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Anasazi violence : a study of patterns and interpretation of meaning

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:42 by John D. Cater
Cases of trauma-related violent death among the Anasazi Indians of the American Southwest have been documented since the beginning of archaeological study in the region. Researchers have reported these deaths as having been caused through violent activities associated with warfare, cannibalism/witch execution and violence against women. Although trauma-related death has been discussed cursorily for a long period of time, in recent years it has received much attention as a legitimate study in and itself. Several books have been written that focus on the subjects of warfare and cannibalism among the Anasazi. This study seeks to further the inquiry into violent death by comparing trauma-related death to non-trauma-related death in the Anasazi culture. Specifically, this study seeks to identify patterns of behaviour preserved in the archaeological record between those who died traumatically and those who did not among these prehistoric people. This goal is achieved by analyzing burial data from 1803 individual burials and burial groups spatially and temporally, distributed across the Anasazi Culture Area. These human burials are placed within their specific archaeological context with regard to body position, grave type, the presence or absence of grave goods, and the location of the remains within any given archaeological site. Patterns identified through statistical analysis and contextual observation are discussed in terms of potential cultural meaning.


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Archaeology and Ancient History

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University of Leicester

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