2011 Symposium, Abstracts
Physical Barriers and Social Connections: Defensive Landscape in the South-Central Andes
Elizabeth Arkush, University of Pittsburgh
Defensive architecture in the Pre-Columbian Andes came in a limited variety of forms, such as hilltop forts, walled quebradas,
great walls linking hill ranges to create long barriers, and (possibly) walled elite compounds. Hillforts, in particular, are manifest in many different parts of the Andes, spanning nearly two millennia of precontact history. They did not experience much innovation over time. The basic pattern is of concentric walls and/or ditches (often incomplete) on a hilltop or ridge, defended sometimes with platforms, parapets, and slingstone piles, often featuring ritual structures or tombs, but usually with no source of water to sustain besieged populations. Here I wish to point out that this longstanding defensive pattern of hilltop physical barriers had a less visible corollary of social connections, for social relationships with allies and neighbors were essential to both defense and offense. In the late pre-Hispanic Lake Titicaca Basin of the south-central Andes, where steep, walled hillforts dominated the settlement pattern, social interconnections were apparent in patterns of settlement location, ceramic style, obsidian circulation, and visual connections between hillforts. Here and elsewhere, connections to nonliving social beings-powerful supernatural entities and dead ancestors-may also have formed part of ancient Andeans' strategic arsenal in wartime.
Elizabeth Arkush is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her field research centers on the archaeology of late pre-Hispanic societies in the south-central Andes, with a particular interest in Andean warfare in practice and representation. Her publications include Hillforts of the Ancient Andes (2011), The Archaeology of Warfare (2006, coedited with Mark Allen), and articles on Andean warfare, social identity, political power, and archaeological interpretation. She held a research fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks in 2009–2010.
War and Conflict, Control and Negotiation among the Mochicas of Northern Peru
Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
Because of the numerous detailed depictions of warriors engaged in combat found on ceramics and on the walls of temples and palaces, the Mochicas have been regarded as the quintessential Pre-Columbian Andean war machine. But the many discrepancies between these representations and the archaeological record weaken the picture of the Mochicas as a militaristic society. New data attesting to complex activities involving sacrifice and ritual combat have created a new image of the Mochicas as mere ritual warriors. Perhaps war was but one among several strategies available to the Mochica rulers to attain control over territories, resources, and people, although most likely it was also one of the least exercised. Nevertheless, coercion and conflict, whether real (ranging from simple raiding to outright conquest and massive human sacrifice) or represented in the form of visual narratives depicting mythological battles between gods, were among the defining characteristics of Mochica identity. But expressions of conflict, whether real or imaginary, could have been at the heart of Mochica negotiation strategies governing interactions with foreigners, regional and local elites, and, more importantly, across social lines in their own society.
Luis Jaime Castillo Butters studied archaeology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1991, he has been the director of the San José de Moro Archaeological Program. His research concerns the evolution of complex Pre-Columbian societies, with special attention to the development of ideologies and the consolidation of power. His particular focus is the Mochica culture of Peru, especially their ritual and funerary practices, and their collapse. He was a member of the National Commission of Archaeology, part of the National Institute of Culture, Peru, and served on the Ethics Committee of the Society for American Archaeology. He was coeditor of Latin American Antiquity, as well as editor of several scholarly volumes including Arqueología mochica: Nuevos enfoques (2008, with Hélène Bernier, Gregory Lockard, and Julio Rucabado), De Cupisnique a los Incas: El arte del Valle de Jequetepeque (2009, with Cecilia Pardo), and New Perspectives on Moche Political Organization (2010, with Jeffrey Quilter). He has been a visiting professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla, Università degli Studi di Siena, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Université Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux 3, and Lund University. He is the author of Personajes míticos, escenas y narraciones en la icongrafía mochica (1989), and the author or coauthor of some seventy academic papers and articles.
The Polysemy of Sacrifice at the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan and Its Role in Regards to Warfare: A Taphonomic Perspective
Ximena Chávez Balderas, Museo del Templo Mayor & Tulane University
The importance of war for the Aztecs is well known and supported by historical sources and material evidence. Traditionally, human sacrifice was considered a practice that depended on war to obtain captives, and the sacrifice and exhibition of these individuals would serve to intimidate the Aztecs' enemies. Nevertheless, the evidence recovered by the Proyecto Templo Mayor from 1978 to 2010 shows us a different perspective. After the discovery of more than one hundred individuals, the majority represented only by crania, we can infer that the practice of sacrifice and the treatment of remains were complex and polysemic.
