Dr. Amber VanDerwarker (UCSB) will be giving a talk on Friday, May 16th at 4:00pm in SSRB 343 (South American Archaeology lab). This will be an excellent talk about recent research being done in the Midwest – a much needed North American archaeology-based talk (see title and abstract below).
Farming, Gathering, and Fishing in Times of War: The effects of chronic and pervasive intergroup violence on daily foodways in the Mississippian-period Central Illinois River Valley.
Amber M. VanDerwarker, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
This presentation explores the impacts of chronic warfare on the everyday lives of people living in the 13th-century Central Illinois River Valley. Archaeological data linking escalating violence with both settlement nucleation and declining health in the Central Illinois River Valley from A.D. 1200 to 1425 reveal that the causal dimensions of warfare were not restricted to political centralization and collapse but reshaped other, more mundane aspects of life. Theoretically, most studies of ancient warfare focus on the causes of violence, and if consequences are addressed, they are often considered in terms of their impacts on political development or collapse. More rarely are the effects of violence on everyday lives investigated, which is the main objective of this research. To this end, the talk examines macrobotanical and vertebrate assemblages from four sites that date consecutively (two that pre-date and two that post-date the escalation of regional violence). It is argued that the intensification of violence in this region had significant ramifications for agricultural and foraging strategies in a manner that would have reduced the amount of time villagers spent away from the protected limits of their palisaded villages.