Graduating PhD Student Spotlight: Caryn Tegtmeyer

Nov. 6, 2017

PhD graduate student Caryn Tegtmeyer recently defended her dissertation as the final part of her doctoral education! Her project focused on using bioarchaeological evidence to determine aspects of daily life at Ancestral Puebloan sites in northern Arizona. Details of her project are below and we would like to congratulate (soon to be) Dr. Tegtmeyer!




Violence in the Canyons: The Human Cost of Raiding and Warfare in Northeastern Arizona (AD 300-1300)





Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto sit on the Northeastern border of the Kayenta region in Arizona. Because of the position in which they sit (on the border of several other cultural traditions), they likely lived a unique experience when compared to the rest of the Kayenta cultural tradition, of which they are considered part. By examining the skeletal remains, this study is able to reconstruct the demographic profile (age and sex), aspects of health (pathology, stature), analysis of trauma, and aspects of labor (robusticity and entheses) to create the first, modern, complete skeletal analysis of the occupants of Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto.


The specific research strategies laid out for this research attempted to answer big picture questions about what life was like at Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto during prehistory. These strategies focused on answering questions regarding how trauma played into the everyday experience and how living on the border of Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon may have conflated the amount of violence this population may have experienced. This violence data was then compared to data from the American Southwest as a whole to better contextualize this trauma against other populations to see how the individuals at Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto were faring in comparison.