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    This study uses osteological and radiocarbon datasets combined with formal quantitative analyses to test hypotheses concerning the character of conflict in the Nasca highlands during the Late Intermediate Period (LIP, 950-1450 C.E.). We develop and test osteological expectations regarding what patterns should be observed if violence was characterized by intragroup violence, ritual conflict, intermittent raiding, or internecine warfare. Crania (n = 267) were examined for antemortem and perimortem, overkill, and critical trauma. All age groups and both sexes are represented in the sample. One hundred twenty-four crania were AMS dated, allowing a detailed analysis of diachronic patterns in violence among various demographic groups. Thirty-eight percent (102/267) of crania exhibit some form of cranial trauma, a significant increase from the preceding Middle Horizon era. There are distinct trauma frequencies within the three subphases of the LIP, but Phase III (1300-1450 C.E.) exhibits the highest frequencies of all trauma types. Males exhibit significantly more antemortem trauma than females, but both exhibit similar perimortem trauma rates. There was chronic, internecine warfare throughout the Late Intermediate Period with important variations in violence throughout the three temporal phases. Evidence for heterogeneity in violent mortality shows a pattern consistent with social substitutability, whereby any and all members of the Nasca highland population were appropriate targets for lethal and sublethal violence. We argue that by testing hypotheses regarding the targets and types of conflict we are better able to explain the causes and consequences of human conflict. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC.


    Weston C McCool, Tiffiny A Tung, Joan Brenner Coltrain, Aldo Javier Accinelli Obando, Douglas J Kennett. The character of conflict: A bioarchaeological study of violence in the Nasca highlands of Peru during the Late Intermediate Period (950-1450 C.E.). American journal of physical anthropology. 2021 Apr;174(4):614-630

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    PMID: 33382102

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