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Debra Martin – “Hard Times in Dry Lands: Apocalypse in the Ancient Southwest or Business as Usual?”

Note: This post refers to an event that took place on Mar 21, 2016.

The bioarchaeological record has an abundance of scientific evidence using skeletal indicators of trauma to argue for a long history of internal and external group conflict in the ancient Southwest. However, the findings suggest variability, nuance and unevenness in the type, use and meaning of violence and therefore defy simple generalizations. Documenting human behavior during particularly challenging changes in the ancient Southwest has revealed both unique and patterned responses with respect to the use of warfare and violence, migration, and social reorganization. By using fine-grained biocultural analyses that interrogate trauma data in particular places at particular times in reconstructed archaeological contexts, a more comprehensive and nuanced view into the histories and experiences of Southwestern people emerges. This has applicability to thinking about the effects of climate change in arid environments today.