Debra L. Martin

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Nevada, Las Vegas, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10656

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Martin, Debra (Nevada, Las Vegas, U. of) "Cultural Patterning of Gender Violence in Early Small-Scale Societies (15,000-1200 BCE)"

Documenting the culturally specific ways that violence is used in small scale societies is important because it provides a baseline regarding the origins and diversity of violence against and among women in human groups. While male violence and warfare has historically been the focus of violence studies, data on gender violence in early small-scale societies have been less forthcoming. In this study, detailed analyses of healed and unhealed head wounds are used as a proxy for both nonlethal and lethal interpersonal violence. Bioarchaeological data (metric and observational) will be obtained from over 3000 adults (women and men) from burials dating from 15,000 to 1200 years ago. These data will complement and expand interpretations of the existence and patterning of gender violence. Distinguishing among accidental, occupational and interpersonal causes of trauma to the head using new methods provides a rich and nuanced approach. This study will reveal where, when and why violence against women was present (or not). It may also reveal, in some cases, violence used by females. In sum, this information is crucial for placing gender violence within a broader anthropological and evolutionary perspective regarding the important role that different forms of violence have played in human history.