During the Middle Woodland period in eastern North America, modified human skulls are interjected into a broader pattern of "trophy"-artifact manufacture. Interpretations of these human trophies have resulted in a polarity of opinion-that they are the remains of (1) revered ancestors, or (2) defeated enemies. Both previous investigations of the problem support exclusively the "revered-ancestor" interpretation. Results of the present study, which makes use of a six-site Ohio Hopewell sample and stylistic and biological analyses, do not support this position, and are seen as reflecting a competitive component in Hopewell society.
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