Advertisement

Pre-Columbian Settlement Dynamics in the Central Amazon

During the past decade, integration of anthropology, archaeology, biology, ecology, geography, and soil science has brought important results in the development of an overview of the formation processes of Amazonian Dark Earths (ADE). These interdisciplinary efforts have provided significant information about the genesis, use, and re-use of these soils; moreover, this research is producing important information about pre-Columbian societies and the cultural behaviours that could start the ADE accretion in Amazonia (e.g. Lehmann et al. 2003; Glaser and Woods 2004; Rebellato 2007: Arroyo-Kalin, this volume; Schaan et al., this volume). An archaeological effort directed toward understanding the past socio-cultural processes responsible for the origin of these soils and the subsequent use is presented in this chapter. Evidence for continuity and change in settlement patterns during pre-Columbian times at the Hatahara archaeological site in the Central Amazon of Brazil is reviewed (Fig. 2.1). Soil analysis results correlated with archaeological artifacts excavated in that site provide interpretation of cultural changes, the consequences of these in village morphologies, and advance the interpretation of the region's indigenous history.

Located on a bluff top parallel to the left bank the Solimões/Amazon River, near to the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers, the Hatahara site has natural protection against attack due its 40 m high location. The scarp of this bluff surrounds ca. 60% of the site area leaving only a narrow entrance in the northeast. The secure location of the site was enhanced by access to a wide range of resources that allowed the population to survive by fishing, hunting, gathering, and farming (Fig. 2.2). The Hatahara site is an example of the Bluff Model described by Denevan (1996), who understood that pre-Columbian settlements in Amazonia were often located on bluffs adjacent to major river channels and their floodplains. These settlements, consequently, were not subject to the annual floods that cover the lowlands, but still had ready access to the fertile soils of the floodplain. Hatahara contains pottery from three different archaeological phases (the Açutuba — c.300 BC—c. AD 360; Manacapuru c. AD 400—800; Paredäo c. AD 700–1200; and, the Guarita Subtradition c. AD 900–1600) (Heckenberger et al. 1999; Hilbert 1968).

Keywords

Soil Color Terra Firme American Archaeology Past Society Amazonian Dark Earth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Balée W (1989) The culture of Amazonian forest. In: Posey DA, Balée W (eds) Resource Management in Amazonia: Indigenous and Folk Strategies. Advances in Economic Botanic, vol 7, pp 1–21Google Scholar
  2. Brochado JP (1984) An ecological model of the spread of pottery and agriculture into Eastern South America, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignGoogle Scholar
  3. Brochado JP (1989) A expansão dos Tupi e da Cerâmica da Tradição Policrämica Amazänica. Dedalo, São Paulo 27:65–82Google Scholar
  4. Carvajal G (1934) Discovery of the Orellana River. Copiled by Medina JT. In: Heaton HD (ed) The Discovery of the Amazon According to the Account of Friar Gaspar de Carvajal and other Documents. Special Publication American Geographical Society, vol 17, pp 167–242Google Scholar
  5. Carneiro RL (1956) Slash and burn agriculture: a closer look at its implications for settlement patterns. In: Wallace AFC (ed) Men and Cultures. Selected papers of the fifth congress of Antropological and Ethnological Sciences, Philadelphia, pp 229–234Google Scholar
  6. Carneiro RL (1961) Slash and burn cultivation among the Kuikuro and its implications for cultural development in the Amazon Basin. In: Wilbert J (ed) The Evolution of Horticultural Systems in Native South America. Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales La Salle, Caracas, pp 47–67Google Scholar
  7. Carneiro RL (1974) On the use of the stone axe by the Amahuaca Indians of eastern Peru. Ethnologische Zeitschrift Züric 1:107–122Google Scholar
  8. Carneiro RL (1979a) Forest clearance among the Yanomamö: observations and implications. Antropologicas 52:39–76Google Scholar
  9. RL (1979b) Tree felling with the stone axe: an experiment carried out among the Yanomamö Indians of southern Venezuela. In: Kramer C (ed) Ethoarchaeology: Implications for Archaeology, Columbia University Press, New york, pp 21–58Google Scholar
  10. Clement CR (1999) 1492 and the loss of Amazonian crop genetic resources. I. The relation between domestication and human population decline. Economic Botany 53:188–202Google Scholar
