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Two rival prehistoric tribes were locked in ‘lethal violence’ due to different cultures

Two rival prehistoric tribes in modern Spain were locked in ‘lethal violence’ 5,500 years ago due to very different cultures, diets and burials.

  • The tribes that lived 5,500 years ago in northern Spain were buried in different ways.
  • The scientists originally thought that the cave and the stone tombs were signs of status.
  • Now they say they were due to different cultural differences between tribes

Two rival prehistoric tribes in modern Spain were locked in ‘lethal violence’ 5,500 years ago due to very different cultures, diets and burials.

At a time when the wheel had just arrived in Europe, the groups that live in the Rioja Alavesa region of what is now northern Spain already had ‘different cultures’.

The remains of Neolithic residents were buried in two different ways: in caves and stone tombs and archaeologists assumed that it was due to a different social status.

Researchers at the Oxford University School of Archeology say the differences suggest very early cultural distinctions between tribal groups that live nearby.

These distinctions included differences in education, the food they eat and “occasionally spread to outbreaks of violence” due to cultural tensions.

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Megalithic tomb of Alto de la Huesera (Basque Country, northern Spain), one of the sites analyzed in the study. The prehistoric tribes that lived 5,500 years ago and only two and a half miles away had very different cultures, burials and diets, a new study reveals

Megalithic tomb of Alto de la Huesera (Basque Country, northern Spain), one of the sites analyzed in the study. The prehistoric tribes that lived 5,500 years ago and only two and a half miles away had very different cultures, burials and diets, a new study reveals

The lead author, Teresa Fernández-Crespo, analyzed isotopes in the teeth of prehistoric individuals and found differences in diets that show different communities.

When examining 27 molars of adults living in the region, researchers found variations that begin in early childhood.

‘[The isotopes] they suggest notable differences in life history between those buried in caves compared to those buried in stone graves, ‘said Dr. Fernández-Crespo.

“The former ate different diets when they were young, weaned their children at different ages and dedicated themselves to land-use practices other than those buried in stone graves.”

The research team included archaeologists from around the world working on what could be the largest set of prehistoric isotope data.

They found notable differences in teeth, especially related to diet.

Prehistoric individuals buried in caves had higher calcium in their enamel, which perhaps suggests that they were weaned earlier.

At a time when the wheel had just arrived in Europe, the groups that live in the Rioja Alavesa region of what is now northern Spain already had 'different cultures'

At a time when the wheel had just arrived in Europe, the groups that live in the Rioja Alavesa region of what is now northern Spain already had 'different cultures'

At a time when the wheel had just arrived in Europe, the groups that live in the Rioja Alavesa region of what is now northern Spain already had ‘different cultures’

Those buried in stone tombs seemed to eat more plants when they were children and also had more decay, perhaps from eating sticky and sugary plant-based foods.

It was known that there was an overlap in time between those buried in the caves and those buried under stone mounds, but the researchers were not sure why the difference.

The main theory was that one of the two groups had a higher status, but they all existed within the same culture and community.

Dr. Fernández-Crespo says that the differences seem to be more marked and that the cultures may have been different enough to cause violence outbreaks.

The research has been published in the magazine. Scientific advances.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE STORY OF THE STONE AGE?

The stone age is a period in human prehistory that is distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers more than 95 percent of human technological prehistory.

It begins with the oldest known use of stone tools by hominids, ancient ancestors of humans, during the Ancient Stone Age, which began about 3.3 million years ago.

Between approximately 400,000 and 200,000 years ago, the pace of innovation in stone technology began to accelerate very slightly, a period known as the Middle Stone Age.

At the beginning of this time, the axes were made with exquisite craftsmanship. This finally gave way to smaller and more diverse tool kits, with emphasis on scale tools instead of larger central tools.

The stone age is a period in human prehistory that is distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers more than 95 percent of human technological prehistory. This image shows jadeitite Neolithic axes of the Toulouse Museum

The stone age is a period in human prehistory that is distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers more than 95 percent of human technological prehistory. This image shows jadeitite Neolithic axes of the Toulouse Museum

The stone age is a period in human prehistory that is distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers more than 95 percent of human technological prehistory. This image shows jadeitite Neolithic axes of the Toulouse Museum

These toolkits were established for at least 285,000 years in some parts of Africa, and for 250,000 to 200,000 years in Europe and parts of West Asia. These toolkits last up to at least 50,000 to 28,000 years ago.

During the Later Stone Age, the pace of innovations increased and the level of craftsmanship increased.

Groups of Homo sapiens experimented with various raw materials, including bone, ivory and antler, in addition to stone.

The period, between 50,000 and 39,000 years ago, is also associated with the advent of modern human behavior in Africa.

Different groups sought their own distinct cultural identity and adopted their own ways of doing things.

Later, the Stone Age peoples and their technologies spread outside Africa over the next thousand years.

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