Latin American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence

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This groundbreaking multidisciplinary book presents significant essays on historical indigenous violence in Latin America from Tierra del Fuego to central Mexico. The collection explores those uniquely human motivations and environmental variables that have led to the native peoples of Latin America engaging in warfare and ritual violence since antiquity. Based on an American Anthropological Association symposium, this book collects twelve contributions from sixteen authors, all of whom are scholars at the forefront of their fields of study.

All of the chapters advance our knowledge of the causes, extent, and consequences of indigenous violence—including ritualized violence—in Latin America. Each major historical/cultural group in Latin America is addressed by at least one contributor. Incorporating the results of dozens of years of research, this volume documents evidence of warfare, violent conflict, and human sacrifice from the fifteenth century to the twentieth, including incidents that occurred before European contact. Together the chapters present a convincing argument that warfare and ritual violence have been woven into the fabric of life in Latin America since remote antiquity.

For the first time, expert subject-area work on indigenous violence—archaeological, osteological, ethnographic, historical, and forensic—has been assembled in one volume. Much of this work has heretofore been dispersed across various countries and languages. With its collection into one English-language volume, all future writers—regardless of their discipline or point of view—will have a source to consult for further research.



Richard J. Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza

1.  Status Rivalry and Warfare in the Development and Collapse of Classic Maya Civilization
Matt O’Mansky and Arthur A. Demarest

2.  Aztec Militarism and Blood Sacrifice: The Archaeology and Ideology of Ritual Violence
Rubén G. Mendoza

3.  Territorial Expansion and Primary State Formation in Oaxaca, Mexico
Charles S. Spencer

4.  Images of Violence in Mesoamerican Mural Art
Donald McVicker

5.  Circum-Caribbean Chiefly Warfare
Elsa M. Redmond

6.  Conflict and Conquest in Pre-Hispanic Andean South America: Archaeological Evidence from Northern Coastal Peru
John W. Verano

7.  The Inti Raymi Festival among the Cotacachi and Otavalo of Highland Ecuador: Blood for the Earth
Richard J. Chacon, Yamilette Chacon, and Angel Guandinango

8.  Upper Amazonian Warfare
Stephen Beckerman and James Yost

9.  Complexity and Causality in Tupinambá Warfare
William Balée

10.  Hunter-Gatherers’ Aboriginal Warfare in Western Chaco
Marcela Mendoza

11.  The Struggle for Social Life in Fuego-Patagonia
Alfredo Prieto and Rodrigo Cárdenas

12.  Ethical Considerations and Conclusions Regarding Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence in Latin America
Richard J. Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza

About the Contributors
“This book effectively challenges a modern myth and deserves a broad audience. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”--CHOICE

"No single book has attempted to integrate so many examples from such a large area in such a systematic fashion. It synthesizes into a coherent whole a great deal of information that has been quite diffuse. All of the interpretations seem cogent, credible, and compelling. I see this as a useful and convenient source of information and ideas for many years to come." —Jeffrey R. Parsons
Latin American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence
304 Pages 6 x 9 x 0.9 Published: 2007 Paperback (9780816540099)
Ebook (9780816543946)

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