  11. CR (2005) Fruit trees and the transition to food production in Amazonia. In: Balée W, Erickson CL (eds) Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology: Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 165–185Google Scholar
  12. Chirinos, RP (2007) Padrões de assentamento no sítio Osvaldo, Amazonas. Master thesis, University of São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  13. Costa, FWS (2002) As indústrias líticas das áreas de confluência dos rios Negro e Solimões. Master Thesis, University of São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  14. Cruxent JM, Rouse I (1958) Archaeological chronology of Venezuela. Pan American Union, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  15. Descola P (1986) La nature domestique: simbolisme et praxis dans l'ecologie des AschuarGoogle Scholar
  16. Denevan WM (1966) The aboriginal cultural geography of the Llanos de Mojos of Bolivia, Ibero-Americana 48, University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  17. Denevan WM (1992a) Native Americans populations in 1492: recent research and a revised hemispheric estimate. In: Denevan WM (ed) The Native Population of the Americas in 1492 (2nd edn). University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp xvii–xxxviiiGoogle Scholar
  18. Denevan WM (1992b) Stone vs. metal axes: the ambiguity of shifting cultivation in prehistoric Amazonia. Journal of the Steward Anthropological Society 20:153–165Google Scholar
  19. Denevan WM (1996) A bluff model of riverine settlement in prehistoric Amazonia. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 86(4):654–681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Denevan WM (2001) Cultivated Landscapes of Native Amazonia and Andes. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  21. Denevan WM (2004) Semi-intensive pre-European cultivation and origins of Anthropogenic Dark Earths in Amazonia. In: Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian Dark Earth: Exploration in Space and Time. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg/New York, pp 135–143Google Scholar
  22. Denevan WM (2006) Pre-European Forest Cultivation in Amazon. In: Balée W, Erickson CL (eds) Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology: Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 153–163Google Scholar
  23. Donatti PB (2003) A arqueologia das áreas de interflúvio na área de confluência dos rios Negro e Solimões. Master thesis. University of São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  24. Eden MJ, Bray W, Herrera L and McEwan C (1984) Theterra preta soils and their archaeological context in the Caquetá Basin of the southeast Colombia. American Antiquity 49(1):125–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Eidt RC, Woods WI (1974) Abandoned Settlement Analysis: Theory and Practice. Shorewood, WI: Field Test Associates, 159 ppGoogle Scholar
  26. Glaser B, Woods WI (2004) Amazonian Dark Earths: Exploration in Space and Time. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Grosch H (2005) Rekonstruktion von Besiedlungsmuster und intensität eine Terra Preta in Zentralamazonien anhand der Kleinräumigen Nährstoffverteinlung. Master's Thesis, Universität Bayreuth, Bayreuth, AlemanhaGoogle Scholar
  28. Gross DB (1975) Protein capture and cultural development in the Amazon Basin. American Anthropologist 77:526–549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hecht S (2003). Indigenous soil management and the creation of Amazonian Dark Earth: implications of kayapó practices. In: Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian Dark Earth: Exploration in Space and Time. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg/New York, pp 354–372Google Scholar
  30. Hecht SB, Posey DA (1989) Preliminary results on soil management techniques of the Kayapó. In: Posey DA, Balée W (eds) Resource Management in Amazonia: Indigenous and Folk Strategies. Advances in Economic Botany, vol. 7, Bronx: The New York Botanical Garden, pp. 174–188Google Scholar
  31. Heckenberger MJ (2002) Rethinking the Arawakan diaspora: Hierarchy, Regionality, and the Amazonian Formative. In: Hill JD, Granero FS (eds) Comparative Arawakan Histories: Rethinking Language Families and Culture Area in Amazonia. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, pp 99–123Google Scholar
  32. Heckenberger MJ (2005) The ecology of power:culture, place, and personhood in the Southern Amazon, A.D. 1000–2000, Routledge, New York/LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Heckenberger MJ, Neves EG, Petersen JB (1998) De onde surgem os modelos? Origens e expan-sões Tupi na Amazänia Central. Revista de Antropologia, São Paulo 41(1):1–13Google Scholar
