Deluge of Atlantis

Deluge of Atlantis
Deluge of Atlantis

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brazillian Moundbuilders

While working on the Archaics and Hopewell Moundbuilders article I had found some additional interesting informatuion that I thought would go better as a separate article.

The statement I made that the ethnic groups of all the types at the Upper Cave does not mean they are adjacent on the chart: instead I was drawing attemtion to the fact that skull "B" of the robust series is one such out of the ethnic groups represented at the Upper cave Choukoudian, the (male) Capelinha skull separted out of the bottom row at right represents another group, represented by a (female) Upper Cave skull (The "Melanesian" one) and one of the CroMagnon-mixes is closest to the Upper Cave male skull (The skull C here is just a bit too far along into European Cromagnon morphology to count for that, but other skulls in the area are easily of that same "Eastern-Cromagnon" type) Nor yet is it possible the same assemblage crossed over the Bering straits together and marched down to Brazil unmodified to turn up there in the same asortment: the same assortment does NOT appear in North America at the time. So it looks like we once again have evidence of a multiethnic "Lemurian" power out of Sundaland="Mu" where all of these etnic groups were in regular asociation, and that this Sundaland "Mu" was capable of Transpacific voyages during the Pleistocene, by which they directly colonized South America before the Atlanteans arrived!

This also clears up another mystery: for decades reports had been coming out about the skulls at Lagoa Santa in Brazil, one of the associated habitation sites in the area, which alleged either Neanderthal or CroMagnon skuls were to be found there. Critics doubted the statements because they said both statements could not be right. The critics were wrong, there ARE both CroMagnon and Neanderthal skulls to be found in the area, we can tell from the chart. This is a most wonderful asociation. Some critics do not realise, there are thousands of skulls that have been uncovered.

Folder: Skulls Sambaquis
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Copyright © 2005-2006 Bidegain Cleber Pereira. All rights reserved.

Please note, some of the Brazilian skulls have the type of cranial deformation as seen in Ice-Age Australia: others have more of the North American Moundbuilder shape and type of cranial deformation, which makes the skulls shorter and broader.

Lemurian/Australoid remnant skull Left, Atlantean newcomers Right (African/Mechta type)
Shellmound-Builder (Reconstruction)

a large Brazilian Shellmound, about 45 feet tall: these mounds typically come in rounded or conical; mounds, rings, or in combination of rings and cones. They are made up of remnants of meals, but they also serve as ritual places or for burials.

a dolphin, Such sites give evidence for the exploitation of marine mammals as well as for fishing.
(yellow)clam shells

Archaic-type stone tools such as found in the mounds: these start from before 10000 years ago.

As posted on a Brazilian site: note the information given is at variance to the usual English-speaking world's version of world history:

[Note, as of january 2012, these illustrations appear to have gone missing from the originating site]

12.000 BC – Africa

In pre-historic times, around the year 12000 B.C., the first forms of agriculture (domestication of some grains and vegetable species) and cattle raising (domestication of animals) appeared, together with the first forms of agriculturist villages. In this period, [refuse from] the use of fire and of some tools, as well as of animal manure, became a part of the daily life of the urban agglomerates that gave birth to cities.["Pueblo" like structures in the Sahara go back to this very early date, as does pottery-DD]

Brazil – Before its discovery
In Brazil, before the coming of the Portuguese, the indian population living along the coastal areas would feed basically on fish and shelfish, abundant in the Brazilian coast. The alimentary residues thus resulting became fossils known as sambaquis. They also consumed roots (manioc, yams) and hunted little animals in the areas close to the woods.[This presumably for the several thousands of years since the end of the Ice Age-DD]
Please note, some of the analyses on the very oldest sambaquis human remains show that they had been raising and eating Caribbean yams (Dioscorea trifida)before and up until the time manioc (tapioca) became more popular

sambaqui pottery, surprisingly similar to the oldest pottery found in mounds in the Southern USA
Potsherds from Mauretania, cited on one website as parallel to Brazilian types of similar age
"Zoomorphic" (stone shark image)

"The inferior level of Algodao (PLID T00-0677) was
dated to (7860± 80)BP or C14-cal-BC 7050-6450. Such an
early date would be considered wrong if there had not been
three other single dates, out of the expected range of occurrence
of shellmounds and so remarkably contemporaneous"

[11] T.A. Lima, K.D. Macario, R.M. Anjos, P.R.S. Gomes, M.M.
Coimbra, and D. Elmore. Submitted to Nucl. Instr. Meth. in
[12] T.A. Lima, K.D. Macario, R.M. Anjos, P.R.S. Gomes, M.M.
BrazilianJournalofPhysics,vol. 33,no. 2,June,2003

Brazilian Journal of Physics,vol. 36,no. 1A,March,2006
Electron Spin Resonance Dating of Shells from the Sambaqui(ShellMound) Capelinha,S˜aoPaulo,Brazil A. Kinoshitaa,b, L. Figutyc, and O. Baffaa
a Universidade de S˜ao Paulo, DFM-FFCLRP, Av. Bandeirantes, 3900, 14040-901, Ribeir˜ao Preto, SP, Brazil
b Universidade do Sagrado Corac¸˜ao, R. Irm˜a Arminda 10-50 , 17011-160, Bauru, SP, Brazil and
c Universidade de S˜ao Paulo Universidade de S˜ao Paulo,
Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia, Setor de Arqueologia. Av. Prof. Almeida Prado 1466,
Cidade Universit´aria 05508-900, S˜ao Paulo, SP, Brazil
Received on12September,2005;accepted on10 November,2005
Capelinha is a fluvial sambaqui (BrazilianShellMound) located in the Ribeira Valley in the State of S˜ao Paulo that is being studied. It is one of the oldest sambaquis located along a river dated so far in this region. The use of ESR to date other shells stimulated our group to apply this method to the Capelinha site. Shells from land snails (Megalobulimus sp.) obtained in two levels of excavations were analyzed; one of them was in contact with a skeleton that was dated by C-14. The archeological doses obtained were (8.05±0.07) Gy and (9.50±0.03) Gy. Since the last site was previously dated by C-14 (Beta –Analytics, Beta 153988) giving: 8860 +/- 60 years BP (conventional age) and 8180 to 7710 years BC (calibrated age), the archeological dose found for this shell was used to determine the local rate of (0.93 to 0.98) mGy/year, that aggress with other surveys done in the region. Using this dose rate the age of the second shell was found to be 8.14 to 8.73 ky BP that agrees with the stratigraphy of the site.

