• Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

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Was warfare responsible for the origin of complex civilisation?

An effort to track global changes in human society over the past 10,000 years concludes that warfare drove an increase in social complexity – but others are unconvinced by the work

Humans 24 June 2022

MF0B5A Pharaoh driving a chariot in battle, ancient Egypt. Hand-colored engraving of a bas-relief

Engraving of an Egyptian pharaoh driving a chariot in battle

North Wind Picture Archives / Alamy

Human societies have become incredibly big and complex over the past few thousand years, and they have done so primarily because of agriculture and warfare. That is the claim made by a large international collaboration that has spent more than a decade gathering data on the subject. But not everyone is convinced by these conclusions – or even by the starting assumptions.

The way we live today is very different from the way humans have lived for most of our  history. For …