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Archaeobotany and Social Changes in the Southwestern Amazon during the Middle Holocene

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Laura Pereira Furquim
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Eduardo Goes Neves; Leandro Matthews Cascon
Advisor: Eduardo Goes Neves; Myrtle Pearl Shock

In the last ten years, there has been a growing effort in Amazonian Archeology to rethink the social and economic changes in the long-term processes of indigenous peoples during the pre-colonial period. The Formative Period, coined to allocate such populations in an intermediate stage of evolution, has been deconstructed in favor of alternative perspectives on the forms of organization and interaction that reflect the weaving and constant re-weaving of Amerindian networks, based on cyclical historicities and counter-state policies that inhibit political centralization. In this context, several studies have contributed to the untying of the \"formative\" material traits, such as the emergence of sedentary life, domesticated plants, the production of utilitarian ceramics and a progressive process of intensification of agricultural productivity. There is a gradual change in the environmental factor, from the trigger of human adaptation to the product of social choices in the formation of anthropic forests and the creation of a biodiversity of useful plants. The critique of agricultural determinism and the presence of staple foods is combined with a growing investment in the understanding of the coexistence between domesticated and wild species and the existence of contexts of abandonment of domesticated species (such as corn), and open space for us to rethink the role of cultivation in the Ancient Amazon. In this scenario, the present research had the objective of gathering and producing archeobotanical data that allowed an evaluation of the model of agricultural intensification and the construction of anthropogenic forests. The Amazon Southwest, marked by a transition between savannas and forests, is the region in which the domestication of important indigenous cultivars (such as cassava and peach palm) would have occurred, and was characterized as one of the places of advancement of the Formative Period in the past. Through a diachronic analysis of plant macro-remains present in sambaqui Monte Castelo between the occupations of Sinimbu strata (cal 7423-6936 AP to cal 4987 - 4566 PA) and Bacabal (cal 4628 - 3982 to cal 803 - 624 AP ), we sought to evaluate these socioeconomic changes between the Middle and Late Holocene. We characterized a botanical assembly formed by domesticated, managed and wild species, typical of different environments, indicating a joint and constant practice of cultivation, management and collection that may have been modified in the Late Holocene due to social transformations in the Guaporé River basin. In short, we follow the history of crops, together with the history of the processes of changes and continuities in the patterns of human mobility, and of dispersion of the identified species, permeating us by a critical debate about the concepts of agriculture, domestication, evolution and social complexity. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 16/03400-8 - Archaeobotany and Socioeconomic Changes in the Middle Holocene in Southwetern Amazon.
Grantee:Laura Pereira Furquim
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master