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Bones of ComplexityBioarchaeological Case Studies of Social Organization and Skeletal Biology$
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Haagen D. Klaus, Amanda R. Harvey, and Mark N. Cohen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062235

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062235.001.0001

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Across a Spectrum of Inequality

Across a Spectrum of Inequality

Hierarchy, Health, and Culturally Sanctioned Violence in the Precontact U.S. Southwest

Chapter:
(p.363) 14 Across a Spectrum of Inequality
Source:
Bones of Complexity
Author(s):

Ryan P. Harrod

Debra L. Martin

Misty Fields

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813062235.003.0014

This chapter involves a comparison of skeletal stress markers, violence, and social inequality in two case studies drawn from hierarchically organized, ancestral Puebloan groups in the U.S. Southwest from the 7th to 13th centuries A.D. (Late Pueblo I through the early Pueblo III periods). The first case study involves the remains of two men from the Room 33 burial chamber at Pueblo Bonito. Employing a contextualized life history approach, Harrod and colleagues first argue that the funerary setting and skeletal remains of these two men independently indicate they were highly ranked elites and ceremonial leaders—not just at the social apex, but were among those organizing hierarchy. The second case study involves the skeletons of women from the La Plata river valley in the northern Colorado Plateau. These women were at the opposite end of the social spectrum, likely slaves captured through intergroup raiding. Their bodies revealed lives marred by abusive, socially sanctioned violence. In death, they were treated with a distinct lack of respect or reverence. The authors link such violence to ritualized activities that functioned as a kind of problem-solving strategy in times of environmental degradation within a marginal ecological setting.

Keywords:   Pueblo Bonito, La Plata river valley, socially sanctioned violence, marginal ecological setting

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