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Historical ecology, human niche construction and landscape in pre-Columbian Amazonia: a case study of the geoglyph builders of Acre, Brazil

Watling, J., Mayle, F. E. and Schaan, D. (2018) Historical ecology, human niche construction and landscape in pre-Columbian Amazonia: a case study of the geoglyph builders of Acre, Brazil. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 50. pp. 128-139. ISSN 0278-4165

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2018.05.001

Abstract/Summary

This paper applies concepts from the fields of historical ecology and human niche construction theory to interpret archaeological and palaeoecological data from the Brazilian state of Acre, southwest Amazonia, where modern deforestation has revealed hundreds of pre-Columbian monumental earthworks called 'geoglyphs', largely built between ca. 2000–650 cal. BP (calibrated years before present). Our main objective was to move away from the debate which currently dominates Amazonian archaeology over large- vs. small-scale pre-Columbian environmental impacts, and instead offer a more nuanced interpretation of human-environment interactions in our specific study area. Despite the difficulties presented by working with an incomplete regional archaeological dataset, interpreting our findings in light of these theoretical frameworks allowed us to re-think landscape history and ask new questions about a possible relationship between anthropogenic forests, symbolic capital and monument building in our particular study area.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:77826
Publisher:Elsevier

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