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Diet and subsistence among the producers of the Tupiguarani ceramics from Sorocaba and region: a bioarchaeological approach

Grant number: 21/01214-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2021
Effective date (End): April 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Archeology - Prehistoric Archaeology
Principal Investigator:André Menezes Strauss
Grantee:Mateus Lopes Teixeira
Host Institution: Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/16451-2 - Virtual anthropology and archaeogenomics of pre-colonial Brazil, AP.JP


Tupiguarani ceramic-producing populations (TGCPP), ancestors of the Tupi-Guarani speaking groups, are traditionally described as horticulturists, or in the most current nomenclature, agroforestry polyculturists. Presumably, this subsistence strategy has given them a great capacity for adaptation, which would have enabled a territorial expansion whose speed and extent are unparalleled in non-Andean South America. To a large extent, inferences about TGCPP dietary habits are based on the correlation between ceramic vessels' morphology and function, as well as ethnographic analogies. However, this type of approach does not allow determining the actual relevance or quantifying the proportion of different types of food in the TGCPP groups' diet. To this end, isotopic and osteological analyzes of human skeletons are a tool of greater resolution. Due to the small number of skeletons associated with Tupiguarani ceramics, these types of analyzes were never applied to PPCTG in Brazil. Recently, as part of the Sorocabana Genesis Project, 27 funerary urns from the Tupiguarani tradition were excavated from 13 archaeological sites located in the homonymous region in the State of São Paulo, resulting in an osteological collection with great potential for bioarchaeological studies. In order to contribute to the characterization of the TGCPP diet and livelihood strategy, this project will 1-) curate this material, 2-) estimate biological sex and age of death from osteological markers, 3-) analyze the frequency of carious lesions and 4-) perform stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen.

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