In this paper, I will present the collection of human skeletal remains recovered from the excavations at the Aztec Templo Mayor and discuss the methodological challenges of inferring the type of cultural practice associated with the physical trauma. Utilizing osteological evidence, it is possible to distinguish funerary practices from other treatments, such as sacrifice. It is more difficult, however, to differentiate sacrificial practices associated with warfare from practices associated with calendar rituals. I will present preliminary results from these osteological analyses, concentrating on taphonomic aspects and discussing their implications for interpreting ritual practices.
Ximena Chávez Balderas studied archaeology at the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, where her thesis was awarded the Alfonso Caso Award in 2003. She earned an MA in physical anthropology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and was awarded the Miguel Covarrubias Award by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia for a presented paper in 2006. She was the recipient of a grant from the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in 2005 for her research on human sacrifice and mortuary treatments at the Templo Mayor. She has presented more than fifty lectures and conference papers, and has published some thirty articles as well as a volume on funerary rituals-specifically cremation-at the Templo Mayor. Chávez Balderas has worked on a number of national and international exhibitions, and has excavated at Teotihuacan (including Teopancazco, Xalla, and the Pyramids of the Moon and the Sun), as well as at Loma Guadalupe in Michoacán and at Toluquilla in Querétaro. She began participating in the Proyecto Templo Mayor in 1996, and is currently a bioarchaeologist in the project's seventh field season, under the direction of Leonardo López Luján.
Aztec Battlefields in Eastern Guerrero: A Landscape Analysis of the Conquest of the Kingdom of Tlapa-Tlachinollan
Gerardo Gutiérrez, University of Colorado, Boulder
Vivid descriptions of Aztec battles have survived in ethnohistorical accounts. Drawing on oral history and pictorial codices, European and native chroniclers recorded the primary military deeds associated with the imperial expansion of the Triple Alliance, some of them with picturesque details of the defensive and offensive strategies of the Aztecs and their opponents. Nonetheless, it has been difficult to actually locate and study any of these native battlefields.
Urbanization, industrial infrastructure, and mechanized agriculture have mostly obliterated the landscapes where actual battles took place. Fortunately, in some areas of Mexico, ethnohistoric data can lead us to the location of war zones where battlefields have survived; Eastern Guerrero is one of those places. Here, I will analyze the archaeology and ethnohistory of Aztec expansion in Eastern Guerrero, specifically focusing on a battlefield depicted in pictographic documents of the ancient kingdom of Tlapa-Tlachinollan.
The goal of this study is to understand the complexity of an Aztec conquest, in which diplomatic offerings, continuous threats of attack, and military engagements could create a war of attrition lasting for decades. This paper will provide a more detailed view of an Aztec military campaign and will reveal the role of local allies in the expansion of the Aztec Empire, individuals with no voice in the written chronicles of Central Mexico.
Gerardo Gutiérrez is assistant professor of anthropology of the University of Colorado, Boulder. He received a PhD in anthropological archaeology in 2002 from the Pennsylvania State University, a MA in urban studies from El Colegio de México, and a Licenciatura (BA) in archaeology from the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia. He has done archaeological and ethnohistorical investigations in many areas of Mexico, including the southern Huaxtec region, the Zapotec, Mixe, and Chinantec regions of northern Oaxaca, the Mixtec-Tlapanec-Nahua-Amuzgo region of Eastern Guerrero, and the Soconusco coast. He has written articles on a variety of topics, including Huaxtec religion and settlement patterns and the archaeology and ethnohistory of Guerrero, in particular the Postclassic Tlapa-Tlachinollan kingdom. He is the senior author of Códice Humboldt Fragmento 1 (Ms. amer. 2) y Códice Azoyú 2 reverso: Nómina de tributos de Tlapa y su provincia al Imperio Mexicano (bilingual edition) and the Toponimia náhuatl de los códices Azoyú 1 y 2: Un estudio crítico.
Exploring Warfare and Prisoner Capture in Indigenous Southern Central America
Eugenia Ibarra, Universidad de Costa Rica
This paper explores aspects of warfare and the capture of prisoners in southern Central America, including Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, based on archaeological, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic evidence. Using a regional perspective, I will consider both pre-Hispanic and later evidence for warfare and prisoner capture, with particular attention to the historical, ideological, and material contexts of violent conflict. In particular, I will take into consideration the impact of pre-Hispanic migrations in Mesoamerica after AD 800, the transformations wrought by the arrival of the Spaniards (and, later, other Europeans) in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, and the continuity of certain indigenous practices into the colonial and Republican periods.
