Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Warfare as an agent of culture change: The archaeology of guerrilla warfare on the 19th century Missouri/Kansas border
by Raab, Ann M., Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2012, 307; 3509222
Abstract (Summary)

Within the last decade, anthropologists have begun to re-evaluate warfare as an influence on social organization and cultural change. Once considered relatively inconsequential in pre- and non-state societies, key studies in archaeology suggest that war has an important role to play in understanding cultural behavior across time and space. An emerging body of theory relates modes of warfare to predictable patterns of socio-economic behavior, testable through archaeological and historical data.

Archaeological data from Bates County, Missouri offers a valuable context for evaluating this body of theory. The Missouri-Kansas Border War of 1855 to 1865 was like no other in American history. Clashing social, economic and racial sentiments of the 19th century erupted into partisan violence so merciless that it eroded civil society itself, eventually leaving a sizable region torched and depopulated. Guerilla warfare in this area more closely resembled the so-called "primitive war" reflected in pre-state archaeological records than the patterns of violence typically associated with Civil War battlefields. Bates County, owing to its essential total depopulation and destruction in the wake of guerilla warfare, affords a virtually unique context for archaeological pattern recognition.

This research investigates the socio-economic responses of households to this style of warfare, including restrictions on provisioning, contraction of trade networks, and the militarization of household economy as reflected in weapons technology. With its focus on the domestic impacts of warfare, this research evaluates important models of warfare and complements understandings of the American Civil War known largely on the basis of episodic historic evidence.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hoopes, John W.
Commitee: Adair, Mary J., Earle, Jonathan H., Hofman, Jack L., Wood, Margaret C.
School: University of Kansas
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: DAI-A 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Archaeology, American history
Keywords: Archaeology, Border war, Civil War, Kansas, Missouri, Warfare
Publication Number: 3509222
ISBN: 9781267355263
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