Sheila Mendonça de SOUZA
Departamento de Endemias, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sérgio Arouca, 
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Brasil,
Claudia Rodrigues CARVALHO
Setor de Antropologia Biológica, Departamento de Antropologia, Museu Nacional, 
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil,

Abstract: Brazilian sambaquis, as other shell mounds all around the world, are prehistoric sites that represent extraordinary strategies of coastal adaptation. They are intentionally build and preserve cultural as well as biological remains. Thousands of burials offer precious material for bioarchaeological investigation. Differences in cultural and environmental conditions along 6.000 years, as well as a peculiar geographical distribution along the southeastern coast of Brazil, make these sites interesting subjects to investigate adaptability and health. Their disapearance was about 1.300 years before present. Their possible contact with ceramists and other people are still to be explained. Key words: Sambaqui, shell mound, Brazil, coastal adaptation, funerary monuments Resumé: Les sambaquis brésiliens, comme d’autres amas coquilles du monde, sont parmi les groupes prehistoriques du Brèsil qui signalent le développement d’une estrategie extraordinaire d’adaptation au litoral. Sa construction fut intentionnel et c’est possible y rencontrer des vestiges culturels ainsi que biologiques. Les milliers de sépultures preservées aux sambaquis sont une source assez importante pour la recherche bio-archéologique. La distribution geographique peculiaire, au long du litoral sud et sud-est, ainsi que les changements culturels et d’environnement pendant 6.000 d’annés, faisent les sambaquis très interresants pour les investigations sur la santé et l’adaptabilité. Sa disparition à l’envion 1300 ans BP et la possibilité du contact aux groupes ceramistes sont encore sujets qui restent a expliquer. Mots clés: Sambaqui, amas de coquilles, Brezil, adptation au litoral, monument funeraire The symposium BIOARCHAEOLOGY AT THE MIDST OF SHELLS was proposed to discuss similarities and differences between the shell mounds in Portugal and Brazil. To help the participants discussing the proposed theme the organizers decided to add brief comments to the oral presentation presenting the state of art on the archaeology of the marine and riverside shell mounds. This paper reports the archaeology of the Brazilian marine sambaquis, emphasizing the interest in recovering and analyzing more bioarchaeological data about the people who built those mounds. Sambaqui is the local name for Brazilian shell mounds, a very common type of prehistoric site. Similar to other ones that are found all around the world, they are also burial places. Preserving human skeletons, the sambaquis are extraordinary windows that let us know more about lifestyle and health in the past. In Brazil the sambaquis does exist especially along the southeastern coast, as an expression of a new economic strategy of intense exploitation of the environments close to the estuaries, lagoons, mangroves and sea. The biggest marine sambaquis are found in Santa Catarina State, but others of smaller sizes are also found in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná and Espírito Santo States, where more than one thousand of them have already been registered. Most of them have been destroyed before any research. About 5% of them were minimally excavated and less than 1% provided human remains for scientific studies. These sites are composed by layers of mollusk shells, fish bones and other faunal remains charcoal, polished as well as flaked lithic instruments as axes, grinding stones, arrow points among others. Archeological structures such as hearths and burials with different types of funerary offerings are also found (Prous, 1992; Figuti, 1993; Gaspar, 2000; Gaspar et al., 2008). Although excavated for more than one hundred years, there is no consensus among scholars about them and classifications are based in different criteria such as morphology, geographical location, shell composition, etc. Zooliths, beautiful polished stone sculptures representing animals are found in some of them (Prous, 1992). Ceramics is present in a small number of sites, grouped in the same area. The interpretation of sambaqui has changed through time. First they were viewed as midden left over by small mollusk eating nomadic bands. Today they are seen as monumental constructions intentionally built as landmarks by sedentary fisher groups (DeBlasis XXX, Figuti, XXX, DeMasi, XXX). Despite temporal and regional variation, there are unifying factors among the sambaquis that allow to try to interpret them as a “cultural unit”, as proposed by Gaspar (1994/1995). Eating, feasting, working, burying the dead and daily activities were carried out at the same sopot. Differences among the sites are not necessary because of cultural differences but they may express adaptability along the coast, changing economy, feeding habits and even the use of certain artifacts, as strongly suggested by the variability even inside the same site. Today the sambaquis are recognized as the expression of intentional accumulation of shells and soil to build platforms. In Brazil these territorial marks can reach 30m high and 400m length (Fig. 8.1). Such a building effort certainly required a big amount of energy, a lot of social organization. Big groups and long periods of continuous occupation occurred in some sites. There are hundreds of burials in the biggest sambaquis. Most of the sambaquis are grouped in coastal areas signaling to the areas rich in natural resources and fresh water supply, but also to some king of social articulation. Archaeological remains proved that fishing, collecting shellfish/plants and chasing terrestrial and marine animals were the main economic activities. Low mobility, abundance of resources, bigger groups, some social complexity and possible social interaction between sites is supposed to have occurred (Lima, 1999-2000). Ideological, aesthetic and religious development is inferred from the burials. Coastal environment provides good and abundant proteins for food. The Atlantic forest and the restingas provide fruits and other starch sources. The existence of predictable natural resources along the coast was a positive factor to explain the success of sambaqui lifestyle. Sharing simple and efficient artifacts made of mammal and shark teeth, fish and mammal bones, shells, simple flaked rock crystals and pebble stones, the well succeeded sambaquis expanded in time and space. Amazing polished stone artifacts (Fig. 8.2) in the graves point to cultural variability along the coast. As of now, about 1.600 skeletons were recovered in 60 different Brazilian sites. One of the biggest questions for bioarchaeologists today is if they are able to elucidate the unity and diversity of that people. For many decades questions about the biological characteristics of the sambaqui people have been asked (Alvim, 1978). New answers to ancient questions come from the studies on paleopathology, paleodiet, paleodemography. Geographical distribution of the sambaquis and their temporal persistence (9.000 to 1.300 BP). Brazilian sites distinguish from sites in other parts of the world, this richness points to a well succeeded strategy in tropical environments. At the same time it helps to explain variability in culture and biological cost of each lifestyles. 49 Fig. 8.2. Sculptures made of polished stones representing coastal fauna are characteristics of Brazilian shellmounds These characteristics are guidelines to discuss paleoepide- miological models for sambaquis. Their adaptability was proved by the ability to explore different ecotones along the productive and predictable coastal waters, resulting in the intense exploration of the mangroves, beaches, shallow water lagoons, rocky coastal reefs, sandy plains and estuarine areas as fishing-hunting-collecting fields. Holocene sambaqui lifestyle had the climax between 5.000 and 3.000 y.b.p. The consequences of the contact with other prehistoric people is not clear, in special the ceramists that arrived at the coast 800 to 1.300 years before present (Gaspar, 1994-1995). When the villages of the Itararé tradition and the Tupi and Guarani finally dominated the coast, sambaqui people was not there any more. For some authors, lifestyle based on the water born resources was simply adapted to include domestication of plants like manioc, maize and yams. The systematic use of seasonal natural carbohydrate provided by seasonal sources such as Brazilian pine could happen along with the water protein intake in coastal environments. New data on paleonutrition may help to elucidate this hypo- thesis in the next future (Weslowski et al., 20007). A great number of coastal sites are not characteristic sambaquis but share common artifacts and economic characteristics, suggesting that changes and diversity may have just been adaptative. Village settlements with or without ceramics can be found especially along the last millennia in the areas where sambaquis were dominant 4.000 or more years before. Comparative studies of groups living in true sambaquis and other sites will possibly help to elucidate their possible biological relationships. Concerning our present research, some questions are in the base of the bioarchaeology of the sambaquis: Were all the sambaqui groups similar? What was the biologic impact o their cultural differences? What was the impact of their lifestyles in health? Were they really well adapted as supposed? Which were their biological relationships to
50 Referências bibliográficas ALVIM, M.C. de Me. 1978. Caracterização da morfologia craniana de populações pré-histõricas ddo litoral meridional brasileiro (Paraná e Santa Catarina).
Arquivos de Anatomia e Antropologia do Instituto Souza Marques (Rio de Janeiro) III: 293-318.
De MASI, M.A.N. 1999. Prehistoric hunter gatherer mobility on the southern brazilian coast: Santa Ca- tarina Island. Tese de Doutorado: Stanford University.
FIGUTI, L. 1993. O homem pré-histórico, o molusco e o sambaqui: considerações sobre a subsistência dos povos sambaquianos. Revista do Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (São Paulo) 3: 67-80.
GASPAR, M.D. 1994-1995. Espaços, ritos funerários e identidade pré-histórica. Revista do Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (São Paulo) 8(2):221-237.
GASPAR, M.D.; De BLASIS, P.; FISH, S.K.; FISH, P.R. 2008. Sambaqui (Shell mound) societies of coastal Brazil. In: Helaine Silverman & William H. Isabelli (Eds.) Handbook of South American Archaeology. Springer: p. 319-338.
LIMA, T.A. 1999-2000. Em Busca dos Frutos do mar: os Pescadores-coletores do Litoral Centro-sul do Brasil. Revista USP, 44:270-332.
PROUS, A. 1992. Arqueologia brasileira. Editora da Universidade de Brasília: Brasília.
REINHARD, K.J.; CECCANTINNI, G. 2007. Grânulos de amido e fitólitos em cálculos dentários humanos> contribuições ao estudo do modo de vida e subsistência dos grupos sambaquianos do litoral sul do Brasil. Revista do Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia

