Comparative Approaches to Casas Grandes Taphonomy and Violence

Author(s): Kyle Waller; Anna Osterholtz

Year: 2015


Recent bioarchaeological analyses of human skeletal remains from the Medio Period Casas Grandes region (AD 1200-1450) have demonstrated taphonomic indicators variously interpreted as massacre, violent persecution of witches, or anthropophagy. In this presentation, we re-examine taphonomic data from Paquime and within a larger southwestern perspective. We combine new approaches to demography and individual well-being with taphonomic and mortuary datasets from Paquime to evaluate the causes, consequences, and social meaning of violence and post-mortem processing. By examining who was subject to trauma, violent death, and body processing, bioarchaeological analyses can show the cultural role that violence plays within society. Based on a comparison with violently killed and processed remains at sites throughout the greater southwest, including Sacred Ridge and Mancos, patterns of violence and trauma are identified. Findings unique to each site are also identified, specific to their cultural contexts.

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Cite this Record

Comparative Approaches to Casas Grandes Taphonomy and Violence. Anna Osterholtz, Kyle Waller. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396645)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;