Chapter

Meaning and the Bioarchaeology of Captivity, Sacrifice, and Cannibalism: A Case Study from the Mississippian Period at Larson, Illinois

Mallorie A. Hatch

in The Bioarchaeology of Violence

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041506
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043876 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813041506.003.0011
Meaning and the Bioarchaeology of Captivity, Sacrifice, and Cannibalism: A Case Study from the Mississippian Period at Larson, Illinois

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The concepts of captivity, sacrifice, and cannibalism are often identified in the past, but the reality is that the signature of these practices left on the bones is not easily identifiable. The intent of this chapter by Mallorie A. Hatch is to assess the validity of the bioarchaeological correlates assigned to these violent encounters. The focus is the analysis of a commingled burial pit at the Mississippian Larsen site in Illinois that contains elements from at least 10 individuals. Mallorie A. Hatch discusses the difficulties of differentiating between warfare, cannibalism, and secondary mortuary processing as the cause of commingled burials. The importance of this research is that it illustrates the complexities that bioarchaeologists need to consider when studying trauma in the past.

Keywords: Captivity; Sacrifice; Cannibalism; Commingled burials; Secondary processing; Taphonomy

Chapter.  7940 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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