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

Trauma in cross-cultural perspective: a comparative bioarchaeological study of prehistoric trauma in the Americas


Anthropology Program, Utah State University

Thursday 9, Forum Suite Add to calendar

Trauma patterns in human skeletal remains provide an empirical basis for analyzing the physical risks associated with different geographic regions, subsistence strategies, political systems, and settlement characteristics. They can also reveal important cultural information about age and gender roles as these are reflected in accidental and intentional injury patterns, and insights into the role of culture in shaping violent conflict and its osteological manifestations. Pursuing this line of inquiry, this paper compares trauma patterns in human skeletal remains from four prehistoric regions of the Americas: California, the Four Corners region, the Southeast (North Carolina/Virginia), and north coastal Peru (Moche Valley). These comparisons reveal both striking similarities and profound differences in trauma patterns across the four regions, findings of relevance to theoretical inquiries related to risk management and to models of warfare causation.

This research was supported by Grant #6623 from the Wenner Gren Foundation.

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