Sambaquis (shell mounds) of the Brazilian coast
Quaternary International 239 (2011) 51e60

Gustavo Wagnera,*, Klaus Hilberta, Dione Bandeirab, Maria Cristina Tenórioc, Maria Mercedes Okumurad
aPontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Ipiranga, 6681, Partenon, CEP: 90619-900, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, BrazilbMuseu Arqueológico de Sambaqui de Joinville, Rua Dona Francisca, 600, Centro, CEP: 89201-250 Joinville, Santa Catarina, BrazilcUniversidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro -Museu Nacional, s/n, Quinta da Boa Vista, CEP: 20940-040, Rio de Janeiro, BrazildUniversity of Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Street, Cambridge, CB2 1QH, United Kingdom
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Available online 21 March 2011
a b s t r a c t
The Brazilian shell mounds called sambaquis have been well known since the 16th century when clergy, travelers, and members of the colonial administration wrote the ?rst narratives of Portuguese America. However,itwasonlyduring the secondquarterof the 19thcentury that, under the ordersof theImperial Government, the ?rst scienti?c expeditions carried out systematic research on these archaeological sites. The sambaquis ofBrazil arefound in the costal regions of the southand southeast, fromthe coastof what is today Espírito Santo State to the Rio Grande do Sul State. The oldest dates come from the states Rio de Janeiroand São Paulo,indicating that therewas an occupation asfar backas the 6th centuryBC. The sites are to be found in coves, sandy plains dominated by beach-ridges, rocky outcrops, mangrove groves, lagoons,estuariesorlargebays.Thislandscapevariabilityisequallyexpressedinthematerialcultureand resource exploitation, which are characterized by a variety of adaptive strategies and diversity between the various cultural contexts.
2011 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
The earliest references to the large accumulation of mollusc valves in Brazilian territory are attributed to the Jesuit Fernão Cardim in 1584, who described the process of shell accumulation, originating from momentary occupations, for the purpose of mollusc collection and subsequently for smoking on a móquem (grill-like device used to smoke meats) to supply the inland villages. In 1585, the Jesuit José de Anchieta mentioned islands of shells found along the Brazilian coast. In 1587, Gabriel Soares de Sousa described in detail the molluscs used by the Tupinambá of thecoastofBahiaforconstructingtheshellmounds.The1797work of the Jesuit Gaspar da Madre Deus described the funeral customs during seasonal occupations on the surface of the sites. However, during the 19th century the sambaquis captured the interestof the Emperor Dom Pedro II, who sent several scienti?c commissions to study the nation’s pre-historic past, and even personally oversaw the excavations of the sambaquis of Rio Sant’Ana, in Santos (Souza, 1991; Wagner, 2009a).
In Brazil, these sites are found more commonly between the temperate latitudes (Fig. 1) while they become less frequent at warmer or colder latitudes (cf. Fairbridge, 1976). There are refer- ences to shell mounds in the states of the northeast such as Bahia, Maranhão and Pará, although information is still inadequate to include them in the typical sambaqui occupations of the Brazilian coast (Prous, 1992; Lima, 1999e2000; Tenório, 2003; Wagner, 2009b).
Thearcheologicalsitesconsideredtobe sambaquisexistonlyon the coast of the south and southeast regions of Brazil and include the states of Espírito Santo,Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo,Paraná, Santa CatarinaandRioGrandedoSul(Fig.1).Thisarcheologicalcultureis characterized by the outstanding technical quality of stone pol- ishing, seen in zoomorphic sculptures of signi?cant aesthetic and artistic value. These sculptures are called zooliths, and they were considered as fossil guides to identify sites pertaining to the sam- baqui archeological culture.
However, research of the sambaquis of the Brazilian coast has notbeendoneinahomogeneousfashionovertheyears.Duringthe 1950s, research was concentrated in the south and southeast regions with an emphasis on the states of São Paulo and Paraná. During the following decades, the investments and the interests were relocated toward the state of Santa Catarina, and during the 1980s and 1990s research emphasis shifted toward Rio de Janeiro. Currently most of the research attention is geared toward Santa Catarina. The research in the border states of the sambaqui archeological culture, Espírito Santo and Rio Grande do Sul, have
dFig. 1. Map of Brazil and the Brazilian states mentioned in the text. G. Wagner et al. / Quaternary International 239 (2011) 51e605
received isolated efforts and have been restricted to a few institu- tions, especially in the 1960s and then in the 1980s. Attempts to achieve synthesis have been proposed, both from the perspective of the material culture as well as from the bio- archeological point of view (Schmitz, 1984; Netto, 1885; Neves, 1988; Ihering, 1904; Prous, 1992; Lima, 1999e2000; Okumura, 2008). However, the burial patterns, the archaeofaunal assem- blages, the material cultures, the settlement patterns, and the explored environments are very diverse, hampering the ability to de?ne the characteristics of speci?c cultural areas. Sambaquisarede?nedasarcheologicalsitesthatcontainaspeci?c tool set made of shells, bones, and stone associated with a matrix made up of mollusc shells and ?sh bones, where also are normally encounteredburials.Actually,this ismerelyageneralway to de?ne theseoccupationsthatextendalongthesouthandsoutheastcoastof Brazil, where regionally speci?c characteristics, in cultural material aswellastheinternalstructureofthesites,demonstratethediversity oftherelatedculturalcontexts.Theterm“shellmounds”willbeused in this paper to refer to the archeological sites made up of layers of shells related to any other of the archeological cultures that are separatefromthesambaquimound-builders.
Intermsoftheculturalconnectionbetweenthesambaquisthat are found in this vast territory, Gaspar (2000) states that at least the sambaquis of the south and southeast of Brazil were built by groups that shared the same ethnic identity. Comparing the data of more than 900 sambaquis, Gaspar discovered that they exist simultaneously as a living area, a burial spot, and an intentional collection of animal remains. Although there are unique regional characteristics, this “triple space association” is the key that allows the population that built sambaquis to be de?ned as an ethnic group that is distinct from other populations that were their contemporaries.
2. History of sambaqui research in Brazil
The ?rst references to the existence of sambaquis along the Brazilian coast date as far back as the 16th century. Since then, these archeological sites have been the target of research and speculation, providing current archeologists with an extensive set of information about the peoples that built them and theircultural contents.
The information produced during the 16th, 17th, and 18th century is characterized by the observations from travelers, cler- gymen, and members of the colonial administration that some- times witnessed the events related to the sambaquis. An intense debate about the origins of the sambaquis was started during the 19th century. The opinions were divided between three major schools of thought:
1) The naturalist, represented primarily by Hermann von Iher- ing, advocating the ideas of the natural origin of the sambaquis as a result of the marine oscillations and the coastal rising (epi- rogenisis) dating back to the Tertiary period, and
2) The artificialist, represented primarily byLadisláu Netto,who believed the sambaquis were the results of pre-historic human activity. The ?rst thirty years of the 20th century were marked by a heated debate and the strengthening of a conciliatory position based on the observations of the artificial sambaquis placed on top of the natural accumulation of mollusc valves
. 3) The mixed school of thought, ?nally, contributed to clarify the issue and bring an end to the debates (Wagner, 2009a). During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, a modern scienti?c approach was applied to sambaqui archeology, primarily through thecontributionsofforeignresearcherssuchasEmperaire,Laming, Hurt and Bryan. The excavations carried out by these researchers stimulated many Brazilian archeologists from the universities and museums of the states of Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, promoting more intense excavations and systematic research as well as comparative studies between different samba- quis (Prous,1992; Lima,1999+2000).