Eugenia Ibarra is a specialist in southern Central American ethnohistory. She has been a professor of history and anthropology at the Universidad de Costa Rica. She is the author of several books, including Las sociedades cacicales de Costa Rica, siglo XVI (1990), which won the Premio Cleto González Víquez awarded by the Academia de Geografía e Historia de Costa Rica. She is also author of Las manchas del jaguar: Huellas indígenas en la historia de Costa Rica (1999) and Fronteras étnicas en la conquista de Nicaragua y Nicoya: Entre la solidaridad y el conflicto (2001), which won the Premio Nacional Aquileo J. Echeverría award in history. Her other books include Los indios mosquitos y la historia centroamericana: Del arco y la flecha a las armas de fuego (2011) and Pueblos que capturan: Esclavitud indígena al sur de América Central del siglo XVI al XIX (in press). She has been a summer fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in 2001 and 2009, and most recently a fellow at the Universidad de Costa Rica. She was the recipient of a grant from the South-South Exchange Programme for Research on the History of Development (SEPHIS) for research in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Colombia. Her current project examines indigenous peoples of the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica, just before and at the time of the Spanish conquest, with special attention to political organization and the exploitation of natural resources.
The Politics and Performance of War in Maya Society
Takeshi Inomata, University of Arizona
Although hieroglyphic texts indicate that warfare was prevalent in pre-Hispanic Maya society, direct evidence of intergroup physical conflicts is limited. Only a small number of fortifications, skeletal remains, and destroyed structures provide representations of battles. Depictions of violence were common in various media, including carved monuments, painted ceramics, and figurines, but the majority of these appear to refer to performances of combat rather than real war. The Maya enacted, re-experienced, and imagined war through rituals, and such enactments were then remembered through acts of image-making, viewing, and daily discourse. If this is so, then in order to understand Maya warfare, we need to examine the preparation of war, conduct in the battle field, and the remembrance and representation of war as an integrated whole. Enactments of war were closely tied to politics and ideologies concerning appropriate conduct in battle and the mobilization of warriors, supporting labor, and supplies. These rituals and daily practices constituted critical processes of power negotiation between different groups, including the ruler, other elites, commoners, men, and women.
In examining these political processes, this paper highlights archaeological data from Aguateca and Ceibal, which provide detailed historical contexts of various practices. Stratigraphic excavations at Ceibal illuminate deep historical roots of war and its performance during the Preclassic period, and extensive excavations at Aguateca present rare evidence of a direct attack on a settlement, as well detailed information on daily practices and rituals related to battles.
Takeshi Inomata is a professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona. His research interests include warfare, performance, politics, architecture, and households in Maya society. From 1990 through 2005, he conducted field investigations at Aguateca, Guatemala, focusing mainly on warfare and the fall of the center. His current project, initiated in 2006, examines social change during the Preclassic and Classic periods through extensive excavations at Ceibal, Guatemala. For these investigations, he has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Geographic Society, Sumitomo Foundation, Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, and other agencies. He has coauthored or coedited nine books, including Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya (2001), Archaeology of Performance (2006), The Classic Maya (2009), and Burned Palaces and Elite Residences of Aguateca (2010).
Debating Warfare in Late Formative Oaxaca
Arthur A. Joyce, University of Colorado, Boulder
For the past fifteen years, archaeologists in Oaxaca have debated the nature, extent, and significance of warfare during the Late/Terminal Formative period (400 BCE–250 CE). Researchers in the Oaxacan highlands have argued that frequent, large-scale warfare and territorial conquest were key factors in the origins of the Monte Albán state in the Valley of Oaxaca. These researchers further assert that military threats posed by Monte Albán had an even wider impact, resulting in the coalescence of state polities beyond the Monte Albán empire. Although recent versions of this predatory state model have acknowledged greater variability in Monte Albán's purported military engagements, in most areas beyond the Valley of Oaxaca the evidence for warfare and conquest initiated by Monte Albán continues to be problematic. In this paper, I review the evidence for warfare in Late/Terminal Formative-period Oaxaca. I focus on debates concerning warfare directed at the lower Río Verde Valley on the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca. I also consider the logistical difficulties that the Late/Terminal Formative Monte Albán state would have faced in sponsoring military campaigns and establishing imperial administrative outposts over such a large and rugged landscape. Through a consideration of warfare in other parts of Mesoamerica along with ethnohistoric data on conflict, I consider other factors that may have motivated interpolity warfare, including religious belief and political relations within polities. Although evidence for warfare is found in many parts of highland Oaxaca during the Late/Terminal Formative period, I conclude that the case for widespread territorial conquest by Monte Albán is weak. I offer suggestions for additional ways in which the predatory state model could be evaluated.
