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Long-term history, interaction and change: the role of language dispersals and exchange networks in Eastern Guianas (AD 0 - 1650)

Grant number: 21/12686-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 22, 2022
Effective date (End): March 21, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Archeology - Prehistoric Archaeology
Principal researcher:Eduardo Góes Neves
Grantee:Bruno de Souza Barreto
Supervisor abroad: Carla Jaimes Betancourt
Home Institution: Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universität Bonn, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:19/07763-6 - Materiality and social space: a household archaeology in the Eastern Guianas, BP.DR


At the time of the European invasion, it is said that some parts of Amazonia were characterized by the existence of plural multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic social formations. Although it is now known that distinct gradients in population density and political structure existed across different Amazonian settings, some general patterns are also clearly visible. The transition to AD 1000, e.g., is coupled with major socio-political changes throughout the Amazon, when the increase of cultural diversity, conflict evidence and large-scale integrated societies are seen in the archaeological record. Such a process is evident in Lower Amazon, and it is partially related to the demographic growth for the last five centuries before the European invasion. In the regional setting of Amapá-Eastern Guianas, those transformations are also present through the appearance of a plethora of ceramic styles, modes of deposition, as well as the inception of megalitism and other forms of monumental engineering. These changes seem to be an outcome from phenomena ignited by a two-folded process: 1) the phylogenetic cultural transmission historically given by long-term linguistic expansions and 2) the supposedly strengthening of interaction networks during the last centuries before the European arrival, which could have produced ethnogenesis processes by means of assimilation, intermarriage, war, trade, and borrowings. By using GIS, radiocarbon datings, artefact analysis, settlement spatial data and archaeometry, this research aims to evaluate the meanings of what is seen in the archaeological record of the late ceramic age in Amapá, as well as the role of language dispersals and exchange networks over its formation. The main question is whether such processes engendered the birth of a regional network system at the mouth of the Amazon River. (AU)

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