New Archeology and Processual Archaeology considerably in?uenced the research of Brazilian sambaquis from the 1980s exploring human adaptation to different environments and the speci?c exploitation strategies of the resources, as well as the development of research themes such as zooarcheology and bio- archeology.OnlyduringthistimeperiodwerethesambaquisofRio GrandedoSulthetargetofsystematicresearch,connectingthemto the group of sambaqui occupations of the Brazilian coast (Lima, 1990+2000).
3. Sambaquis of the Brazilian coast
The Sambaquis of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, in the south- ernmost region of Brazil, have been targeted for archeological research since the final years of the 19th century, when naturalists (andlaterethnologists)begantravellingintheregion.Theworksof T. Bischoff (1887), C. von Koseritz (1884), E. Roquette-Pinto (1906) and A. Serrano (1937) are among the most important. The area surrounding the cities of Tramandaí and Torres, along the state’s northern coast (Fig. 2), is the area of the highest frequency of sambaquis (Wagner, 2009b).
The lithic assemblage includes polished axe blades, polishers, weightsfor fishingnets andlines,hammerstones,flakes,aswellas thermophores and lithic vessels of different shapes (Kern, 1997). The raw materials used as support were the acidic stones such as basalt and dolerite, as well as different types of sandstone and beachrock (Wagner, 2009a). The Torres sites were mined for lime extraction from the beginning of 19th century, and only some collectionssurvive,savedandstoredbyresearchinstitutionsinSão Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, in museums of Porto Alegre, or in private collections. However, during the miningof these sites ?fty zooliths were discovered (Kern, 1970; Prous, 1977). Tools made from bone are rare but typical artifacts made of this material are needles andprojectile points from mammal bone, hooks from fish bones, spatulas from cetacean bone, and pendants from the Carcharhini- dae family of sharks (Jacobus,1997).
The malacological content of the sites in Rio Grande do Sul is uniquewhenitiscomparedtotheregionsintherestofthecountry. The shells of the Mesodesma mactroides (yellow clam) species, representtheonlyshellcomponentofthesesiteslayers,withsome rare occurrence of Donax hanleyanus (wedge clam) or the even more rare gastropod species. This peculiarity is due to a unique characteristic of the State’s littoral zone and shoreface, character- ized by a gradual slope creating an extensive intertidal zone (Rios, 1994).
The environments that were chosen for sambaqui occupation are the plateaus on top of beach-ridges in the area between the coastal lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. The few Rio Grande do Sul sites with radiocarbondating available point to arecent occupation between 3420 ? 60 BP (sambaqui do Camping), 3350 ? 50 BP (sambaqui do Recreio), and 1110 ? 40 BP (sambaqui da Dorva) (Wagner, 2009b).
Set at an altitude of 22 m, on top of a rocky outcrop, the sam- baqui de Itapeva is an exception when compared to the sambaqui settlement pattern of the region. However, the radiocarbon date of 3130?40BPplacesthesitewithinthesamechronologicalhorizon of the sambaquis settlement in the far south of Brazil. Between southern Santa Catarina and Espírito Santo State, the coast is marked by a series of rocky outcrops that belong to the SerradoMar.Theseformationsconstrainthedevelopmentofsandy plateaus and ample beaches. In these regions, the sambaquis are concentrated along the lagoon areas and in the inland portions of large bays.
In the State of Santa Catarina, the geomorphological settings upon which the sambaquis were built are characterized by diverse environments such as islands, the inland portion of bays, mangroves, channels, beach-ridges, rocky outcrops, and sandy dunes. The information acquired so far suggests that the first settlementwas around 7570-7320 cal BC (Rio Caipora), continuing until 710 ? 95 BC (sambaqui da Caieira), showing an ample chro- nological frame of around 6000 years, preceding the beginning of European colonization by 200 years.
The subsistence pattern denotes an exploitation of marine and terrestrial environment. The molluscs that make up the archeo- logical layers originate from the bay and the mangrove areas. Among the most utilized are the berbigão (Anomalocardia bra- siliana), the oyster (Ostrea sp.) and the bacucú (Modiolus brasi- liensis). The fishing activities are represented by a variety of tools made of bone in the shape of hooks, lances, harpoons, and needles formaintenanceofthenets.Fishingnetweightsfromstonepebbles are commonly found with polished, perforated, or flaked grooves. Adzes and polished ax blades suggest that boats were built allow- ing for the exploration of the various environments from the multitudeofseaandriverislandsoccupiedbythesambaquigroups along the coast of Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. In Santa Catarina sites there is the occurrence of realistic zoomorphic stone sculptures, pecked stones, hammer stones, grindstones on fixed support and lithic vessels with different shapes.
The gathering of plants was also part of the dietary assemblage of the sambaqui peoples. Research carried out on human teeth indicatesthattheconsumptionofvegetableswasimportantforthe MorrodoOuroandRioCompridosites(Fig.3).Thepresenceofstarch grains from Discorea sp. (yams), identified in skeleton teeth of the sambaqui Morro do Ouro is an example of this consumption (Wesolowski, 2000, 2007).
The southern region of the State of Santa Catarina is character- ized by the presence of monumental sambaquis with sites 30 min height and 500 m in length. Sixty-five sambaquis in the area have been studied, all dating to between 5270 ? 60 BP (Ilhotinha) and 710?95BP(sambaquidaCaieira)(Fig.4),andsetalongthemarginsof palaeo-lagoons that were the epicenters of the occupation (Kneip, 2004; Giannini et al., 2010). The sites vary in format, volume, distribution, and composition, where the older ones are smaller,indicatingasingleconstructionepisode.Duringtheperiod between 4000 and 2000 BP, there was an increased demographic expansion and an increase in the amount of sambaquis. It is during this period, between 2890 ? 55 and 1805 ? 65 BP, that the sambaqui Jabuticabeira II (one of the largest and considered a communal cemetery), was built using superimposed layers of shells and sediment over burials (Villagrán, 2008). The sambaquis werea ritual space related tothe dead and wereprimarily built for their symbolic meaning (Gaspar, 2000). Based on these regional characteristics, DeBlasis et al. (2007) suggest that the group of sambaquis people developed a series of more elaborate socialorganization characteristics using communal efforts for public buildings and ceremonial activities as well as the development of socialinequalityintheformofhierarchiesandstronglyestablished leadership.Theauthorssuggestthatbetween2000BPand1500BP there were changes in the depositional characteristics of the sites with the progressive substitution of shells for other organics sedi- mentsandwoodcharcoalintheupperlayers.This period coincides with the settlement of other archeological cultures in the region and environmental changes such as the progressive drying up or reduction in extension of the lagoons, which resulted in a lower saline concentration of thewater and the decrease in the supply of salt-water molluscs.
In Florianópolis along Santa Catarina’s central coast, a research project focused on the mobility of the mound-builders in the area surrounding Conceição Lake. The project sought to relate perma- nent and temporary settlements to the main productivity of the lagoon environments and to identify seasonality bystudying stable oxygen isotopes, shell coloration, and stable 13/12C and 15/14N isotopesfromcollagenremovedfromhumanandanimalbones.The results indicated that these populations had a low level of mobility and a diet based on the consumption of ?sh (DeMasi, 2001). In the sites established in the inland portion of the bays, for example the Babitonga Bay of the northern coast (sambaqui Espinheiros II in Joinville), Micropogonia furnieri (croaker) and Bairdiella sp. (perch) (Figuti and Klökler, 1996) are the most common ?shes. For sites established on sandy beaches facing the ocean (sambaquis da Enseada I and Bupeva II, São Francisco do Sul) the species most consumed were the Trichiurus lepturus (belt?sh) and the Conodon nobilis (Bared Grunt). There was also the consumptionofcrustaceansbuttheirpreservationinthesambaquis deposits is more problematic (Bandeira,1992, 2004).