Arthur A. Joyce is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He received his PhD from Rutgers University in 1991. His research focuses on the Pre-Columbian peoples of Mesoamerica, particularly issues of power, political dynamics, and landscape. Since 1986, he has conducted interdisciplinary archaeological and paleoenvironmental research in Oaxaca. He is the author of Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Chatinos: Ancient Peoples of Southern Mexico (2010) and Arqueología de la costa de Oaxaca: Asentamientos del periodo formativo en el Valle del Río Verde Inferior (1998, with Marcus Winter and Raymond G. Mueller). His publications also include Domination, Negotiation, and Collapse: A History of Centralized Authority on the Oaxaca Coast, (in After Monte Albán: Transformations and Negotiation in Oaxaca, Mexico ) and Reconsidering Warfare in Formative Period Oaxaca (with Andrew Workinger, in Blood and Beauty: Organized Violence in the Art and Archaeology of the Mesoamerica and Central America ). He has held research fellowships from the American Museum of Natural History (1992–1993), Dumbarton Oaks (1999), and the American Council of Learned Societies (2006).
A Materiality of Opposition: On Ancient Conflict and Organization in Peru's North Highlands
George F. Lau, University of East Anglia
This presentation revisits the theme of warfare and complementarity in the Andes. It proceeds by asking a query of the current record, especially of the first millennium AD. If adaptation for Andean societies is about integration and complementarity, then why was there such great emphasis on the culture of warfare (e.g., forts, weapons, apparel, trophies, combat, etc.) whose purpose, it seems, centered on success and stylizing of the predation/nullification of others rather than their articulation? By way of a response, several propositions are examined; these are framed by evidence from the fortified hilltop town of Yayno (Ancash, Peru), its immediate hinterlands, and the Recuay cultural tradition (AD 1–700). First, opposition, both complementary and agonistic, was embedded in everyday social life and the material worlds. This can be located in diverse domains, from the idea of collectivity to house forms and defenses. Second, Andean warfare was a destructive activity as much as it was a basis for creativity and living. This point highlights the innovative ways by which Early Intermediate period groups, especially indigenous nobles and their artisans, reworked principles of opposition into local chiefly narratives. Manifested through violent practice and artworks, Yayno and other polities across the Andes increasingly stressed newfound power relations that married complementary as well as agonistic forms of opposition. The presentation concludes with an entreaty for a critical, sensitive approach to de-pacifying the past, one that recognizes entanglements between archaeological work and the ongoing legacies of organized violence for contemporary groups throughout the Americas.
George F. Lau is a lecturer in the Arts of the Americas at the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, University of East Anglia. He specializes in the archaeology of South America, especially the Peruvian Andes. His fieldwork investigates the pre-Hispanic communities of the Recuay tradition in Peru's north highlands. His publications, including Ancient Community and Economy at Chinchawas (2010) and Andean Expressions: Archaeology and Art of the Recuay Culture (2011), highlight the ways that local social life and material culture are enmeshed with regional processes of social complexity, such as exchange, identity, art production, and ritual. He is also one of the editors of the new interdisciplinary journal World Art.