  34. Heckenberger MJ, Petersen JB, Neves EG (1999) Village size and permanence in Amazonia: two archaeological examples from Brasil. Latin Am Antiquity 10(4):353–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Heckenberger MJ, Petersen JB, Neves EG (2001). “Of lost civilizations and primitive tribes, Amazonia: reply to Meggers”. Latin Am Antiquity 12(3): 328–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hilbert P (1968) Archäologische Untersuchungen am mittlern Amazonas. Marburger Studien zur Völkerkunde, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  37. Lathrap DW (1970) The Upper Amazon. Praeger, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Lathrap DW (1977) Our father the cayman, our mother the gourd: spinden revisited or an unitary model for the emergence of agriculture in the New World. In: Reed CA (ed) Origins of Agriculture. Mouton, The Hague, pp 713–751Google Scholar
  39. Lehmann J, Kern D, German L, McCann J, Martins GC, Moreira A (2003) Soil fertility and production potencial. In: Lehmann J, Kern D, Glaser B, Woods WI. Amazonia Dark Earth: Origin, Properties, Management. Kluwer, Dordrecht/Boston/London, pp 29–50Google Scholar
  40. Lehmann J, Kern D, Glaser B, Woods WI (2003) Amazonia Dark Earth: Origin, Properties, Management, Kluwer, Dordrecht/Boston/LondonGoogle Scholar
  41. Lima LFE (2003) Levantamento arqueológico das áreas de interflúvio na area de confluência dos rios Negro e Solimões. Master Thesis, University of São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  42. Machado JS (2005) Estudo de uma estrutura funerária presente no sítio Hatahara, Iranduba, AM. Master Thesis, Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia, University of São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  43. Meggers B J (1954) Envionmental limitation on the development of culture. Am Anthrop 56:801–823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Meggers B J (1971) Amazonia: man and culture in a counterfeit paradise. Aldine-Atherton, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  45. Meggers B J (1991) Cultural evolution in Amazonia. Anthropological Papers. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 85:191–216Google Scholar
  46. Meggers B J (1995) Judging the future by the past: the impact of environmental instability on prehistoric Amazonian populations. In: Sponsel LE (ed) Indigenous Peoples and the Future of Amazonia: An Ecological Anthropology of an Endangered World. The University of Arizona Press, TucsonGoogle Scholar
  47. Megger BJ, Evans C (1961) An experimental formulation of horizon styles in the tropical forest of South America. In: Lothrop SK (ed) Essays in Pre-Colombian Art and Archaeology, Harvard University Press, Cambrigde, pp 372–388Google Scholar
  48. Miller ET (1992) Arqueologia nos empreendimentos da Hidrelétricos da Eletronorte. Resultados Preliminaries. Eletronorte. BrasíliaGoogle Scholar
  49. Mora CS, Herrera LF, Cavelier FI, Rodriguez C (1991) Cultivars, anthropic soils and stability: A preliminary report of archaeological research in Araracuara, Colombian Amazonia. Latin American archaeology reports no. 2 University of Pittsburgh, PittsburghGoogle Scholar
  50. Moraes CP (2007) Levantamento arqueológico da região do Lago do Limã. Master Thesis, University of São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  51. Neves EG (2000) Levantamento arqueológico da área de confluência dos rios Negro e Solimões, Estado do Amazonas. Relatório de Atividades, Junho de 1999-Agosto de 2000. Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia, Universidade de São PauloGoogle Scholar
  52. Neves, EG, Petersen JB, Bartone RN, Silva CA (2003a) Historical and socio-cultural origins of Amazonian Dark Earths. In: Lehmann J, Kern D, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian Dark Earth: Origin, Properties, Management, Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 29–50Google Scholar
  53. Neves EG, Costa FWS, Lima LFE, Lima HP, Machado JS, Rebellato L, Silva CA, Donatti PB (2003b) Levantamento arqueológico da área de confluência dos Rios Negro e Solimões, estado do Amazonas: Continuidade das escavações análise da composição química e montagem de um sistema de informações geográficas. Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, FAPESPGoogle Scholar
  54. Neves EG, Petersen JB, Bartone RN, Heckenberger MJ (2004) The timing of Terra Preta formation in the Central Amazon: archaeological data from three sites. In: Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian Dark Earth: Exploration in Space and Time. Springer, Berlin/Heildelberg/New York, pp 125–134Google Scholar
