The current project is a study of craniofacial trauma in a large sample (n = 896) of Prehispanic Canary Islanders (PCIs). The possible causes and social implications of the trauma found are considered, with reference to archaeological and historical data. Variables include the island, period and ecology, the sex and age of the individuals, the distribution of lesions across the skull (by side and by individual bone) and ante-mortem tooth loss. The results show a fairly high trauma rate (16%), a low prevalence of peri-mortem trauma (3.8% of all lesions), higher prevalence of trauma in males than in females (25% vs. 13% of all individuals), more cranial than facial lesions (8.9% vs. 3.5% of all elements) and more lesions on the left side of the skull (6.7% vs. 4.5% of all elements) which suggests that the lesions were sustained through intentional rather than accidental agency. There was no correspondence between trauma prevalence and ecology. The archaeological and historical data support the assertion that the lesions may be the result of skirmishing between groups, using weapons such as slingshots, stones and staves. The presence of edged-weapon lesions on some individuals suggests that these may have been the victims of contact-period European groups. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.