Examining the Extent and Variability of Inca Conquest Warfare
Dennis Ogburn, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
By all accounts, warfare was an essential tool of Inca imperial expansion and maintenance. The Incas waged war against other Andean societies in order to incorporate them into the empire and to re-conquer rebellious provinces. In addition, the constant threat of military action was used to keep provincial subjects under control. However, warfare has been understudied in analyses of Inca imperialism and, as a result, we have but a superficial understanding of the extent, variability, and details of Inca conquest warfare. This is due to the difficulty of recognizing warfare in the archaeological record and the reliance on ethnohistoric accounts, which have been used to produce impressionistic rather than systematic portraits of Inca military activity. As a result, opinions vary widely regarding the strength of the Inca military, the frequency of conquest warfare, and the stability of the empire. Here I use ethnohistorical and archaeological data to explore the extent and variability of Inca warfare and its archaeological implications so that it can be better integrated into our analyses of Inca imperialism. First, I endeavor to analyze historical sources systematically to assess the frequency of warfare in Inca imperial expansion and maintenance. Second, I address the methodological questions that surround archaeological investigation of Inca warfare: How does one determine if a region was conquered militarily or incorporated through diplomacy? How frequently did battles take place at fortified sites versus open-air battlefields? How did pitched battles proceed? And what types of archaeological sites were created or utilized by the advancing Inca army?
Dennis Ogburn is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and a faculty affiliate of the Latin American Studies Program at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. His primary theoretical interest is the development of preindustrial empires, focusing specifically on the expansion and maintenance of the Inca Empire of the Andes. Although much of his fieldwork has been conducted in the Saraguro region of southern Ecuador, he has also been involved in projects in northern Ecuador and the Nasca and Cucso regions of Peru. In his research, he employs archaeological methods such as settlement survey, geochemical sourcing, and GIS in combination with ethnohistory. He was coeditor of Foundations of Power in the Prehispanic Andes (2005), a volume of the Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, and has published articles in Latin American Antiquity, Ethnohistory, and the Journal of Archaeological Science, among others. Topics of some of those publications include the provisioning of the Inca army during wartime, the long‐distance movement of building stones in the Inca Empire, and indigenous ethnogenesis in the context of Inca and Spanish colonialism. He earned his PhD and MA at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his BA from Rice University.
Invasion: The Maya at War, 1520s–1540s
Matthew Restall, Pennsylvania State University
The uncovering of indigenous voices, especially through the examination of native-language sources, has recently created a revolution in the study of colonial Mesoamerica. Beginning in the 1970s, but reaching fruition within the last two decades, two closely related schools of study have emerged: the New Philology and the New Conquest History. The latter, the NCH, has dramatically reoriented our perspectives on the wars of invasion and conquest in sixteenth-century Mesoamerica, partly by carefully analyzing documents in native languages and partly by mining the archives for multiple Spanish and indigenous viewpoints.
This paper seeks to make a contribution to the NCH. My purpose is to analyze indigenous and Spanish accounts of the military conflicts that took place in Mesoamerica from the 1520s to the 1540s, paying particular-but not exclusive-attention to the two Maya regions of northern Yucatan and highland Guatemala. I aim to draw a set of basic cause-and-effect, how-and-why conclusions from the primary sources, but also to concentrate on whatever perspectives were offered in writing by the Maya themselves. In other words, I hope to write a brief ethnohistory of the Maya military response to outside invasion. The questions I shall be asking include: What strategies did the Maya employ in response to Spanish-Nahua incursions? Is there evidence to suggest that the Maya viewed these wars as different from previous wars? How relevant are terms and concepts such as ritual violence and guerilla warfare? What role did the environment-both in general and in terms of battle sites-play? How revealing are contrasts between regions (Guatemala vs. Yucatan) and decades (1520s vs. 1540s)? Finally, how were some Maya groups and communities able to resist invasion and conquest for years, even decades, and why did some eventually succumb while others remained independent?
Matthew Restall is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Colonial Latin American History, Anthropology, and Women's Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, where he also directs the Latin American Studies program. He was educated at Oxford University and the University of California, Los Angeles, and specializes in colonial Yucatan and Mexico, Maya history, the Spanish Conquest, and Africans in Spanish America. Since 1995, he has published over forty articles and essays and a dozen books, including The Maya World: Yucatec Culture and Society, 1550–1850 (1997), Maya Conquistador (1998), and Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest (2003). He received National Endowment for the Humanities and Guggenheim fellowships for 1997–1998, 2001–2002, and 2003–2004. His recent books include two edited volumes, Beyond Black and Red (2005) and Black Mexico (2009), and two coauthored volumes, Mesoamerican Voices (2005) and Invading Guatemala (2007). He is the series editor of Penn State Press's Latin American Originals and coeditor of the journal Ethnohistory. His most recent monograph is The Black Middle: Africans, Mayas, and Spaniards in Colonial Yucatan (2009). In 2011, he has three coauthored volumes coming out: The Conquistadors (with Felipe Fernández-Armesto), Latin America in Colonial Times (with Kris Lane), and 2012 and the End of the World (with Amara Solari).
