Taft Alford

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Thesis title: STICKS, STONES, AND BROKEN BONES: OSTEOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF HUMAN SKELETAL REMAINS FROM THE BLUFF CREEK SITE 1LU59 

Major Professor: Nicholas Herrmann

Remains from twenty-four human burials recovered from the Bluff Creek Site (1LU59) in Alabama exhibited evidence of interpersonal conflict trauma. When the victims of interpersonal conflict were placed in their approximate time period, it became apparent that frequencies of interpersonal conflict changed over time, from the Archaic (15.4%) to Woodland (6.7%) to Mississippian (45.5%) periods. These changes are explained by changes in settlement patterns and associated stress over resource competition. As Archaic hunter-gatherers became less mobile and settled in to small "hamlets", the stress over competition for resources was reduced, causing the frequency of interpersonal conflict trauma to fall slightly in the Woodland period. The significant rise in the frequency for the Mississippian is related to the shift in settlement patterns from "hamlets" to large villages. As the large villages began to compete for resource territory, stress over competition for resources also increased.

 


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