At the sambaqui Cubatão I, located at the mouth of the Cubatão River in Joinville, fragments of braided vegetable ?berand wooden stakes were found in the early strata, suggesting the existence of a complex architectural structure. The study of this sites shows a construction process using two different techniques that corre- spond to two different strata: the ?rst is made of layers composed byusingplantmaterialandstonefragments(stacksandknotswith woodand?bers)andthesecondmadefromaddingdifferentlayers of mollusc shells and sediment (Bandeira et al., 2009). The archeological research in the State of Paraná began to be effectiveinthe1950s(EmperaireandLaming,1956),andduringthe early years of the following decade (Hurt and Blasi, 1960). The effortswereintensi?edafterthestartof theNationalArcheological Research Program (PRONAPA), between 1965 and 1970 when several sambaquis excavations were started in the Paranaguá Bay (Rauth, 1967, 1971). On the basis of the paleoenvironmental reconstructions proposed by Bigarella (1950e1951), Rauth attempted to identify the way of life and the group establishment patternsofthesambaquispeopleinthegiantNhundiaquarapalaeo- bay, which was gradually reduced due to sediment accretion (silt- ing) from rivers deposits that transformed it into the Paranaguá (Fig. 5).
Similarly to the sambaquis of Santa Catarina State, the sites in Paraná were basically built using accumulated shells of Anom- alocardia brasiliana, Ostrea sp. and Modiolus brasiliensis, sometimes resultinginmoundsmorethan21mhigh.Thechronologythatwas obtained for these sambaquis indicates that the occupation period was between 6540 ? 150 BP (sambaqui do Ramal), 6030 ? 130 BP (sambaqui Porto Maurício) on the central coast and 1540 ? 150 BP (sambaqui Ilha dos Ratos), on the southern coast (Parellada, 2008). The lithic tools found during excavation include polished axe blades, hammer stones, pecked stones, choppers, chopping tools, zoolithes and grindstones (Hurt and Blasi, 1960). The bone-made tools include harpoon points, spatulas, and adornments. Projectile points made from oyster valves were also found and these are unique to the sambaquis of this region. Thesambaquisfoundonthecoastof theState ofSão Paulowere the subjects of detailed research since the ?rst decades of the 20th century (Krone, 1914), and this research was intensi?ed as of the 1950s and 1960s through international excavation programs (Emperaire and Laming,1956).
The most researched areas were Cananéia-Iguape where 107 sambaquis were found, all located on the continent and adjacent islands (Krone, 1914; Uchôa and Garcia, 1983). A main part of the researcheffortwastheunderstandingofthestratigraphicconstruct ofthesites.Accordingtosomeauthors,layerscomposedofasingle shell taxon were linked to episodes of rapid accumulation while more heterogeneous layers were considered to be the result of longer occupation periods. Efforts were also spent to reconstruct thechronologicalsequenceoftheoccupations,usingthesambaquis as spatial-temporal markers for the variation of sea levels (Martin et al.,1984; Callipo, 2004).
The malacological composition of these sambaquis, generally matches the species found in the Santa Catarina and Paraná, with Ostreasp.valvesbeingthemaincomponent.Inthesouthernregion, sambaquis made of Anomalocardia brasiliana are also found. The most common lithic tools of the sambaquis of São Paulo State include simple used quartz ?akes, scrapers, ground stones (gener- ally obtained from basalt and diabase) hammer stones, stone polishers, grooved abraders and zoolithes.
The state of São Paulo stands out because of the presence of sambaquis that are dated before the Alithermal (6500-5000 BP): Maratuá dated at 7803 plus or minus 1300 BP (this date is often considered doubtful) and Cambriu Grande dated 7870 plus or minus 80 BP (Fig. 6). The coast of Rio de Janeiro is characterized by heterogeneity, both in the distribution of the sambiquis as well as their geo- morphologic character. A detailed evaluation of the site locations allowscertainareastobeobservedwheretheoccupationsoccurin a concentrated fashion.
The region of the cities of Parati and Angra dos Reis, in Ilha Grande Bay, has a jagged coastline, with several coves, bays, and small peninsulas as well as rocky islands. The beaches and the sandy stretches are not very developed, and the sites are predom- inantly located in mangrove ?ood plains, estuaries, or islands. On one of the islands is the Algodão site, one of the oldest sites of the Brazilian coast dated at 7860 ? 80 years BP (Fig. 7). A more recent layer was dated at 3350 ? 80 BP, a date much closer to the typical chronology of the region: 3060 ? 40 BP for the sambaquis Ilhote do Leste and Ponta do Leste around 2880 ? 40 BP (Tenório, 2003).
On the Guaratiba plain, about 100 km to the north there is another region of concentrated sites. The region is an area of transition between a marine environment and a continental one, crisscrossed by several tidal channels. The sambaquis observed in this region are primarilyassociated with the tidal channelsand are smallisolatedreliefs in themidstof sandyplains. The onlyexisting datingisfromthesambaquiZéEspinhothatindicatesanoccupation at around 2260 ? 160 BP.
On the east bank of the Guanabara Bay there are two sambaqui concentration areas: on the Magé plain and the Itaipu beach. The Magé plain is characterized by a low-lying area with marine terraces, ?ood plains and river deltas where the sambaquis are localized in mangrove groves(Fig. 8). On theItaipu beach thereare sites on the sand formation that separates Camboinhas Lake from the Guanabara Bay. The sambaqui de Camboinhas has one of the oldestdatesfortheBraziliancoast:7958?224BP.Thesitealsohas two more dates, 2562 ? 160 BP and 2,328 ? 136, closer to the chronology of the surrounding sambaquis such as Duna Pequena Toward the northeasternpart of the State, there are fewer sites. Thesitesbegintoreappearafter50kmofcoastline,nearthecityof Saquarema,wherethelakeregionofRiodeJaneirobegins.Thisarea is characterized by crystalline rock relief that act as dividers between the two major drainage basins that feed Saquarema Lake. Herethe sambaquis are concentrated along the plains of the inland sandbanks,facingthelake(Barbosa,2007).Afterabout50kmthere is another concentration of sites, located on the Cabo Frio Cape. In this region the sambaquis are found in groups located on beaches, channels, or rocky outcrops with an elevation of up to 50 m asl. TheSãoJoãoRiverplainischaracterizedbyaslightlyinclinedarea subjecttoconstant?oodingduetothetidesystem.Mostofthesites are found inland, between 3 and 10 km from the current coastline. They are connected to palaeo-lagoons, small rivers and lowlands, andtheyhavebeendatedbetween3670?80ontheIlhadaBoaVista II and1920 ? 60 BP for theIlha da Boa Vista IV (Tenório, 2003). The analysis of the material culture distribution found in the sambaquis of Rio de Janeiro state allows certain patterns to be observed. Lithic tools include portable grinders, axe blades, grooved abraders, mortars, hammer stones, anvils, grindstone on ?xedsupportandquartz?akeswithusededgesfordirecthandling. The lack of pendants is notable in the Saquarema, Cabo Frio Cape, and the São João plain regions. Dyed pebbles were not found in either the Cabo Frio Cape or the São João plain. In terms of bone- made artifacts, several points and double points are part of the assemblages, but only a few perforated vertebrae and teeth were found in the sites of the São João plain. Teeth with multiple perforations, spatulas, and stingray points were more commonly found at the Ilha Grande Bay and the lakes region of Saquarema. Finally,the malacological artifacts are less frequent, and differently distributed.Theelementthatstandsoutthemostaretheelaborate scrapers made of Callista maculata. These are only found in certain sites of the Ilha Grande Bay, the Cabo Frio bay, and the São João plain. It is worth noting the presence, along the coast of Rio de Janeiro (except the Cabo Frio Cape) of Strombus costatus (milk conch) with cut marks.
