Tulane Anthropology Colloquium
March 29, 2019 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Violence, Food Insecurity, and Body Desecration: A Bioarchaeological and Isotopic Study of Climate Change and Imperial Decline in the Peruvian Andes
This talk examines how long-term drought and the decline of states in the ancient Andes can be embodied within individuals, with particular focus on the Wari state in Peru, dating from A.D. 600 through 1000, and the aftermath of Wari decline. Analyses of skeletal samples demonstrate frequency and forms of violence enacted against children and adults, and carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses show how diets changed and whether they became more differentiated between subgroups within Wari territory. Preliminary data show that the rate of violence significantly increased through time, and deadly violence became significantly more common against all sex and age groups. The high levels of trauma and the desecration of bodies in the post-Wari drought era suggest that it was a time of intense conflict. Dietary practices also changed, revealing new gender differences in food access and diet, and diets became more heterogeneous, suggesting greater gender and social inequalities in access to certain categories of foods. More broadly, these data speak to anthropological issues regarding the health impact of two distinct but interrelated processes: state decline and climate change.
Sponsored by the Tulane Anthropology Student Association (TASA), the Department of Anthropology, the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Environmental Studies program (EVST), and the Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT).
Tiffiny Tung, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University