Spontaneous acts of violence born of human emotions like anger or greed are probably universal, but social violence—violence resulting from social relationships within and between groups of people—is a much more complex issue with implications beyond archaeology.
Recent research has generated multiple interpretations about the forms, intensity, and underlying causes of social violence in the ancient Southwest. Deborah L. Nichols and Patricia L. Crown have gathered nine contributions from a variety of disciplines to examine social violence in the prehispanic American Southwest. Not only offering specific case studies but also delving into theoretical aspects, this volume looks at archaeological interpretations, multidisciplinary approaches, and the implications of archaeological research for Native peoples and how they are impacted by what archaeologists say about their past.
Specific chapters address the impacts of raiding and warfare, the possible origins of ritual violence, the evidence for social violence manifested in human skeletal remains, the implications of witchcraft persecution, and an examination of the reasons behind apparent anthropophagy.
There is little question that social violence occurred in the American Southwest. These contributions support the need for further discussion and investigation into its causes and the broader implications for archaeology and anthropology.
Patricia Crown and Deborah Nichols
2. Dismembering the Trope: Imagining Cannibalism in the Ancient Pueblo World
Randall H. McGuire and Ruth Van Dyke
3. An Outbreak of Violence and Raiding in the Central Mesa Verde Region in the 12th Century AD
Brian R. Billman
4. Chaco Horrificus?
5. Inscribed in the Body, Written in Bones: The Consequences of Social Violence at La Plata
Debra L. Martin, Nancy Akins, Bradley Crenshaw, and Pamela K. Stone
6. Veneration or Violence: A Study of Variations in Patterns of Human Bone Modification at La Quemada
Ventura R. Pérez, Ben A. Nelson, and Debra L. Martin
7. Witches, Practice, and the Context of Pueblo Cannibalism
William H. Walker
8. Explanation vs. Sensation: The Discourse of Cannibalism at Awat'ovi
9. Devouring Ourselves
George J. Armelagos
About the Contributors