Captives: How Stolen People Changed the World

Captives: How Stolen People Changed the World

Captives: How Stolen People Changed the World

Captives: How Stolen People Changed the World


In Captives: How Stolen People Changed the World archaeologist Catherine M. Cameron provides an eye-opening comparative study of the profound impact that captives of warfare and raiding have had on small- scale societies through time. Cameron provides a new point of orientation for archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and other scholars by illuminating the impact that captive-taking and enslavement have had on cultural change, with important implications for understanding the past.

Focusing primarily on indigenous societies in the Americas while extending the comparative reach to include Europe, Africa, and Island Southeast Asia, Cameron draws on ethnographic, ethnohistoric, historic, and archaeological data to examine the roles that captives played in small-scale societies. In such societies, captives represented an almost universal social category consisting predominantly of women and children and constituting 10 to 50 percent of the population in a given society. Cameron demonstrates how captives brought with them new technologies, design styles, foodways, religious practices, and more, all of which changed the captor culture.

This book provides a framework that will enable archaeologists to understand the scale and nature of cultural transmission by captives and it will also interest anthropologists, historians, and other scholars who study captive-taking and slavery. Cameron's exploration of the peculiar amnesia that surrounds memories of captive-taking and enslavement around the world also establishes a connection with unmistakable contemporary relevance.


An arrow fell behind us. the enemy had followed us and had waited until
we entered the shapuno [a large, thatched enclosure]. Other arrows began
to fall: tah, tai, tai…. Meanwhile the tushaua [leader] of the Shamatari [the
enemy] had already entered…. Not even one man of those in the shapuno
was standing up. the old Hekurawe was there, dead, with arrows in his
body; the Aramamiseteri, too, was lying dead not far away…. Meanwhile
the men began to bring the women prisoners together. They held them
firmly by the arms. They were many and they were young…. Then they
[the Shamatari] raised their shout: Au, au, au, with a cavernous voice and
we began the journey. We marched and marched.

—HELENA VALERO’S account of her second capture by yano
MAMÖ, quoted in ettore biocca, Yanoáma: the Story of Helena Vale
ro, a Girl Kidnapped by Amazonian Indians

Tuesday 22 April 2014, Nigeria. Terror grips northern Nigeria after “Boko
Haram” kidnappings: Last week’s kidnapping of 230 schoolgirls in north
ern Nigeria, which is being blamed on the Islamist group Boko Haram,
has plunged the region into chaos. Will the victims ever be seen again?
Chibok boarding school in the remote state of Borno was attacked last
week by the militant Islamic group, who burnt out the school before

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.