The coast of the state of Espírito Santo, on the northern edge of thesambaquiextent,hasnotbeenmuchresearchedyet.Ingeneral, the sambaquis found in this area are along Vitória Bay or on the sandyplainsofthenorth,linkedtothemainriverdeltasupto8km from the coast. The layers of these sites are mostly made up of Ostrea sp., but Anomalocardia brasiliana, Crassostrear hizophorae (oyster), Mytella sp. and Lucina pectinata (thick lucine) can also be found (Salles-Cunha,1963; Orssich,1964; Perota,1971,1974). The most common lithic artifacts are quartz ?akes made from direct percussion without any additional ?nishing, cutting instru- ments,andscrapers.Therearealsopolishedandsemi-polishedaxe blades made of quartz, used ?akes, pecking stones, choppers, shopping tools and scrapers. The bone artifacts include projectile points, pendants made of different mammal teeth and perforated ?sh vertebrae. Burials are typically found in cemented levels of shells with a high content of wood charcoal and ashes, covered by a red substance and with polished axe blades (Salles-Cunha,1963;whencomparedtotheothersambaquisinthestate.Theyarefound in low-lying areas, subject to flooding, in the middle of mangrove and they have very pronounced terrigenous strata (Orssich,1964). A date of 1435 ? 80 shows the recent occupation of the region (Perota,1974).These are sometimesgroupedas “pre-ceramic sites” andconsideredasseparatefromtherestofthegroupofsambaquis. 4. Bioarchaeology(biological anthropology)of thesambaquis Although the researchcarried out in the sambaquis of Brazil has spanned several aspects that characterize thesesites,including the fauna, the settlement pattern and formation processes, the ?eld in which the most research and knowledge has been produced is, unquestionably, bioarcheology. The skeletons found in the samba- quis have always caught attention, both from the layman and the academic world. Indeed, for a long time, these sites have been consideredcemeteriesandforthisreasonitisimportanttopresent more details about this research.
Traditionally, the analysis of human bone material from coastal Brazilian sites was focused on the description or quanti?cation of the dental pathologies (e.g. see Salles-Cunha, 1963; Araujo, 1969, 1970) or contagious and nutritional pathologies (e.g. see Mello- Alvim and Gomes, 1989). Only during the last few decades has more systemic and comparative palaeopathological research been carried out, which includes post-cranial material for a better understanding of the disease patterns of these populations (Machado,1984; Hubbe, 2005; Okumura and Eggers, 2005). Studies regarding dental pathologies in sambaquis people revealed the presence of reoccurring occlusal wear, both moderate and severe, on most specimens. These patterns were probably causedbytheinvoluntarilyingestionofsandandphytolithswiththe food (Boyadjian et al., 2007; Wesolowski, 2007). The abrasive material was also responsible for periodontal disease, because the high levels of dental wear as well as the frequency of calculations would have contributed to a rise in the in?ammation and the resulting infection of the soft tissues (gums). The severe occlusal wear would also lower the substrate level, thus lowering the occurrenceofocclusalcavitiesinthesepopulations.Indeed,withthe exception of some skeletons fromsites in Santa Catarina and Coro- ndó(RiodeJaneiro),mostoftheindividualsfromtheBraziliancoast donothavecavities (Machado,1984; Wesolowski,2000,2007). Analysis of post-cranial material from these populations revealed a high occurrence of bone lesions related to infectious processes.Thehighpositivecorrelationbetweeninfectiousdisease, population density, and the level of sedentism is well known. Therefore, the disease pattern seems to indicate that these groups had low levels of mobility and a relatively high population density (Mendonça,1995; Hubbe, 2005; Okumura and Eggers, 2005). Comparative cranial studies between pre-historic groups of the Brazilian coast are still rare, but several authors support the idea that there was a morphological unity between the populations of the coast. However, these studies are based on a small sample of sitesandarenotstatisticallysound(Okumura,2008).Neves(1988), after considering the archeological record and the morpho-cranial variability of the sambaquis people, suggested that between 7000 BP and 6000 BP hunter-gatherer populations from the inte- rior of Brazil, probably belonging to the Humaitá tradition (e.g. Schmitz,1984), arrived on the coast between the modern states of Paraná and São Paulo. From there, two migration routes started, one following a northern direction and another following asouthernone,givingbirthtothelargestsambaquis.Thesambaquis to the north of São Paulo tend to be smaller and fewer (Neves, 1988).
Neves’ hypothesis is fundamentally based on the idea that the groups that occupied the coast of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo formed a single biological unit, different from those groups that settled the coast of Paraná and Santa Catarina, while the sambaqui populations of São Paulo held an intermediary position. Okumura (2008) was able to corroborate this hypothesis after analyzing cranial measurements of approximately 700 individuals, as well as non-metric data of approximately 1000 individuals. Thus, the results of this study point toward two separate main groups, with two distinct cranial morphologies, where the separation between thetwohappensalongtheParanácoast.Towardthecentralcoastof Santa Catarina Okumura (2008) observed a relative difference betweenthegroupofthesettlementwithpotteryandthosethatdo not have pottery, reinforcing the hypothesis of the existence of a socio-cultural unity among the sambaqui mound-builders of the south and the southeast regions of Brazil.
5. Conclusion
Fromthissummaryonthesambaquisarchaeologicalevidence,it is apparent that more intense work on the Brazilian coastal sam- baquis is a priority. Several coastal regions have not been targeted for research as yet, making it impossible to de?ne the exact area covered by the sambaquis people and the origin of their archeo- logical culture. The existing chronology re?ects the rhythm of the research, which has been intense in certain regions, and provides several dates for few sambaquis or, short periods of research over vast areas that supply only minimal data to reconstruct the settlement system of the Brazilian coast.
Nevertheless, the in-depth research carried out on the samba- quis from the South and Southeast coasts allows the establishment ofsomepatternsinthedistributionoftheculturalelements,which reinforces the hypothesis of the existence of a socio-cultural unit among the sambaqui mound-builders. It is important to point out thetriplespaceassociationofburials,theintentionalityintheshell mounds building with malacological layers of many metres of thicknessandthejointoccurrenceofthesambaquisasasettlement pattern. Bioarcheological data have reinforced the hypothesis of a differentiation among the sambaqui mound-builders, the pop- ulations with pottery and the hunter-gatherers from the Brazilian inland areas. Although the regional lithic industries showed differences in the use of raw materials (diabase and basalt at Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná and São Paulo, and quartz at São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo) and peculiar stone tools from each region, the occurrence of speci?c instruments throughout the coast sites suggests the existence of a social and cultural unity. Important are the presence of grindstones on ?xed supportmainlyinRiodeJaneiroandSantaCatarina,theoccurrence of zooliths in São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, the concentration of scrapers in Rio de Janeiro and Paraná, choppers and chopping tools in Paraná and Espírito Santo and ?nally, the shaped recipients such as plates, bowls and mortars in Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul and Rio de Janeiro. Future research should seek to understand the variations of the materialcultureofthesesites.Researchdatafromtheearlydecades of the 20th century show that lithic and bone-made tools can be found in some sites but are vary rare in others. How can this vari- ation be explained? How do we explain hundreds of burial sites concentrated in a single sambaqui while there are hundreds of kilometers of coast with hundreds of sambaquis that have none? G. Soares de Sousa noted the use of sambaqui shells for construction purposes during the colonial period. After three centuries, in 1884C von Koseritz denounced the economic exploi- tation of the sites in Rio Grande do Sul. Currently, the legal mech- anismstoprotectthisarcheologicalheritageareprecarious,andthe lackofspeedinthejudicialproceduresleadstothelossofprecious information. It is up to the archeologist to intensify the efforts so thatthecontextoftheseancientsettlementscanresistdestruction, allowing society in the future to continue the research.
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Villagrán, X., 2008. Análise de arqueofáies na camada preta do sambaqui Jabutica- beira II. Dissertação de Mestrado, Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil. Wagner, G., 2009a. Sambaquis da barreira da Itapeva, uma perspectiva geo- arqueológica. Tese de Doutorado, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil.
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Intersecciones en antropología
versión On-line ISSN

