovered at the identical location. Previous studies revealed that 36 of these arrowheads displayed slight damage indicative of being used for target practice.
According to the study, researchers reported that approximately 23% of the participants had injuries to their skeletal system, and 10% had wounds that had not yet healed.
This is significantly greater than the projected rates of injury during that time, which were probably between 7 to 17 percent and 2 to 5 percent, respectively.
Approximately 74% of the untreated injuries and 70% of the treated wounds were observed in adolescent or adult males, which is a distinction not observed in other mass fatality sites from the Neolithic era in Europe.
The results indicated that a significant number of people at the burial location were subjected to violent acts and could have been victims of warfare.
The significant number of injuries that have been healed indicates that the conflict probably lasted for several months.
Although the exact reasons for this ongoing conflict are uncertain, experts hypothesize various potential factors, such as conflicts between distinct cultural groups in the Late Neolithic era.