Removal of all or part of the scalp, with hair attached, from an enemy's head.

It is best known as a practice of North American Indian warfare. At first confined to eastern tribes, it spread as a result of bounties offered by the French, English, Dutch, and Spanish for the scalps of enemy Indians and sometimes of enemy whites. Many American frontiersmen and soldiers adopted the custom. Among Plains Indians, scalps were taken for war honours, usually from dead enemies, although some warriors preferred a live victim. The operation was not necessarily fatal, and some victims were released alive.

* * *

▪ rite of warfare
      removal of all or part of the scalp, with hair attached, from an enemy's head. Historical evidence indicates that many cultures have engaged in the removal of body parts from their enemies. Most frequently these were used as trophies, displayed as proof of valour, held for mutilation (often with the implication that the victim's condition would persist into the afterlife), or treated as supernatural objects. The Greek historian Herodotus reported that in order to receive a share in the spoils of war, Scythian warriors were required to deliver an enemy scalp to the king. Other sources indicate that the Anglo-Saxons and Franks practiced scalping through much of the 9th century AD.

      Archaeological evidence for such practices in North America dates to at least the early 14th century; a mass grave from that period, containing nearly 500 victims (some with evidence of scalping), was found near present-day Crow Creek, South Dakota (U.S.). The conflict that killed these individuals is thought to have been precipitated by a prolonged drought, which might have been part of the same climatic cycle that caused the Ancestral Pueblo (Ancestral Pueblo culture) (Anasazi) to abandon their homes in the Southwest.

      Although historical and archaeological records from the 16th and 17th centuries do not clarify how widespread the practice of scalping was in North America before colonial contact, it is clear that bounties on scalps, together with aggression between colonizers and indigenous peoples, increased the level of scalping as North America was colonized by Europeans. For example, Willem Kieft, governor of the Dutch Colony of New Amsterdam, offered bounties to frontiersmen and soldiers for the scalps of enemy Indians (Native American).

      Scalping varied in importance and practice by region. Native Americans in the Southeast took scalps to achieve the status of warrior and to placate the spirits of the dead, while most members of Northeastern tribes valued the taking of captives over scalps. Among Plains Indians (Plains Indian) scalps were taken for war honours, often from live victims. As a challenge to their enemies, some Native Americans shaved their heads. The scalp was sometimes offered as a ritual sacrifice or preserved and carried by women in a triumphal scalp dance, later to be retained as a pendant by the warrior, used as tribal medicine, or discarded.

Geoffrey Abbott

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Scalping — is the act of removing the scalp, usually with the hair, as a portable proof or trophy of prowess in war. Scalping is also associated with frontier warfare in North America, and was practiced by Native Americans and white colonists and… …   Wikipedia

  • Scalping — (englisch to scalp: „skalpieren, das Fell über die Ohren ziehen“) bezeichnet das Vorgehen mancher Fondsmanager, Herausgeber von Börsenbriefen, Wirtschaftsjournalisten und anderer umgangssprachlich bisweilen „Börsengurus“ genannter Personen, zu… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Scalping — Scalp ing (sk[a^]lp [i^]ng), a. & n. from {Scalp}. [1913 Webster] {Scalping iron} (Surg.), an instrument used in scraping foul and carious bones; a raspatory. {Scalping knife}, a knife used by North American Indians in scalping. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Scalping — Scalping. См. Обдирка. (Источник: «Металлы и сплавы. Справочник.» Под редакцией Ю.П. Солнцева; НПО Профессионал , НПО Мир и семья ; Санкт Петербург, 2003 г.) …   Словарь металлургических терминов

  • scalping — 1 n. The sale of something (especially a ticket for a popular show or sporting event) at a price far in excess of its face value and usually just before the event s beginning; the buying of a security by someone with inside knowledge, such as a… …   Law dictionary

  • scalping — buying up the good IPOs. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary The practice of trading in and out of the market on very small price fluctuations. Scalping normally involves establishing and liquidating positions quickly, usually within the same day,… …   Financial and business terms

  • scalping — noun ( s) Etymology: from gerund of scalp (II) 1. a. : an act of scalping b. : the process of scalping …   Useful english dictionary

  • Scalping — Scalp Scalp, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Scalped}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Scalping}.] 1. To deprive of the scalp; to cut or tear the scalp from the head of. [1913 Webster] 2. (Surg.) To remove the skin of. [1913 Webster] We must scalp the whole lid [of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • scalping — n profiteering, particularly by re selling tickets at an inflated price ► This is a shrewd and practised Londoner trading in what the Americans call scalping . We call the business touting , and this summer ticket touts are set for a final beano …   Contemporary slang

  • scalping — Removing the scalp or a part of the scalp of a person. The making of a short term profit by an adviser in respect of investments through taking advantage of the market reaction to advice given by him. Securities & Exchange Com. v Capital Gains… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”