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Statistical methods applied to the characterization of Palaeoindian lithic industries from Southern Brazil

Grant number: 10/06453-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2012
Effective date (End): July 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Archeology - Prehistoric Archaeology
Principal Investigator:Astolfo Gomes de Mello Araujo
Grantee:Maria Mercedes Martinez Okumura
Home Institution: Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


It has been proposed that the Umbu tradition, whose definition is based on the presence of bifacial points, originated in Southeastern Brazil around 10,000 BP, and it could be still observed around 1,500 BP. So far, very few chronological markers have been identified. That, together with its extended chronological frame, has resulted in much controversy about the actual existence of such a tradition. We aim to illuminate questions related to the characterization of that tradition, the possible changes in the size and shape of these bifacial points through time, and the chrono-spatial relationship among point groups. In order to do that, we will analyze the morphological variation of bifacial points from Brazil and neighbour regions through the use of quantitative analysis never used before in Brasil (multivariate statistical analysis applied to categorical data, metric data and shape coordinates from geometric morphometrics). Preliminary results have shown that points from São Paulo are different from the ones from Southern Brazil (Paraná, Santa Catarina e Rio Grande do Sul). It might be a regional identity exclusively shared by the groups from São Paulo (at least on what concerns bifacial points). It is not unlikely that the so called Umbu Tradition could be restricted to a narrower chronological range and regional frame. The existence of prehistoric points from Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso, as well as from Uruguay and Argentina, is well known, but the relation of these points, especially the Brazilian ones, to the Umbu Tradition is not known. Our project aims to work towards a better understanding of the definition of spatial and chronological frames of these points, also contributing to a better definition of the Umbu Tradition and the discussion of possible routs of expansion and culturally boundary areas of hunter-gatherer groups in Brazil.

News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship:
Flaked stone points raise questions about Brazilian prehistory 
Matéria(s) publicada(s) na Revista Pesquisa FAPESP sobre a bolsa::
Las puntas de un pasado remoto 
Tips from a distant past 

Scientific publications (5)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
LOPONTE, DANIEL; OKUMURA, MERCEDES; CARBONERA, MIRIAN. New records of fishtail projectile points from Brazil and its implications for its peopling. JOURNAL OF LITHIC STUDIES, v. 3, n. 1 2016. Web of Science Citations: 6.
OKUMURA, MERCEDES; ARAUJO, ASTOLFO G. M. The Southern Divide: Testing morphological differences among bifacial points from southern and southeastern Brazil using geometric morphometrics. JOURNAL OF LITHIC STUDIES, v. 3, n. 1 2016. Web of Science Citations: 5.
OKUMURA, MERCEDES; ARAUJO, ASTOLFO G. M. Contributions to the Dart versus Arrow Debate: New Data from Holocene Projectile Points from Southeastern and Southern Brazil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, v. 87, n. 4, p. 2349-2373, DEC 2015. Web of Science Citations: 4.
HUBBE, MARK; OKUMURA, MERCEDES; BERNARDO, DANILO V.; NEVES, WALTER A. Cranial Morphological Diversity of Early, Middle, and Late Holocene Brazilian Groups: Implications for Human Dispersion in Brazil. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, v. 155, n. 4, p. 546-558, DEC 2014. Web of Science Citations: 11.
OKUMURA, MERCEDES; ARAUJO, ASTOLFO G. M. Long-term cultural stability in hunter-gatherers: a case study using traditional and geometric morphometric analysis of lithic stemmed bifacial points from Southern Brazil. JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE, v. 45, p. 59-71, MAY 2014. Web of Science Citations: 42.

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