  55. Neves EG, Petersen JB (2005) Political economy and pre-columbian landscape transformation in Central Amazonia. In: Balée W, Erickson CL (eds) Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology: Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 279–309Google Scholar
  56. Oliver JR (2001) The archaeology of forest foraging and agricultural production in Amazonia. In: McEwan C, Barreto C, Neves EG (eds) Unknown Amazon: Culture in Nature in Ancient Brazil. British Museum Press, London, pp 50–85Google Scholar
  57. Oliver JR (2008) The archaeology of agriculture in ancient Amazonia. In: Silverman H, Isbell WH (eds) Handbook of South American Archaeology. Springer, New York, pp 185–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Petersen JB, Neves EG, Heckenberger MJ (2001) Gift from the past:terra preta and prehistoric Amerindian occupation in Amazonia. In: McEwan C, Barreto C, Neves EG (eds) Unknown Amazon: Culture in Nature in Ancient Brazil. British Museum Press, London, pp 86–105Google Scholar
  59. Petersen JB, Neves EG, Woods WI (2005) Tropical forest archaeology in Central Amazon: landscape transformation and sociopolitical complexity. Paper presented at the 70th annual meeting for the Society for American Archaeology, Salt Lake CityGoogle Scholar
  60. Porro A (1996) O Povo das Águas: Ensaios de etno-história amazänica. Vozes, Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  61. Rebellato L (2007) Interpretando a variabilidade cerâmica e as assinaturas químicas e físicas do solo no sítio arqueológico Hatahara, AM. Master's Thesis, Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia, Universidade de São PauloGoogle Scholar
  62. Schaan DP (2007) Uma janela para a história pré-colonial da Amazänia: olhando além — e apesar — das fases e tradições. Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém, Brasil 2(1):77–89Google Scholar
  63. Siegel PE (1995) The archaeology of community organization in the tropical lowlands: a case study from Puerto Rico. In: Stahl PW (ed) Archaeology in the Lowland American Tropics: Current Analytical Methods and Recent Applications, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 330Google Scholar
  64. Silva FA, Rebellato L (2004) Use of space and terra preta formation: the Asurini do Xingu case study. In: Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian Dark Earth: Exploration in Space and Time. Springer, Berlin/Heildelberg/New York, pp 159–167Google Scholar
  65. Sombroek W (1966) Amazon Soil: a reconnaissance of the soils of the Brazilian Amazon region. Centre for Agricultural Publications and Documentation, Wageningen, p 292Google Scholar
  66. Steiner C, Teixeira WG, and Zech W (2004) Slash and char: an alternative to slash and burn practiced in the Amazon basin. In: Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian Dark Earth: Exploration in Space and Time. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  67. Steward JH (1948) Culture Areas of the Tropical Forests. In: Steward JH (ed) The Tropical Forest Tribes. Handbook of South American Indians. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 143, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, vol 3, pp 883–899Google Scholar
  68. Steward JH (1949) South America Cultures: an interpretative summary. The Comparative Study of South American Indians. In: Steward JH (ed) Handbook of South American Indians Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 143, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, vol 5, pp 669–772Google Scholar
  69. Teixeira WG, Matins GC (2003) Soil physical characterization. Amazonian Dark Earths: origin, properties, managements. Lehmann J, Kern D, Glaser B, Woods WI, Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 272–286Google Scholar
  70. Woods Wl (1995) Comments on the black earths of Amazonia. Schoolmaster AF (ed), Applied Geography Conferences, Denton, Texas 18:159–165Google Scholar
  71. Woods WI, McCann JM (1999) The anthropogenic origin and persistence of Amazonian dark earths. The Yearbook of the Conference of Latin American Geographers 25. Austin: University of Texas Press, pp 7–14Google Scholar
  72. Woods WI, Denevan WM, Neves EG, Rebellato L (2007) Population estimates for Terra Preta sites in Amazonia. Presented at the 72nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, TXGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Museu de Arqueologia e EtnologiaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

Personalised recommendations