New Mexico’s Spanish and Mexican era archives contain numerous reports related to military campaigns. Many of these contain information that document body counts on which the failure or success of military campaigns were measured. Robert Tórrez reviews some of the practices reported by the Spanish and their Pueblo allies in which heads, scalps, and ears were used as proof of body counts.

Robert Tórrez is a native New Mexican who served as the state historian from 1987-2000. He is the author of several books and has contributed chapters to nearly two dozen anthologies and textbooks. His monthly column, “Voices From the Past,” is published in Round the Roundhouse, the state government employee newspaper.