3,000 Years of Skeletal Trauma: Analysis of Accidental and Interpersonal Injuries from the Development of Early Social Complexity to Spanish Colonization IN Lambayeque, Peru (2800 BCE-1750 CE)



Snell, Lucy

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The results of all forms of skeletal trauma in a diachronic sequence of 3,100 skeletal individuals from Lambayeque, Peru present insight into social, political, ideological, and environmental changes in pre-Hispanic and postcontact era. These native peoples lived and died between 2800 BCE-1750CE – from the dawn of early social complexity to the rise of large-scale states and the era of Spanish colonization. Through analysis of skeletal trauma prevalence between pre-Hispanic and postcontact era along with analysis of sex differentiation and cut mark prevalence allows for the presentation of a holistic trauma study. This work quantified bone fractures, blunt force injuries, interpersonal trauma, activity based injuries, and sharp force trauma. Prevalence differences were evaluated using odds ratio analyses comparing trauma across the Formative era, development of pre-Hispanic states, and the Colonial period. Our results lead us to reject all but one of the hypotheses. The only exception involves evidence of large-scale late pre-Hispanic sacrificial violence. The near lack of accident-related injuries and other skeletal trauma likely reflects the minimally hazardous regional topography, influence of structural violence, and use of sacrifice in a social hierarchy. The rarity of interpersonal injuries speaks to mechanisms besides institutionalized violence to integrate peoples in the states of late prehistory. Following Spanish conquest, trauma declines in the Lambayeque skeletal record. While many lines of evidence describe embedded patterns of Colonial-era violence (labor extraction, structural violence, racism, coercive socioecoomic structures), these forces evidently only very rarely broke bones.



Bioarchaeology, Trauma, Fracture, Sacrifice, Violence, Peru