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Beyond the Nasca Lines

Ancient Life at La Tiza in the Peruvian Desert

by Christina A. Conlee

Inhabited for over 5,000 years before European colonization, the site of La Tiza in Peru’s Nasca Desert provides an unprecedented opportunity to examine the dynamics of ancient complex societies. This volume takes a long temporal perspective on La Tiza from the Preceramic through the Inca era, studying the site within the context of broader developments such as the rise of Nasca culture, subsequent conquest by the Wari Empire, collapse, abandonment, and the reformation of a new society.

Christina Conlee synthesizes data she obtained while directing a multi-year excavation at the site with data from other investigations to reconstruct the development of social complexity over time. She includes detailed descriptions of the stratigraphy and artifacts, carefully separating materials from each period. Exploring how political integration, religious practices, economics, and the environment shaped societal transformations at La Tiza, Conlee offers patterns that can be found in other areas and can be used to understand the development of other long-lasting civilizations.

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Beyond the Walls

New Perspectives on the Archaeology of Historical Households

Kevin R. Fogle

While household archaeologists view the home as a social unit, few move their investigations "beyond the walls" when contextualizing a household in its community. Even exterior aspects of a dwelling--its plant life, yard spaces, and trash heaps--uncover issues of domination and resistance, gender relations, and the effects of colonialism. This innovative volume examines historical homes and their wider landscapes to more fully address social issues of the past.

The contributors, leading archaeologists using various interpretive frameworks, analyze households across time periods and diverse cultures in North America. Including case studies of James Madison's Montpelier, George Washington's Ferry Farm, Chinese immigrants in a Nevada mining town, Hawaiian ranching communities, and Southern plantations, Beyond the Walls offers a new avenue for archaeological study of domestic sites.

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Bioarchaeology and Behavior

The People of the Ancient Near East

Edited by Megan A. Perry

While mortuary ruins have long fascinated archaeologists and art historians interested in the cultures of the Near East and eastern Mediterranean, the human skeletal remains contained in the tombs of this region have garnered less attention. In Bioarchaeology and Behavior, Megan Perry presents a collection of essays that aim a spotlight on the investigation of the ancient inhabitants of the circum-Mediterranean area.

Composed of eight diverse papers, this volume synthesizes recent research on human skeletal remains and their archaeological and historical contexts in this region. Utilizing an environmental, social, and political framework, the contributors present scholarly case studies on such topics as the region's mortuary archaeology, genetic investigations of migration patterns, and the ancient populations' health, disease, and diet.

Other key anthropological issues addressed in this volume include the effects of the domestication of plants and animals, the rise of state-level formations, and the role of religion in society. Ultimately, this collection will provide anthropologists, archaeologists, and bioarchaeologists with an important foundation for future research in the Near East and eastern Mediterranean.

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Bioarchaeology and Climate Change

A View from South Asian Prehistory

Gwen Robbins Schug

In the context of current debates about global warming, archaeology contributes important insights for understanding environmental changes in prehistory, and the consequences and responses of past populations to them.

In Indian archaeology, climate change and monsoon variability are often invoked to explain major demographic transitions, cultural changes, and migrations of prehistoric populations. During the late Holocene (1400-700 B.C.), agricultural communities flourished in a semiarid region of the Indian subcontinent, until they precipitously collapsed. Gwen Robbins Schug integrates the most recent paleoclimate reconstructions with an innovative analysis of skeletal remains from one of the last abandoned villages to provide a new interpretation of the archaeological record of this period.

Robbins Schug’s biocultural synthesis provides us with a new way of looking at the adaptive, social, and cultural transformations that took place in this region during the first and second millennia B.C. Her work clearly and compellingly usurps the climate change paradigm, demonstrating the complexity of human-environmental transformations. This original and significant contribution to bioarchaeological research and methodology enriches our understanding of both global climate change and South Asian prehistory.

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Bioarchaeology and Identity in the Americas

Edited by Kelly J. Knudson and Christopher M. Stojanowski

Bioarchaeology and Identity in the Americas represents an important shift in the interpretation of skeletal remains in the Americas. Until recently, bioarchaeology has focused on interpreting and analyzing populations. The contributors here look to examine how individuals fit into those larger populations.

The overall aim is to demonstrate how bioarchaeologists can uniquely contribute to our understanding of the formation, representation, and repercussions of identity. The contributors combine historical and archaeological data with population genetic analyses, biogeochemical analyses of human tooth enamel and bones, mortuary patterns, and body modifications. With case studies drawn from North, Central, and South American mortuary remains from AD 500 to the Colonial period, they examine a wide range of factors that make up identity, including ethnicity, age, gender, and social, political, and religious constructions.

By adding a valuable biological element to the study of culture--a topic traditionally associated with social theorists, ethnographers, and historical archaeologies--this volume highlights the importance of skeletal evidence in helping us better understand our past.

