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This title in other editions
Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American Southwestby Christy G Turner
Synopses & Reviews
This study of prehistoric violence, homicide, and cannibalism explodes the myth that the Anasazi and other Southwest Indians were simple, peaceful farmers.
Until quite recently, Southwest prehistory studies have largely missed or ignored evidence of violent competition. Christy and Jacqueline Turner’s study of prehistoric violence, homicide, and cannibalism explodes the myth that the Anasazi and other Southwest Indians were simple, peaceful farmers. Using detailed osteological analyses and other lines of evidence the Turners show that warfare, violence, and their concomitant horrors were as common in the ancient Southwest as anywhere else in the world.
The special feature of this massively documented study is its multi-regional assessment of episodic human bones assemblages (scattered floor deposits or charnel pits) by taphonomic analysis, which considers what happens to bones from the time of death to the time of recovery. During the past thirty years, the authors and other analysts have identified a minimal perimortem taphonomic signature of burning, pot polishing, anvil abrasions, bone breakage, cut marks, and missing vertebrae that closely match the signatures of animal butchering and is frequently associated with additional evidence of violence. More than seventy-five archaeological sited containing several hundred individuals are carefully examined for the cannibalism signature. Because this signature has not been reported for any sites north of Mexico, other than those in the Southwest, the authors also present detailed comparisons with Mesoamerican skeletal collections where human sacrifice and cannibalism were known to have been practiced. The authors review several hypotheses for Southwest cannibalism: starvation, social pathology, and institutionalized violence and cannibalism. In the latter case, they present evidence for a potential Mexican connection and demonstrate that most of the known cannibalized series are located temporally and spatially near Chaco great houses.
Book News Annotation:
Christy Turner (anthropology, Arizona State U.) and the late anthropologist Jacqueline Turner synthesize 30 years of their own and others' work to challenge the myth that the Anasazi and other southwestern US Indians were simple and peaceful farmers. They offer osteological and forensic analyses and draw on taphonomy (the study of what happens to bones between death and discovery) to reach the conclusion that many humans were killed and treated in exactly the same way as food game. Such evidence has not been found anywhere else north of Mexico, so they speculate a prehistoric connection with the Mexican practices. They also speculate on the reasons for cannibalism, such as starvation, social pathology, and institutionalized violence. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (email@example.com)
Using detailed osteological analyses and other lines of evidence, this study of prehistoric violence, homicide, and cannibalism explodes the myth that the Anasazi and other Southwest Indians were simple, peaceful farmers.
This massively documented study explodes the myth that the Anasazi and other Southwest Indians were simple, peaceful farmers by showing that warfare, violence, and their concomitant horrors were as common in the ancient Southwest as anywhere else in the world.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 507-536) and indexes.
About the Author
Christy G. Turner II is regents’ professor in the Department of Anthropology at Arizona State University.
The late Jacqueline A. Turner was a ranch manager in Dragoon, Arizona.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction: Studying Southwestern Cannibalism
2. Interpreting Human Bone Damage: Taphonomic, Ethnographic, and Archaeological Evidence
3. Taphonomic Evidence for Cannibalism and Violence in the American Southwest: Seventy-Six Sites
4. Comparative Evidence: Cannibalism and Human Body Processing in Mexico
5. Conclusion: Explaining Southwestern Cannibalism
List of Figures
List of Tables
Index to Sites
What Our Readers Are Saying
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