Emily Sharp

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Arizona State U.

Grant number

Gr. 9434

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Sharp, Emily A., Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Investigating Cultural and Direct Violence in the Prehispanic North-Central Andes,' supervised by Dr. Jane Buikstra

Preliminary abstract: Anthropologists have long demonstrated how cultural norms and attitudes structure practices of violence. Modern peace studies suggest that the normalization and legitimization of violence through cultural norms is a distinct type of violence itself–cultural violence. Less clear, however, are the material conditions and historical circumstances surrounding these processes. By incorporating such perspectives, the proposed research seeks to systematically analyze correlations between cultural violence and the physical, or direct, consequences of violence in the ancient Andes. Archaeologists suggest violence was prevalent in the Andean Early Intermediate Period (AD 1-700) based on warrior iconography depicted on pottery and stone sculptures and the proliferation of fortified sites. In the subsequent period, the Middle Horizon (AD 700-1000), the production of these images decreased and communities moved to valley locations. For both time periods, it is unknown whether individuals in the Recuay territory actually engaged in violent conflicts because published data on skeletal trauma is lacking. To test if the proliferation and cessation of warrior imagery in the two time periods structured practices of direct violence, this project examines evidence of cranial trauma across six archaeological sites in the Callejón de Huaylas, Peru. Preliminary analyses reveal moderate amounts of skeletal trauma. To investigate diachronic change in trauma rates, radiocarbon dating is required to evaluate if cultural constructions of warriorhood in the Early Intermediate Period correlated with participation in actual physical combat. This research will contribute valuable theoretical insights into the production and reproduction of violence in society.