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The Bioarchaeology of Classical Kamarina

Life and Death in Greek Sicily

Carrie L. Sulosky Weaver

"A true, balanced bioarchaeological work of scholarship elucidating the way of life and death for the people of Passo Marinaro."--Sherry C. Fox, coeditor of New Directions in the Skeletal Biology of Greece "This excellent study--comprehensive in its research, sophisticated in its theory, meticulous in its analysis, lucid in its presentation--sets a new standard in the young, exciting field of the bioarchaeology of the early Greek world."--Joseph L. Rife, author of Isthmia IX: The Roman and Byzantine Graves and Human Remains "Sulosky Weaver eloquently weaves Greek myth and historical accounts of Greek life into her scientific analysis of the bioarchaeological evidence, providing a synthetic account of life at the Greek colony of Kamarina."--Britney Kyle McIlvaine, University of Northern Colorado

Sicily was among one of the first areas settled during the Greek colonization movement, making its cemeteries a popular area of study for scholars of the classical world. Yet these studies have often considered human remains and burial customs separately. In this seminal work, Carrie Sulosky Weaver synthesizes skeletal, material, and ritual data to reconstruct the burial customs, demographic trends, state of health, and ancestry of Kamarina, a city-state in Sicily.

Using evidence from 258 recovered graves from the Passo Marinaro necropolis, Sulosky Weaver suggests that Kamarineans--whose cultural practices were an amalgamation of both Greek and indigenous customs--were closely linked to their counterparts in neighboring Greek cities. The orientations of the graves, positions of the bodies, and the types of items buried with the dead--including Greek pottery--demonstrate that Kamarineans were full participants in the mortuary traditions of Sicilian Greeks. Likewise, cranial traits resemble those found among other Sicilian Greeks. Interestingly, evidence of cranial surgery, magic, and necrophobic activities also appeared in Passo Marinaro graves--another example of how Greek culture influenced the city.

An overabundance of young adult skeletal remains, combined with the presence of cranial trauma and a variety of pathological conditions, indicates the Kamarineans may have been exposed to one or more disruptive events, such as prolonged wars and epidemic outbreaks. Despite the tumultuous nature of the times, the resulting portrait reveals that Kamarina was a place where individuals of diverse ethnicities and ancestries were united in life and death by shared culture and funerary practices.

Carrie L. Sulosky Weaver is a Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of History of Art and Architecture.

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Bioarchaeology of East Asia

Movement, Contact, Health

Edited by Kate Pechenkina and Marc Oxenham

East Asia spans more than 10 million square kilometers. The human remains examined by the contributors in this volume date from the Early Neolithic (more than 12,000 years ago) to the Iron Age (up to AD 500).

Bioarchaeology of East Asia interprets human skeletal collections from a region where millets, rice, and several other important cereals were cultivated, leading to attendant forms of agricultural development that were accompanied by significant technological innovations. The contributors follow the diffusion of these advanced ideas to other parts of Asia, and unravel a maze of population movements. In addition, they explore the biological implications of relatively rare subsistence strategies more or less unique to East Asia: millet agriculture, mobile pastoralism with limited cereal farming, and rice farming combined with reliance on marine resources.

Diverse scholarly traditions--from China, Japan, Mongolia, Russia, Australia, and the United States--supply a constructive mix of conceptual frameworks and methodologies. Chinese-to-English translations make chapters available that might not otherwise be published outside of China. Ideas stemming from this collection will significantly boost collaborative work among bioarchaeologists and other scientists working in East Asia.

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The Bioarchaeology of Individuals

Ann L.W. Stodder

From Bronze Age Thailand to Viking Iceland, from an Egyptian oasis to a family farm in Canada, The Bioarchaeology of Individuals invites readers to unearth the daily lives of people throughout history. Covering a span of more than four thousand years of human history and focusing on individuals who lived between 3200 BC and the nineteenth century, the essays in this book examine the lives of nomads, warriors, artisans, farmers, and healers.

The contributors employ a wide range of tools, including traditional macroscopic skeletal analysis, bone chemistry, ancient DNA, grave contexts, and local legends, sagas, and other historical information. The collection as a whole presents a series of osteobiographies--profiles of the lives of specific individuals whose remains were excavated from archaeological sites. The result offers a more "personal" approach to mortuary archaeology; this is a book about people--not just bones.

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The Bioarchaeology of the Human Head

Decapitation, Decoration, and Deformation

Edited by Michelle Bonogofsky

Building on the notion that human remains provide a window into the past, especially regarding identity, the contributors to this volume reflect on intentional and ritualized practices of manipulating the human head within ancient societies. These essays explore the human head’s symbolic role in political, social, economic, and religious ritual over the centuries.

By focusing on the various ways in which the head was treated at the time of death, as well as before and following, scholars uncover the significant social meaning of such treatment. This illuminating collection highlights biological and cultural manipulations of human heads, ultimately revealing whose skulls and heads were collected and why, whether as ancestors or enemies, as insiders or outsiders, as males, females, or children.

Featuring a wealth of case studies from scholars across the globe, this volume emphasizes social identity and the use of the body in ritual, making it particularly helpful to all those interested in the cross-cultural handling of skulls and heads.

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The Bioarchaeology of Violence

Debra L. Martin

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.

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