Archaeological perspectives on conflict and warfare in Australia and the Pacific

Clark, Geoffrey, and Litster, Mirani (2022) Archaeological perspectives on conflict and warfare in Australia and the Pacific. In: Clark, Geoffrey, and Litster, Mirani, (eds.) Archaeological Perspectives on Conflict and Warfare in Australia and the Pacific. Terra Australis, 54 (54). ANU Press, Canberra, ACT, Australia, pp. 1-38.

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The overarching aim in producing an edited volume about conflict and warfare is to better understand the place of coercion and force in the Australia and Pacific region, how the region’s populations were transformed through violence associated with contact, colonialism and globalisation, and the manner in which the legacies of past conflict have been communicated and received. To be sure, violence and conflict are not the only problems human societies face, but they are notorious for their devastating impact on social formations, natural environments and economic systems, and frequently mark significant historical inflection points in the development of nation-states and global systems. For these reasons, major thinkers have long theorised on the causes and purposes of warfare, especially in relation to the state, and whether conflict is innate to human behaviour and society. Our region has the clear potential to contribute more significantly to scholarship concerning the development and role of violence in hunter-gatherer communities over millennia, the evolution of conflict in circumscribed and ‘open’ island societies, and links frequently drawn between violence and warfare, and culture contact and colonialism. The latter was accompanied by the European introduction of new diseases, technologies and weaponry that, along with intrusive ideologies, had profound impacts on indigenous populations. Responses to intrusion and invasion often involved counter-responses: resistance, violence and warfare. These conflicts are important to remember and study (e.g. Connor 2002; Reynolds 1981; Smith 2000), as the acknowledgement of such events plays an important role in community and national dialogues that underpin reconciliation and truth-telling. Given the often sensitive nature of past events involving death and violence, it is essential that researchers responsibly investigate the history of past conflict.

Item ID: 73382
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 9781760464882
Keywords: Archaeology; conflict; warfare
Copyright Information: This title is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
Funders: Australian Research Council
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2022 01:36
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology @ 50%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4513 Pacific Peoples culture, language and history > 451301 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl. New Zealand) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130703 Understanding Australia’s past @ 50%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130799 Understanding past societies not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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