The politicization of the dead: An analysis of cutmark morphology and culturally modified human remains from La Plata and Penasco Blanco (A.D. 900--1300)
Abstract (Summary)This thesis focuses primarily on hypotheses about the causes, extent, and nature of Ancestral Pueblo violence from the tenth through the fourteenth centuries using information gleaned from human biological remains from two regions, La Plata and Chaco Canyon. Hypotheses surrounding the use of violence in Ancestral Pueblo Cultures from the San Juan Basin (A.D. 900 to 1200) were tested using a multidisciplinary scientific approach that includes osteological and bioarchaeological data in conjunction with available archaeological data. The archaeological theories are derived from broad patterns of evidence based on reconstructions of the paleoenvironment, regional settlement patterns, site construction, and local contexts. This complex analysis of violence is accomplished through the examination of human remains from three pre-Columbian sites in the American Southwest, La Plata (LA 37592 and LA 37593) and PeÃ?Â±asco Blanco. Through the use of taphonomic science, marks on the skeletal material were identified as either abiotic or biotic and their causes discussed. Those marks produced from violence and warfare were examined in association with the complex social and cultural interactions that can lead to violence. Violence and warfare are both defined, and the idea of violence as a cultural performance is advocated through the concept of the Politicization of the Dead. This work revises recently proposed patterns of violence in the prehistoric Southwest and offers an alternative hypothesis for the multiple types of cultural taphonomic processing seen on the various human skeletal assemblages throughout the prehistoric American Southwest.
School Location:USA - Massachusetts
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2006