Join SCAS for “Women Warriors among Central California Hunter-Gatherers: Egalitarians to the Last Arrow,” a talk by Al Schwitalla, MA, Registered Professional Archaeologist. The talk will be held on September 14, 2017, at 7:30 pm at the Santa Cruz Live Oak Grange Hall at 1900 17th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (click here for Google Maps directions).
This lecture explores the historic and bioarchaeological evidence of females as combatants during times of trouble. This topic is discussed in relation to the historic, ethnographic and archaeological record of central California foraging societies. In previously published research, Schwitalla and colleagues have evaluated spatial and temporal patterns of skeletal evidence for violence from a bioarchaeological database of 16,820 individuals represented by people that lived in central California from 3050 B.C. to A.D. 1899. Schwitalla and colleagues demonstrated that sharp-force trauma wounds were more common among males. However, eyewitness accounts of women combatants during the historic era (A.D. 1720 – 1860) clearly indicate that indigenous females were active participants during colonial era conflicts. Some researchers have proffered that female involvement as combatants during historic times was a direct result of colonial intrusion and the desperation experienced by Native Californian groups. The evidence presented demonstrates that Native Americans in central California were egalitarians to the last arrow and those women warriors existed during all of prehistory.
Al W. Schwitalla is a professional archaeologist and artifact reproduction specialist with more than 29 years of experience in central California. He earned both a B.A. and an M.A in Anthropology from California State University, Sacramento, and he is a Registered Professional Archaeologist (RPA). His research interests include prehistoric and Historic era Native American health and behavioral trends, and artifact analyses within central California. He lives in Sacramento with his wife, Katie, who is also an archaeologist, and their three children.