Why There Are So Few Women Warriors
6. The Prehistory of Warfare Page 7


Title/Summary page

1. Introduction Page 1

2. Cross-Cultural Methodology
Page 2

3. Societies with Women Warriors
Page 3

4. The Exclusion of Women from War
Page 4

5.Type of Warfare Determines Marital Residency
Pages 5-6

6. The Prehistory of Warfare
Pages 7-8

7. Interaction of Biology and Culture
Page 9

8. Conclusion
Page 10

Tables
Pages 11-12-13-14-15-16

Footnote and References
Page 17

Copyright Agreement
Page 18


Considering all of the foregoing data, it is possible to construct the following hypothesis about the prehistory of warfare. In the beginning, one may suppose, the invention of weapons not only transformed hunting into an especially effective means for getting high-protein food, but it also transformed the noisy, but seldom lethal, territorial displays and attacks against strangers that characterized non-human apes into deadly encounters that could be called true warfare. The distance traveled by hunting and war parties would have precluded the participation of pregnant women or women carrying suckling infants and led to a tendency (not a monopoly) of hunting and warfare by men. The tendency toward a sex role differentiation between male hunting and warfare and female nurturing and gathering of food near a home base may well have provided the material basis for the family unit and the beginnings of marriage. So long as warfare was infrequent, one would have expected such primitive marriage to be agamous and bilocal (i.e. without exclusive exogamy or endogamy and without exclusive patrilocality or matrilocality), like many of today's cultures that have low frequencies of warfare. At this early stage, it should be emphasized, there is no reason to suppose that either hunting or warfare was monopolized by men.

As population density increased and cultures became larger in size, we may suppose that the frequency of warfare increased and that internal warfare came to predominate. This would have been associated with restrictions on marital residency so that it was patrilocal and, in many cases, exogamous. Patrilocality may have been necessitated in order to keep young warriors with their fathers and brothers so they could help with the prosecution of the warfare, a proposal made by Ember and Ember (1971). The causal relationship may have been bidirectional since patrilocality is associated with fraternal interest groups which may, themselves, tend to promote internal warfare (Otterbein, 1968). Exogamy may have been instituted in many cases to restrict the ambiguity concerning sexual partnerships. Assuming, as does Divale (1974) that most primitive feuds stem from fights over women, and keeping in mind that under conditions of internal war, men are armed and trained to kill, such ambiguity rises to the level of contradiction. By rigorously instituting marriage and restricting it to exogamy, taking all wives from other communities, the contradiction might be reduced. The relationship of men and women could be clearly specified from the very first time that a woman entered the community through the institution of marriage, each woman "belonged" only to her husband without any prior history or ambiguity to be reckoned with.

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