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Abstract

Violence against women especially as a result from raiding and abduction of women was a common and world-wide phenomenon that has been part of human history for a very long time. Its persistence into today’s globalized commodity market, where women are used as sex and domestic slaves against their will, demonstrates how institutionalized this form of violence is. Gendered violence is found in many different contexts, but it is most sustained in groups that practice raiding and abduction of women (and often children). Raiding, as part of endemic warfare strategies, is cyclical and part of a long-term strategy with economic and political implications for both males and females. How can these kinds of practices be empirically supported by the bioarchaeological record and what are the effects of these practices? The taphonomic and mortuary component of human remains is crucial in answering these questions. The bioarchaeological signature of forced captivity includes healed head wounds, healed broken bones, and a variety of trauma-related musculo-skeletal changes. Women in unusual mortuary configurations with healed fractures, inflamed muscles, infections, and other signs of abuse reveal the biological costs of this form violence.

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