The Bioarchaeology of Violence

Overview

"The tragedies of violence have seldom been told with such a compelling use of the biocultural perspective. Building on a solid methodological foundation, we are served theoretical perspectives that are unusually rich and nuanced in their application to the case studies. This collection of case studies is a valuable contribution to the bioarchaeological literature."--George Armelagos, Emory University

Human violence is an inescapable aspect of our society and culture. As the archaeological record clearly shows, ...

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Overview

"The tragedies of violence have seldom been told with such a compelling use of the biocultural perspective. Building on a solid methodological foundation, we are served theoretical perspectives that are unusually rich and nuanced in their application to the case studies. This collection of case studies is a valuable contribution to the bioarchaeological literature."--George Armelagos, Emory University

Human violence is an inescapable aspect of our society and culture. As the archaeological record clearly shows, this has always been true. What is its origin? What role does it play in shaping our behavior? How do ritual acts and cultural sanctions make violence acceptable?
These and other questions are addressed by the contributors to The Bioarchaeology of Violence. Organized thematically, the volume opens by laying the groundwork for new theoretical approaches that move beyond interpretation; it then examines case studies from small-scale conflict to warfare to ritualized violence.
Experts on a wide range of ancient societies highlight the meaning and motivation of past uses of violence, revealing how violence often plays an important role in maintaining and suppressing the challenges to the status quo, and how it is frequently a performance meant to be witnessed by others.
The interesting and nuanced insights offered in this volume explore both the costs and the benefits of violence throughout human prehistory.

Debra L. Martin, Lincy professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is coeditor of Troubled Times: Violence and Warfare in the Past. Ryan P. Harrod is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Ventura R. Pérez is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and editor-in-chief of the online journal Landscapes of Violence.

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Meet the Author

Debra L. Martin, Lincy professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is coeditor of Troubled Times: Violence and Warfare in the Past. Ryan P. Harrod is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Ventura R. Pérez is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and editor-in-chief of the online journal Landscapes of Violence.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

List of Tables ix

Foreword xi

Introduction: Bioarchaeology and the Study of Violence Debra L. Martin Ryan P. Harrod Ventura R. Pérez 1

Part I Method and Theory

1 The Politicization of the Dead: Violence as Performance, Politics as Usual Ventura R. Pérez 13

2 The Bioarchaeology of Structural Violence: A Theoretical Model and a Case Study Haagen D. Klaus 29

3 Deciphering Violence in Past Societies: Ethnography and the Interpretation of Archaeological Populations Ryan P. Harrod Pierre Liénard Debra L. Martin 63

Part II Small-Scale Conflict

4 The Social and Cultural Implications of Violence at Qasr Hallabat Robert T. Montgomery Megan Perry 83

5 Community Violence and Everyday Life: Death at Arroyo Hondo Ann M. Palkovich 111

6 Bioarchaeological Signatures of Strife in Terminal Pueblo III Settlements in the Northern San Juan Kristin A. Kuckelman 121

Part III Warfare

7 The Space of War: Connecting Geophysical Landscapes with Skeletal Evidence of Warfare-Related Trauma Heather Worne Charles R. Cobb Giovanna Vidoli Dawnie Wolfe Steadman 141

8 Where Are the Warriors? Cranial Trauma Patterns and Conflict among the Ancient Maya Vera Tiesler Andrea Cucina 160

9 Violence against Women: Differential Treatment of Local and Foreign Females in the Heartland of the Wari Empire, Peru Tiffiny A. Tung 180

Part IV Ritualized Violence

10 Meaning and the Bioarchaeology of Captivity, Sacrifice, and Cannibalism: A Case Study from the Mississippian Period at Larson, Illinois Mallorie A. Hatch 201

11 Performances of Imposed Status: Captivity at Cahokia Kathryn M. Koziol 226

12 Biological Distance Analysis in Contexts of Ritual Violence William N. Duncan 251

Conclusion: Implications and Future Directions Ryan P. Harrod Debra L. Martin Ventura R. Pérez 276

List of Contributors 281

Index 283

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