Professor Mark Allen is a long time anthropology professor at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. And for a long time he has studied human violence among prehistoric people in California. This week he published his work outlining two views related to violence and warfare. One view suggests humans were once peaceful and living in harmony while the other view holds that humans have always been competitive for resources and that humans have always been warlike and violent creatures.
Professor Allen published his work this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and it is entitled “Resource scarcity drives lethal aggression among prehistoric hunter-gatherers in Central California.” In his work Professor Allen teamed up with other professors from U.C. Davis, the University of Utah, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and archaeologists from the Millennia Archaeological Consulting firm in Sacramento.
Professor Allen points out that archaeologist typically do not get the evidence they ae looking for but you must have good evidence, something significant and that most of the time we are dealing with fragmented evidence.
Allen’s study confirmed the second view, that is, that humans have always been warlike and violent and competed for resources. He used an archaeological database of human burials composed of thousands of such prehistoric burials in California dating back more than 1000 years. He has his colleagues looked at wound marks these ancient people suffered at the hands of other human beings of the time. The team then compared that wound evidence to the environment of the time and looked at the way prehistoric communities were organized. Continue Reading