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Bioarchaeological and Forensic Perspectives on Violence: How Violent Death is Interpreted from Skeletal Remains

  • Bioarchaeology engages with forensic anthropology to reveal the empirical issues within the study of violence, warfare, surveillance and human rights
  • Presents engaging case studies on violence highlighting methods for reading the bones and interpreting the violent encounters that took place
  • Examines innovative methodologies to provide detailed and nuanced context for violence in past and present situations

Series: Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology Volume: 67

By: Debra L Martin(Editor), Cheryl P Anderson(Editor)

340 pages, 61 b/w illustrations, 17 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Mar 2014 | #230133 | ISBN-13: 9781107045446
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £66.99 $86/€74 approx

About this book

Every year, there are over 1.6 million violent deaths worldwide, making violence one of the leading public health issues of our time. And with the 20th century just behind us, it's hard to forget that 191 million people lost their lives directly or indirectly through conflict. This collection of engaging case studies on violence and violent deaths reveals how violence is reconstructed from skeletal and contextual information. By sharing the complex methodologies for gleaning scientific data from human remains and the context they are found in, and complementary perspectives for examining violence from both past and contemporary societies, bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology prove to be fundamentally inseparable. Bioarchaeological and Forensic Perspectives on Violence provides a model for training forensic anthropologists and bioarchaeologists, not just in the fundamentals of excavation and skeletal analysis, but in all subfields of anthropology, to broaden their theoretical and practical approach to dealing with everyday violence.


List of contributors

Part I. Introduction:
1. Introduction: interpreting violence in the ancient and modern world when skeletonized bodies are all you have Debra L. Martin and Cheryl P. Anderson

Part II. Overview and Innovative Methodologies:
2. Killed in action? A biometrical analysis of femora of supposed battle victims from the Middle Bronze Age site of Weltzin 20, Germany Stefan Flohr, Ute Brinker, Elena Spanagel, Annemarie Schramm, Jörg Orschiedt and Uwe Kierdorf
3. The taphonomy of maritime warfare: a forensic reinterpretation of sharp force trauma from the 1676 wreck of the Royal Swedish Warship Kronan Anna Kjellström and Michelle D. Hamilton
4. The determination of homicide vs. suicide in gunshot wounds Vincent H. Stefan
5. The first cut is the deepest: looking for patterns in cases of human dismemberment Andrew C. Seidel and Laura C. Fulginiti
6. Victims of violence? A methodological case study from precolonial Northern Mexico Cheryl P. Anderson

Part III. Ritual and Performative Violence:
7. Signatures of captivity and subordination on skeletonized human remains: a bioarchaeological case study from the ancient Southwest Ryan P. Harrod and Debra L. Martin
8. Classic Maya warfare and skeletal trophies: victims and aggressors Rebecca Storey
9. Face me like a man! (or, like a woman): antemortem nasal fractures in pre-Columbian San Pedro de Atacama Christina Torres-Rouff and Laura M. King
10. Why some bodies matter: defacement and narrative in historical forensics cases William N. Duncan and Christopher M. Stojanowski

Part IV. Violence and Identity:
11. Violence in life, violence in death, resiliency through repatriation: bioarchaeological analysis and heritage value of Yaqui skeletal remains from Sonora, Mexico Heidi J. Bauer-Clapp and Ventura R. Pérez
12. Interpreting skeletal trauma and violence at Grasshopper Pueblo (AD 1275–1400) Kathryn M. Baustian
13. The contribution of forensic anthropology to national identity in Chile: a case study from the Patio 29 mass grave Elizabeth M. DeVisser, Krista E. Latham and Marisol Intriago Leiva
14. Cranial trauma and cranial modification in post-imperial Andahuaylas, Peru Danielle Kurin
15. Allies today, enemies tomorrow: a comparative analysis of perimortem injuries along the biomechanical continuum Melissa Scott Murphy, Brian Spatola and Rick Weathermon
16. Interpreting gunshot trauma as context clue: a case study from historic North Las Vegas, Nevada John J. Crandall, Ryan P. Harrod, Cheryl P. Anderson and Kathryn M. Baustian

Part V. Concluding Thoughts:
17. Living on the sidelines of death: anthropologists and violence Alison Galloway


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Debra L. Martin is Lincy Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. For the last 30 years, her research interests have focused on the analysis of ancient human remains in order to better understand the origin and evolution of violence and disease in culturally diverse human groups. Her primary research interests currently include bridging social theory with bioarchaeological data, the impact of raiding, warfare and captivity on morbidity and mortality, and the ways that social control creates marginalized individuals. Her popular course 'The Anthropology of Violence' is offered every year at the University of Nevada.

Cheryl P. Anderson is a PhD student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her primary research interests include the evolution of organized violence, the use of violence as a means of communication, and the impacts of social inequality on human health. Recently, she has investigated violence in a late precolonial skeletal collection from Northern Mexico. Additionally, she has been involved in projects analyzing human skeletal remains from a historic period family cemetery from Southern Nevada, a Bronze Age population from the United Arab Emirates and a Middle Bronze Age village in Anatolia.

- Debra L. Martin
- Cheryl P. Anderson
- Stefan Flohr
- Ute Brinker
- Elena Spanagel
- Annemarie Schramm
- Jörg Orschiedt
- Uwe Kierdorf
- Anna Kjellström
- Michelle D. Hamilton
- Vincent H. Stefan
- Andrew C. Seidel
- Laura C. Fulginiti
- Ryan P. Harrod
- Rebecca Storey
- Christina Torres-Rouff
- Laura M. King
- William N. Duncan
- Christopher M. Stojanowski
- Heidi J. Bauer-Clapp
- Ventura R. Pérez
- Kathryn M. Baustian
- Elizabeth M. DeVisser
- Krista E. Latham
- Marisol Intriago Leiva
- Danielle Kurin
- Melissa Scott Murphy
- Brian Spatola
- Rick Weathermon
- John J. Crandall
- Alison Galloway

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