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Moieties and mortuary mounds: dualism at a mound and enclosure complex in the southern Brazilian Highlands

Robinson, M., Iriarte, J., de Souza, J., Corteletti, R., Ulguim, P., Fradley, M., Cardenas, M., De Blasis, P., Mayle, F. ORCID: and Scunderlick, D. (2017) Moieties and mortuary mounds: dualism at a mound and enclosure complex in the southern Brazilian Highlands. Latin American Antiquity, 28 (2). pp. 232-251. ISSN 1045-6635

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/laq.2017.11


Excavations at Abreu Garcia provide a detailed case study of a mound and enclosure mortuary complex utilised by the southern proto-Je in the southern Brazilian highlands. The recovery of 16 secondary cremation deposits within a single mound allows an in-depth discussion of spatial aspects of mortuary practice. A spatial division in the placement of the interments adds another level of duality to the mortuary landscape, which comprises: i) paired mound and enclosures; ii) twin mounds within a mound and enclosure; and iii) the dual division in the mound interior. The multiple levels of nested asymmetric dualism evoke similarities to the moiety system that characterizes modern southern Je groups, highlighting both the opposition and the complementarity of the social system. The findings offer a deeper insight into fundamental aspects of southern proto-Je social organization, including the dual nature of the community, the manifestation of social structure on the landscape and its incorporation into mortuary ritual. The results have implications for research design and developing appropriate methodologies to answer culture specific questions. Furthermore, the parallels among archaeology, ethnohistory and ethnography enable an understanding of the foundation of modern descendent groups and an assessment of the continuity in indigenous culture beyond European contact.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:68213
Publisher:Society for American Archaeology


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