|Remains found in Contra Costa County, California, included a projectile point embedded in the bone. The burial was dated to between 500 amd 1500 BCE. (Photo by Randy Wiberg)|
From shooting their enemies with darts and arrows to crushing their skulls and even harvesting body parts as trophies, the ancient foragers of central California engaged in sporadic, and sometimes severe, violence, according to a new archaeological study spanning 5,000 years.
In an effort to understand life and death in one of the ancient West’s most populous regions, anthropologists conducted a landmark study of its dead, cataloging signs of violence found in burials between the Sierra Nevada and the San Francisco Bay, dating from historic times all the way back to 3000 BCE.
After 13 years of mining the data, the researchers identified what they say is a complex pattern of episodic violence, driven by forces as diverse as competition for territory, pressure from a changing climate, and the arrival of Europeans.
Chronicling 16,820 burials from 329 sites among 13 different ethnographic groups, the data reveal that the most common type of violence over the millennia was so-called sharp-force trauma, caused by projectiles like arrows or atlatl darts, which appeared in 7.2% of the burials studied. [...] westerndigs.org
Actualización 06-05-14: 5.000 años de violencia en California Central