The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Injury recidivism, trauma, and pathology in the multi-ethnic community at Grasshopper Pueblo (AD 1275-1400)


Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Thursday Morning, Forum Suite Add to calendar

Grasshopper Pueblo was a large, aggregated community in the American Southwest during the late 13th century into the 14th century. Initial settlement of the site occurred in AD 1275 and it reached its peak population (c. 700 individuals) approximately 50 years later. By AD 1400 the site was abandoned. Archaeological reconstructions suggest multi-group (multi-ethnic) cohabitation with a failure to blend together into a single unified identity. Isotopic data from non-local female burials in major room blocks indicate that intermarriage between different kin-based ethnic groups was an important part of community dynamics. Thus, while there is evidence of community growth and cohesion, there remains evidence supporting higher rates of inter-group conflict in the form of interpersonal violence and injury recidivism (individuals with an accumulated assortment of traumatic pathologies). Analysis of the human skeletal remains of 187 adults from the site included observation of lethal and non-lethal injuries as well as pathologies. Non-lethal trauma (healed cranial depression fractures and post-cranial trauma) was observed among all adult age groups and for both sexes. Young adults exhibit the highest frequencies of these injuries and females sustained larger and deeper wounds. Approximately one third (n=61) of the population had healed cranial depression fractures. Co-morbidity factors (i.e., injury recidivism) in a subgroup of young adult females fits the profile of captives. This study demonstrates the importance of looking at multiple indicators of trauma and stress for individuals as well as across the population.

This project was partially funded by the Graduate & Professional Student Association and the Rocchio Memorial Scholarship at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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