Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)

Degree Level





Jerome C. Rose

Committee Member

JoAnn D'Alisera

Second Committee Member

George Sabo III


Biocultural, Cahokia, Illinois, Mississippian, Mortuary, Mound 72, Violence, Warfare


Acts of violence are not always easily distinguished in their form. Given the additional difficulties caused by the obscure nature of the archaeological record, it is no wonder that interpretations of these behaviors are so skewed both between and within fields of research. There is little consistency in this academic dialogue, which prevents researchers from grappling with the larger perspectives that should be approached. For instance, just how far back in our human history have events such as genocide occurred? Are these modern in origin? The scale of ancient events and our anthropological scopes need more adjustment to the unique conditions of the archaeological context if we seek to gain the deep-time perspective. In this dissertation, I am opening that dialogue between the fields of anthropology by comparing modern cases of violence to some events in the distant past by using Mound 72, Cahokia as the case study. Ultimately, I conclude that our current definitions of populations that are protected by international laws do not reflect current anthropological thinking, across all fields, about the flexibility in notions of population identity and identification. The rigid interpretations that have been employed to date in these laws are too restrictive and do little to enhance the protection for many targeted populations.