The peaceful and mysterious Anasazi….

cliff-dwellings-coloradowere violent cannibals.

“Previous archaeological and osteological (bone) studies have strongly indicated that cannibalistic episodes took place in the prehistoric Southwest, but the evidence has been essentially circumstantial. “Now, we’ve identified biochemical remains of human tissue in a coprolite, which is the term used for prehistoric human feces,” Billman said. “Analysis of the coprolite, and associated remains, at last provides definitive evidence for sporadic cannibalism in the Southwest.”

* human blood residue on two stone tools used in butchering

* human myoglobin, which could only come from human muscle, in the human excrement and on a cooking pot.

* cutmarks and charring on human bones, including skulls, entirely consistent with food preparation.

* no evidence of other mammals, corn or other vegetable matter in the coprolite, which suggested that other food was unavailable.

Along with other researchers, they have identified 18 occurrences of cannibalism, nine of which occurred between about AD 1150 and 1200 in the Mesa Verde area. Once environmental conditions improved after 1200, there is little indication of cannibalism in the Southwest.

“Unlike cultures in New Guinea and Fiji, historic Puebloan people and other Native Americans in the Southwest did not practice cannibalism,” Billman said. “Somehow or other, they figured out a way of stopping this form of terroristic violence. One of the reasons modern Puebloan people object so strenuously to our talking about this is that they have extreme taboos against cannibalism, and it’s about the worst thing you can do in their society.” Cannibalism has occurred in a wide range of societies for a wide variety of reasons, including starvation, ancestor worship and political terrorism, the scientist wrote.

“With presentation of the first direct evidence of cannibalism in the American Southwest in the prehistoric era, we hope that the debate will shift from the question of whether or not cannibalism occurred to questions concerning the social context, causes and consequences of these events.”

This information is documented in several different journals, in case you thought this was fringe science by someone with an agenda. And, I dunno, weirder things have happened.

The remains of 12 people were discovered at the site, designated 5MT10010, but only five were from burials. The other seven appear to have been systematically dismembered, defleshed, their bones battered, and in some cases burned or stewed, leaving them in the same condition as bones of animals used for food. Cut marks, fractures, and other stone-tool scars were present on the bones, and the light color of some suggests stewing. Patterns of burning indicate that many were exposed to flame while still covered with flesh, which is what would be expected after cooking over a fire.

Patricia Lambert of Utah State University and Brian Billman and Banks Leonard of Soil Systems, the contract archaeology firm that excavated 5MT10010, propose that cannibalism was associated with violent conflict between Anasazi communities in the mid-1100s, contemporary with a period of drought and the collapse of the Chaco system. They note a sharp increase in evidence of cannibalism between 1130 and 1150, followed in each case by the abandonment of the site, then a decrease in the early 1200s as the climate improved.

And in case you want a long-form writeup:

In 1993, archaeologists made a major theoretical advancement by showing strong archaeological evidence of customary cannibalism in the American Southwest. A husband and wife team, Christy and Jacqueline Turner, analyzed hundreds of sites over the span of decades in the Anasazi cultural region and found that sites with strong evidence of cannibalism were not randomly distributed. Instead, the sites were exclusively located within the Anasazi culture area—none in the surrounding regions despite those regions having “more severe winters [which] should have produced some cannibalized assemblages if starvation had been the primary cause.” Moreover, survival-cannibalism could not explain why the bodies uncovered by Turner and Turner were so battered and beaten—the markings indicating torture-like trauma. With starvation-cannibalism ruled out, customary cannibalism became heavily inferred. Turner and Turner solidify this inference by turning to the historical record and showing that this outcropping of cannibalism was likely spurred by the spread of Aztec culture in the form of immigrants flowing north and following a “warrior-cultist tradition.”

The Turners also wrote Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American Southwest.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for lunch.

Jim Butcher did an AMA

pt_ewIt’s on reddit.  It’s pretty good, despite Jim getting tired about halfway through and only answering first questions.


  • There will be a dragon book coming up in the next five (…so…ten?) years.
  • The PT/BG split was partly because Jim’s publisher doesn’t have the production capacity for doorstopper, 1000+ page books. A commenter speculates that they might even have had to outsource the printing to a different company, which would be ! costly. I’m still not convinced, but mainly at this point I think tradpub is just an outdated and incompetent behemoth, so.
  • There are ROMCOM SHENANIGANS going on over in the Summer Court with Fix/Sarissa, LOL.
  • The Accords are younger than Harry Dresden
  • Lea loooooves being in the Wild Hunt and makes the goblins nervous because she laughs the whole time, heh.
  • The Olympian Affair – the second Cinder Spires book–is Jim’s current project and next publication (after Battle Ground comes out, obviously). I’m guessing it’ll be out sometime late next year, and then after that: Mirror Mirror.
  • And there will be cats in it.
  • Faerie Queens vs Archangels — Archangels are vastly, tremendously, awesomely more powerful than the Fae. Thing is, Mab has far, far more options on how she can use her power and far fewer limitations on what she cannot do. So while the angels are stronger, Mab is more powerful. Nice.
  • Sweden is extra magical in summer when the sun isn’t setting, and most of the weird human festivals are an adaptation to bleed off that magic harmlessly. Heh.
  • Jim expands on the powers of angels: they don’t fight, not only because they are too powerful (rains of fire and smiting of cities-level powerful), but because their job is to preserve reality and ensure that everything within it has free will.
  • Soulgazes are most common between wizards, who have sloppy auras. Other supernatural creatures can get them, but would have to work for it.


  • BOTH of Bob’s “parents” have appeared in the series–and no, one of them was not Etienne the Enchanter, who merely enchanted the skull to be a shelter for him. Top immediate bets on are Vadderung as parent 1, but parent 2 seems a bit more mysterious.
  • Lord Nelson was a Summer court partisan, and the Duke of Wellington was backed by Winter.
    • It is unconfirmed whether this means Richard Sharpe was the Winter Knight.

Comic Book Movie News

I’m not normally a movie shill, but, uh, well…three trailers dropped for DC properties and I’m a little bit hyped.

We got a Zack Snyder’s Justice League trailer. Which…well, first off: it can’t possibly be worse than what we already had. When you’re starting from zero, moving to one equals a 100% increase. That said: that’s a lot of slo-mo, Flash saving a random girl from a car is straight out of a K-drama romance, hah, Aquaman needs to put his shirt back on (like, really, seriously bro. Just put it on. Thanks), the Superman stuff reminds me of how terribly miscast every person except Henry Cavill was in Superman, not to mention how terribly written, and there is far too little Batman in this trailer. So overall….well, it can’t possibly be worse than what we already had. 

And then there’s Wonder Woman 1984! I really quite liked the first movie. I’ll try watching the next one! Even though this trailer isn’t all that impressive.

AND THEN THERE’S A NEW BATMAN MOVIE….starring Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame. Um.