Networks of Violence: Bioarchaeological and Spatial Perspectives on Physical, Structural, and Cultural Violence in the Lower Majes Valley, Arequipa, Peru, in the Pre- and Early-Wari Eras
Scaffidi, Cassandra Koontz
This dissertation examines mortuary traditions, cranial trauma, violent dismemberment, and cranial hyperostoses among a mortuary population from the cemetery of Uraca, in the Majes Valley, Arequipa, Peru. AMS dates show that Uraca was used for the burial of individuals who lived during the Early Intermediate Period (“EIP”, ca 200 BC – 600 AD), and during the emergence and first fifty years of the Andean Middle Horizon (600 – 1000 AD). Galtung’s (1969 and 1990) models of the violence triangle are applied to understand how physical violence, structural violence, and cultural violence constituted internal and external relationships; specifically whether Uraca utilized network or corporate power strategies. Archaeological and bioarchaeological results show that burial with exotic grave goods in prominent mortuary landscapes was predominantly used for elite males who were injured during their lives or around the time of death. Sex-based differences in wound characteristics combined with similarities to a nearby elite mortuary complex suggest men were injured in physical conflict resolution and intergroup battle, while women may have been injured in the context of intragroup conflict. Clear differences in mortuary treatment between social status groups did not translate into disparities in childhood health, as indicated by cranial hyperostosis. The demographic and pathological characteristics of human trophy heads suggests they were taken in the context of intergroup conflict, while the temporal shift from individualized to anonymized trophies suggests their cultural meanings changed through time. The combined results suggest that intergroup and intragroup violence and violent trophy-taking rituals were key mechanisms for local leaders to compete for prestige, while symbolic aspects of violent ritual may also have conferred communal benefits within religious systems.
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