Early Evidence for Fijian Cannibalism? Refining the Methods for Identifying Cannibalism in the Archaeological Record

Date
2014-01-15
Authors
Rieth, Timothy
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract
Cannibalism has been, and remains, a controversial topic. Despite the fact that thousands of species (Crump 1 99 1 ; Dong and Polis 1 992; Elgar and Crespi 1 992), including our closest genetic relative the chimpanzee, have been documented committing cannibalistic acts (Nishida and Kawanaka 1985; Norikoshi 1982), the assertion that cannibalism has occurred among human groups often sparks a heated debate. Archaeology has become an arena for these debates. The contentious nature of this topic requires a strict analytic method to identify and document evidence for cannibalism in the archaeological record. In this paper, I have focused on refining the methods used for identifying the archaeological evidence ofcannibalism. Human skeletal remains excavated from Olo, site Y2-25, Waya Island, Fiji were examined as a case study.
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