Intersecciones antropol. v.10 n.2 Olavarría jul./dic. 2009

Neotropical Zooarchaeology and Taphonomy, edited by A. Sebastián Muñoz and Mariana Mondini. Quaternary International, Volume 180, Issue 1, March 2008, pp. 1-158. ISSN 1040-6182.

Reseña de László Bartosiewicz.

Institute of Archaeological Sciences. Loránd Eötvös University, Múzeum Krt. 4/B. 1088 Budapest, Hungary. E-mail:

Archaeological excavators are latecomers by vocation, and given good preservation, much of the finds are animal bones. Taphonomy, the critical evaluation of bioarchaeological information in archaeology through understanding site formation processes, has become one of their chief tools in dealing with bone remains. A concept introduced in paleontology (Efremov 1940), taphonomy has not only become the indispensable first step in archaeozoological inquiry, but also the best common denominator linking various studies of human-animal relationships across chronological periods and continents. This aspect of taphonomy is especially important in presenting geographically diverse areas with a rich and varied archaeological heritage such as the Neotropical region that includes what is historically known as Latin America and the southern United States around the Gulf of México. Immense latitudinal and altitudinal variability of habitats has made taphonomy the lingua franca between archaeozoologists - sometimes even within geographically varied countries such as Argentina (Gutiérrez et al. 2007).

This volume is a clearly structured collection of papers submitted to the session entitled "Neotropical Zooarchaeology and Taphonomy" organized by the volume editors at the 10th International Conference of the International Council for Archaeozoology in México D.F. in 2006. While the session abstract promised to highlight "specific research problems in the region from ecological, evolutionary, and biogeographic points of view" (Polaco et al. 2006: 11), this volume is also a collection of scholarly papers that represent broader, general trends in human-animal interactions in the Neotropical region throughout the late Quaternary.

The introductory paper by A. Sebastián Muñoz and Mariana Mondini, offers a clear defi nition of the region extending on either side of the Equator with the Pacific to the west and the Caribbean/Atlantic to the east. They point out that south of the isthmus of Panama, South America has a triangular shape narrowing toward the south. This geometry coincides with simpler ecological and structural systems and the increasing climatic influence of oceans southwards. The Andes, meanwhile, stop westerly winds sweeping across the continent and much of the precipitation is lost on its western slopes. At the same time, the availability of land decreases on the narrowing landmass. This geographical setup offers outstanding biodiversity and excellent preservation in some areas while taphonomic challenges dominate in others. These contribute to the immense variety of zooarchaeological topics available for investigation.

