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Bioarchaeology of East AsiaMovement, Contact, Health$
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Kate Pechenkina and Marc Oxenham

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044279

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044279.001.0001

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Conflict and Trauma among Nomadic Pastoralists on China’s Northern Frontier

Conflict and Trauma among Nomadic Pastoralists on China’s Northern Frontier

(p.212) (p.213) 9 Conflict and Trauma among Nomadic Pastoralists on China’s Northern Frontier
Bioarchaeology of East Asia

Jacqueline T. Eng

Zhang Quanchao

University Press of Florida

Analysis of human skeletal remains helps elucidate the relationships between and among groups living along the ancient Chinese northern frontier, as well as the risks of interpersonal violence suffered by members of nomadic pastoral groups. We posit that a host of complex interactions occurred as nomads migrated into and out of contested zones near the borders of Chinese expansion, with tensions both between the nomads and the Chinese and among the nomadic tribes themselves. Patterns of trauma found on human remains from four sites give valuable evidence of the extent and types of injuries experienced, along with their impact on health in different regions of the northern frontier. Particular emphasis is given to the Jinggouzi (井沟子) burial sample, comprising the remains of pastoralists who had recently migrated to what is now Inner Mongolia during the Late Bronze Age. By comparing trauma profiles of Jinggouzi individuals with trauma profiles of samples from other northern frontier regions (Manchuria and Xinjiang), we gain new insights into the nature of conflict and other forms of interregional interaction among the nomadic societies of the area, as well as between those societies and imperial China.

Keywords:   violence, warfare, Inner Asia, imperialism

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