Earliest known war was a repeated conflict in Sudan 13,400 years ago

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skeletons

An archival photograph showing a double burial at Jebel Sahaba

Wendorf Archives of the British Museum

Individuals buried at the prehistoric cemetery Jebel Sahaba in Sudan seem to have experienced violence and trauma at several points during their lives. The discovery may help us understand the prehistory of violence before the origin of farming.

At about 13,400 years old, Jebel Sahaba is one of the earliest sites displaying signs of mass conflict. Violence between communities seems to have become more common once people settled in one place to farm, which had begun happening by about 12,000 years ago. But evidence of organised violence among more mobile communities, like those represented by Jebel Sahaba, is unusual.

The remains at the cemetery were exhumed in the 1960s, and once it…

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