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The Bioarchaeology of Violence
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summary

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.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Contents
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  1. List of Figures
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. List of Tables
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. xi-xiii
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  1. Introduction: Bioarchaeology and the Study of Violence
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. Part I. Method and Theory
  1. 1. The Politicization of the Dead: Violence as Performance, Politics as Usual
  2. pp. 13-28
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  1. 2. The Bioarchaeology of Structural Violence: A Theoretical Model and a Case Study
  2. pp. 29-62
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  1. 3. Deciphering Violence in Past Societies: Ethnography and the Interpretation of Archaeological Populations
  2. pp. 63-80
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  1. Part II. Small-Scale Conflict
  1. 4. The Social and Cultural Implications of Violence at Qasr Hallabat
  2. pp. 83-110
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  1. 5. Community Violence and Everyday Life: Death at Arroyo Hondo
  2. pp. 111-120
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  1. 6. Bioarchaeological Signatures of Strife in Terminal Pueblo III Settlements in the Northern San Juan
  2. pp. 121-138
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  1. Part III. Warfare
  1. 7. The Space of War: Connecting Geophysical Landscapes with Skeletal Evidence of Warfare-Related Trauma
  2. pp. 141-159
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  1. 8. Where Are the Warriors? Cranial Trauma Patterns and Conflict among the Ancient Maya
  2. pp. 160-179
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  1. 9. Violence against Women: Differential Treatment of Local and Foreign Females in the Heartland of the Wari Empire, Peru
  2. pp. 180-198
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  1. Part IV. Ritualized Violence
  1. 10. Meaning and the Bioarchaeology of Captivity, Sacrifice, and Cannibalism: A Case Study from the Mississippian Period at Larson, Illinois
  2. pp. 201-225
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  1. 11. Performances of Imposed Status: Captivity at Cahokia
  2. pp. 226-250
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  1. 12. Biological Distance Analysis in Contexts of Ritual Violence
  2. pp. 251-275
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  1. Conclusion: Implications and Future Directions
  2. pp. 276-280
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  1. List of Contributors
  2. pp. 281-282
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 283-291
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