War in the West: History, Landscape, and Classic Maya Conflict
Andrew K. Scherer, Brown University & Charles Golden, Brandeis University
Iconography and epigraphy provide definitive evidence for warfare among the Classic-period Maya, yet the archaeological evidence of such conflict is often ambiguous. However, recent regional investigations in the Middle Usumacinta River basin provide compelling archaeological evidence for the scope and scale of Classic-period Maya warfare. Integrating data from field survey, excavation, GIS analysis, epigraphy, and iconography, we underscore the central importance of warfare in the geopolitical history of the western Maya lowlands. Warfare was more than ritual and theater; it had significant implications for the evolution of Classic-period Maya polities. For Maya dynasts, battle was an important tool for consolidating authority and establishing the legitimacy to rule. However, kingly preoccupation with the identities and place of origin of particular captives, some of whom were remembered centuries after battles took place, reveals underlying geopolitical concerns for Maya conflict. During the earlier centuries of the Classic period, the biography of war was the monopoly of the king. As dynasts became increasingly concerned with territorial control, however, war captains and border lords were not only incorporated into the narrative of victory but in some cases became the chief protagonists. The establishment of fortified secondary centers provides an archaeological correlate for the proliferation of subordinate lords in the iconography and further underscores the growing preoccupation with territorial control in the broken landscape of the Usumacinta basin in the final years of the Classic period.
Andrew K. Scherer is an assistant professor of anthropology at Brown University. He has completed nine seasons of archaeological fieldwork in the middle Usumacinta River Basin of Guatemala and Mexico. He has published a variety of articles pertaining to the archaeology of the western Maya Lowlands and is especially interested in the regional, diachronic, and comparative study of Maya polities. As a bioarchaeologist, he has researched diet and health at Piedras Negras, the population history of the Classic Maya Lowlands, violence at Colha, Belize, and royal mortuary rites at El Zotz, Guatemala. Scherer was a fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in 2008–2009. His research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program, and the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies.
Charles Golden is an associate professor of anthropology and Latin American and Latino studies at Brandeis University, and has conducted archaeological research in Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. He has worked in the Usumacinta region since 1997, most recently as codirector of the Sierra del Lacandón Regional Archaeology Project in Petén and the Proyecto Arqueológico Budsilha-Chocolja in Chiapas. His research interests concern the dynamic social and political boundaries between Maya kingdoms and the cultural significance of temporal boundaries, history, and social memory for the ancient Maya. Golden is coeditor of Continuities and Changes in Maya Archaeology (2004, with Greg Borgstede), Maya Archaeology I (2009, with Stephen Houston and Joel Skidmore), and Piedras Negras Archaeology, 1931–1939 (2005, with John Weeks and Jane Hill), and was a fellow in Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in 2007–2008.
The Fall of Kuelap: Bioarchaeological Analysis of Death and Destruction on the Eastern Slopes of the Andes
J. Marla Toyne, University of Central Florida
In this paper, I will discuss the analysis of the human skeletal remains from Kuelap, in the northeastern highlands of Peru, from a context that marks the terminal occupation of the site. Evidence demonstrates that a large number of adults (mostly men) and children were bludgeoned to death during an attack at the southern end of the site soon after the Spanish arrived in the area. The remains were buried under wall fall from destroyed stone houses around them. Unique trauma evidence from weapon impact signatures indicates inter-indigenous violence during the early historic period. This context does not reflect raiding or warfare for territorial conquest of the site, nor is it consistent with patterns of ritual violence, where sacrifices are offered within prescribed sacred ideologies. Based on the nature of the deposit, sample demography, and perimortem trauma patterns, this event was one of directed slaughter. It may represent a specific politically motivated attack against one of the most powerful sites in the region. Alternatively, considering the restricted area within which the remains were found, this may be an internally based struggle that shifted power (both religious and political) from one end of the site to another. Regardless, a massacre of this scale would have dramatically altered the nature of Kuelap society and its role within the greater Chachapoya region.
