Embattled Bodies, Embattled Places is a book largely by archaeologists, but it is not intended to be only for other archaeologists. The editors include a chapter by historian Matthew Restall, and all the authors make an effort to speak clearly enough to be understood beyond the borders of their respective subfields. The work stems from a 2011 symposium at Dumbarton Oaks entitled “Conflict, Conquest, and the Performance of War in Pre-Columbian America.” The intention at that forum was not merely to parade individual scholars' specific contributions but to work together to expose commonalities and patterns. Implicitly, participants also wished to work together to make a statement that would be heard.

In their introduction, the editors, Andrew Scherer and John Verano, explain that the book is especially concerned with two interrelated questions: “How was war produced and reproduced in Pre-Columbian America? And what...

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