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Cut Marks and Fragments: Piecing together possible explanations for variation of processed human remains amongst neighboring villages in pre-contact Southwest

Author(s): Aaron Woods ; Ryan Harrod ; Meaghan Kincaid

Year: 2015

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Summary

The discovery of disarticulated and processed human remains at several archaeological sites has provided evidence of extreme violence in the pre-contact American Southwest. Several theories have been presented to explain the presence of these traumatic injuries, including witchcraft executions, ancestor veneration, and cannibalism. The research being presented consists of a detailed reexamination of a small sample of human remains recovered from two neighboring Fremont sites and one nearby Ancestral Pueblo. Novak and Kollman, who previously analyzed the Fremont remains, suggest that the patterning of trauma resembles episodes of extreme violence in the American Southwest. The trauma was analyzed using cutmark analysis techniques described by Ventura Pérez. The reconstructions of cutmark morphology and distribution were compared by site and also to data published on other archaeological examples of disarticulated an processed human remains. The goal of this research is to provide insight into the possible motivation behind the disarticulation and modification of human remains seen by Fremont and Ancestral Pueblo groups. Our results suggest that the patterns and variation of cut marks and fragmentation between these sites may demonstrate different behaviors between these neighboring villages.

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Cut Marks and Fragments: Piecing together possible explanations for variation of processed human remains amongst neighboring villages in pre-contact Southwest. Meaghan Kincaid, Ryan Harrod, Aaron Woods. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398293)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America