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Materiality and social space: a household archaeology in the Eastern Guianas

Grant number: 19/07763-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2020
Effective date (End): August 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Archeology - Prehistoric Archaeology
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Góes Neves
Grantee:Bruno de Souza Barreto
Home Institution: Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The Koriabo pottery is a central research theme to understand the late pre-colonial occupation of the Guianas. Its relevance is demonstrated by the wide territorial distribution, located in regions historically habited by Karib speaking groups, and by a debate concerning its chronology, origin and cultural affiliation. Most research explained a whole region from shovel test-pit samplings and ceramic-based typologies, usually lacking detailed contextual information on the settlements. Since the 2000s, new large-scale excavations in Amapá and French Guiana have provided a wide range of contextual data which allow us to discuss the Koriabo problem through a variety of scales and archaeological remains. As an alternative to the general scenario in Guianas, a household archaeology approach consists of an innovative way to contribute to this debate through other dimensions of variability in the archaeological record. Little is known from the villages' spatial organization standpoint, houses and the social life of the people who produced these ceramics. An in-depth investigation of different settlements could provide new comparative possibilities far beyond pottery itself. To achieve these results, this project aims to investigate five Koriabo-related archaeological sites from the Jari and Araguari Basins, in the Amapá State, and establish comparisons to another six settlements in French Guiana, located on the Maroni and Sinnamary rivers. All the sites were investigated through large-scale rescue excavations, which uncovered several archaeological features and deposition contexts. The intended approach is groundbreaking to Amazonian archaeology, because it aims to articulate contextual data from ceramic and lithic technologies with the features distribution in order to understand social life at the level of houses and settlements. Thus, a household-centred approach is the best way to discuss the Koriabo phenomenon in Eastern Guianas. (AU)