Cooperation and Violence in Prehistoric California: A Brief Inter-Regional Evaluation

Author(s): Terry Jones; Al Schwitalla

Year: 2017


Inter-group cooperation in prehistoric California has traditionally been evaluated via the relative intensity of exchange--tracked archaeologically with shell beads and obsidian. Transported great distances (most commonly via down-the-line exchange) trade items in abundance imply amiable inter-group relations, if not actual cooperation. Violence, on the other hand, as represented in the ethnographic and bio-archaeological records, is generally assumed to represent hostile interactions between individuals and groups. Models that consider these alternative interactive options generally assume that times of non-violence most likely coincided with increased inter-group economic cooperation (e.g., trade). In some instances intensity of violence indeed correlates with paleoenvironmental variability, specifically with upturns in violence during intervals of climatically-induced resource scarcity. Here we evaluate diachronic patterns in both trade and violence from several regions of California and find surprisingly that trade and some forms of violence did not necessarily alternate, but rather, at some times, co-varied, peaking simultaneously, and then declining.

Cite this Record

Cooperation and Violence in Prehistoric California: A Brief Inter-Regional Evaluation. Terry Jones, Al Schwitalla. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430837)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14628