J. Marla Toyne is a physical anthropologist who specializes in human skeletal biology, paleopathology, bioarchaeology, and stable isotope science. She earned her BA and MA from the University of Western Ontario. Her PhD was awarded by Tulane University. She pursued anthropological postdoctoral research at the University of Western Ontario in the Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida. She has been awarded research grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the National Geographic Society. Her primary area of investigation is Andean South America, where she engages in contextually based research focusing on the analysis of ancient skeletal and mummified remains in order to explore broader anthropological interests, including the biocultural identification of violence and warfare, ritual activities, ethnic identity, mortuary complexity in ancient civilizations, and Andean prehistoric and contact-period social interactions.
A Social Bioarchaeology of Militarism and Ritualism in the Wari Empire
Tiffiny A. Tung, Vanderbilt University
In the Wari Empire (AD 600–1000), depictions of violence in the visual arts, coupled with the physical remains of traumatized bodies and the display of human body parts, both narrated stories of violence and aided in their creation. The militarism and ritual violence, as well as the depictions of them, served to celebrate and perhaps normalize violent behaviors, both in the context of war and ceremony. Through a study of skeletal trauma and postmortem dismemberment, this paper explores how an ideology of violence was continually reified in Wari society. As I argue, the acts that produced injured and systematically dismembered and displayed bodies recursively legitimated the performance and promotion of violence and war-related activities. In this way, we can see how acts of violence were both responsive to, and generative of, the factors that shape and condition them. This study also shows how violence, ritual, and Wari imperialism were tightly interwoven in the constitution of individuals and society. That is, warriors and ritual specialists who carried out the aggressive acts created and reaffirmed their own identity of authority, while simultaneously establishing notions of military and ritual exceptionalism in Wari society.
Tiffiny A. Tung is an associate professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University. She is an anthropological bioarchaeologist who investigates how ancient imperial policies and practices structure health status, exposure to violence, and lived experience of ruling and subject peoples. Her research on the bioarchaeology of imperialism has focused on the Wari Empire of the Peruvian Andes, and more recently on the Inka Empire and early Spanish Empire in Peru. She is particularly interested in exploring how sociopolitical conditions structure violence and how it affects distinct subgroups within a population. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Current Anthropology, and Latin American Antiquity, among other journals and edited volumes. She is the author of the forthcoming volume Violence, Ritual, and the Wari Empire: A Social Bioarchaeology of Imperialism in the Ancient Andes.
Warfare and Captive Sacrifice among the Moche of Ancient Peru: The Battle Continues
John Verano, Tulane University
Until 1995, the sacrifice of captives by the Moche was known only from depictions in Moche art. Armed combat and the taking of captives, also common themes in Moche iconography, were largely invisible in the archaeological record. This was in contrast to offerings of human lives in funerary contexts (retainer burials accompanying high-status individuals), which were documented archaeologically as early as 1946 in the Virú Valley (Tomb of the Warrior Priest) and subsequently at various north coast sites
While the archaeological evidence of captive sacrifice by the Moche is now unequivocal, debate continues over the context in which captives were taken (warfare or ritual combat), the source of captives (locals or outsiders), and the ritual and political significance of prisoner capture and sacrifice in Moche society. Multiple lines of evidence, including mitochondrial DNA comparisons between victims and local population samples, biodistance comparisons based on dental traits, and stable isotopic analysis of bone and teeth have been used in an attempt to identify the source of captives. Trauma patterns (healed and perimortem) also have been used to explore the life history of victims and events leading to their capture. The archaeological context and postmortem treatment of victims' remains provides additional insight into how captives may have been perceived by their captors.
John Verano is a physical anthropologist who specializes in human osteology, paleopathology, bioarchaeology, and forensic anthropology. He is a professor of anthropology at Tulane University, where he teaches courses in human osteology, paleopathology, forensic anthropology, and South American archaeology. His primary research area is Andean South America, with a particular focus on prehistoric populations of coastal and highland Peru. Research interests include pathology in ancient skeletal and mummified remains, trepanation and other ancient surgery, and warfare, human sacrifice, and mortuary practices. His fieldwork includes collaborative research with a number of international and Peruvian archaeological projects, including the Pacatnamú Project (1983–1987), Proyecto Arqueológico Huaca Rajada/Sipán (1987–present), Proyecto Arqueológico Huaca de La Luna (1995–present), Proyecto Arqueológico Complejo El Brujo (1995–present), and the Proyecto Arqueológico Huarmey (2003–present). His field studies include analyzing human remains recovered from excavations, as well as assisting and directing the excavation of burials and sacrificial contexts. He has published extensively on warfare and human sacrifice in Peru, with a particular focus on the Moche.