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Revista del Museo de Antropología

Print version ISSN 1852-060XOn-line version ISSN 1852-4826


GORDON, Florencia. Analytical criteria for the study of conflict in the past: A case study in hunter-gatherers from north Patagonia. Rev. Mus. Antropol. [online]. 2015, vol.8, n.1, pp.67-78. ISSN 1852-060X.

The interpretation of conflict in past societies is an ambiguous process that can either underestimate or overestimate the levels of violence. The aim of this paper is to present methodology applied to the study of interpersonal violence patterns in hunter-gatherers groups from Northeastern Patagonia during the late Holocene (4000-350 years BP). While the main explored line of evidence was the bioarchaeological one, independent and complementary lines were taken into account (i.e. types of artifacts potentially used in violence contexts in the region and cross-cultural, ethnographic and ethnohistorical relevant information). A total of 797 skulls were analyzed to discern spatial, temporal, sex and age patterns. Prior to the survey of injuries in the skulls, their degree of preservation was assessed. For the interpretation of a particular type of trauma (i.e. linear depressions) an experimental design was developed. The lesions were described macroscopically and microscopically. A statistical evaluation was performed on two levels according to the degree of ambiguity of each lesion. A methodology based on independent and complementary lines, as well as the use of forensic and bioarchaeological criteria were adequate tools to analyze violence patterns in Northeastern Patagonia during the late Holocene.

Keywords : Interpersonal Violence; Methodology; Bioarchaeology; Hunter-Gatherers; Northeastern Patagonia.

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