This rich geographical and archaeological landscape is depicted in further anthropological detail by Peter W. Stahl, keynote speaker of the session, who offers a thought provoking review of zooarchaeology in the neotropics in terms of historical ecology. Placing this paper at the beginning introduces important culture historical and ethical points for outsiders, especially researchers from densely inhabited, industrialized Europe. Even if we are aware of the pitfalls of ethnographic analogy, the reminder that "‘traditional small-scale societies’ [ in the Neotropical region[occupy marginalized environments because of historical circumstances… Not only do they possess a history,… but they may be inappropriate analogs for constructing inferences about peoples of the past" sets the tone for reading the rest of the volume. Functional similarities between riparian habitats in Amazonia and the prehistoric taskscapes in the marshy Great Hungarian Plain could be explored only on an abstract, theoretical level (Whittle 2007: 743-744).

The peopling of the Americas offers a powerful research paradigm for archaeologists working in this region. Adauto Araujo et al. interpret palaeoparasitological evidence in light of the latitudinal climatic variability from east to west along the continent. The authors conclude that some prehistoric thermophilic parasites must have been introduced by human hosts along migration routes alternative to the Bering region. Another scientific problem of this early period, the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna, is addressed in the study by Alejandro García et al. who studied the dietary composition of Hippidion at two sites in Argentina. Both studies rely on nonosteological, laboratory methods for the recovery of biological evidence.

The authors of the next set of papers review natural taphonomic factors (some of them in the form of actualistic studies), something that has been standard practice in paleontology. The importance of such research to archaeozoology is that by excluding anthropogenic effects, the natural elements in the process become recognizable and may later be identified in more complex, cultural deposits. The differential preservation of bird and mammal bones was studied by Isabel Cruz in southern Patagonia. Her analysis of rich natural deposits formed under extreme climatic circumstances helps make clear fundamental differences in preservation between the two vertebrate classes, which are frequently distorted by human decision-making (prey selection, carcass processing, etc.) in archaeological assemblages (Bartosiewicz and Gál 2007). The detailed survey of natural massmortality processes in guanaco herds caused by winter stress in Southern Patagonia, analyzed by Juan Bautista Belardi and Diego Rindel, is reminiscent of the classical work by Weigelt (1927), who long before the explicit definition of taphonomy recognized the research potential of documenting contemporary mass deaths of animals as part of paleontological inquiry. These authors attempt to establish forensic criteria for the identification of mass mortality in archaeological deposits. Mariana Mondini and A. Sebastián Muñoz contributed a review of bone damage inflicted by pumas. Variability in puma taphonomic action needs to be understood within the context of the local fauna in areas that are as diverse as the neotropical region. Actualistic studies on large felids as taphonomic agents, thus, have implications for the interpretation of the composition of archaeofaunal assemblages.

Recognizing the effects of action by non-human predators is fundamental in appraising early prehistoric human subsistence patterns focusing on the largest prey with the best yield in areas characterized by low faunal diversity such as northwestern Patagonia where Pablo Marcelo Fernández studied faunal exploitation during the last 3500 calibrated years. These archaeological
bone assemblages originated from sites representing low energy environments in the Sub-Antarctic forest zone and the extra-Andean Patagonian steppe region. Large vertebrates revealed fat-oriented carcass processing. Guanaco bones associated both with ceramic and aceramic technologies displayed no change in carcass processing. Similarities in the evidence of bone fat extraction suggest boiling prior to the introduction of pottery.

Taphonomic analysis was used as a key to the interpretation of Brazilian archaeofaunas by Albérico Nogueira De Queiroz and Olivia Alexandre De Carvalho. Their study encompasses vast geographical distances and a time interval ranging between ca. 9500-2600 BP. They have shown that modification by non-human predators on microvertebrates was more significant in Amazonian sites and in the south. Evidence of humans exploiting small animals, however, was obvious in archaeological sites from the northeast of Brazil, where animal bones were abundant in hearths and also show marks of butchering.

The emphasis in the following cluster of papers is placed on the exploitation of aquatic resources. The Neotropical region includes the possibly narrowest filter in the migration of terrestrial organisms: the isthmus of Panamá, linking the landmass of North to South America. On the other hand, until the 1914 opening of the Panama Canal, this narrow strip of land isolated two oceans representing radically different aquatic environments -a major attraction during the first ever ICAZ meeting in Latin America, that of the Fish Remains Working Group, held in Panamá in 1997. Taphonomy at two coastal rock shelters in Parita Bay on the Pacific side was studied by Diana Rocío Carvajal-Contreras et al. with a special focus on fishing and fish curing as well as coast-inland transport of the processed product. However, the composition of the fish bone assemblages was also interpreted within the broader context of marine transgression (ca. 7000 BP) and coastal progradation (after ca. 4000 BP). Preliminary taphonomic analyses suggest that the studied sites were used for curing fish between 2200 and 1900 BP. At that time, geomorphological conditions favored such activities making them profi table in a wider, probably chiefdom-scale, economic system. In the next paper, Pedro Volkmer de Castilho reviews evidence for the utilization of cetaceans in shell mounds from the southern coast of Brazil. It is worth mentioning that partly due to excellent preservation created by their calcareous matrix, shell middens played a key rolein the emergence of zooarchaeology in both the Old and New Worlds (Forchhammer et al. 1851-1856; Wyman 1868). The author of this paper analyzed cetacean remains from at least nine species found at six shell mound sites along the Atlantic coast in Santa Catarina State, estimated to date from 5020 to 2670 BP. The results suggest that there was sporadic exploitation of scavenged carcasses (mainly whales) and capture of smaller odontocetes, probably using fish nets. In addition, information on anthropogenic taphonomic effects such as butchery as well as palaeopathology are discussed. In addition to marine fauna, studies of fresh water fishing in this volume are represented by the analysis of fish remains from the Bolivian shore of Lake Titicaca by José M. Capriles et al. Following the rigorous evaluation of sampling, a many-sided taphonomic evaluation is provided that shows reduction in the importance of aquatic resources throughout the Formative Period (1000 BCAD 400). While standardization in fish exploitation and processing characterize the Middle Formative, by the Late Formative, there was a clear reduction in the importance of fish in the diet as the intensification domesticate exploitation continued. This trend is evaluated within the context of the interface between environmental change and socioeconomic complexity in the Lake Titicaca Basin.

This latter paper leads the reader to animal husbandry in the high Andes, a topic that is continued by Silvana A. Rosenfeld in a way that is unusual for many working outside the region: the exploitation of guinea pigs. (My personal experience with the topic is that when I made an inquiry on the ZooArch mailing list in relation to cut-marks on a hamster find from Hungary, I was inundated by dozens of helpful emails from Latin America; Bartosiewicz 2003). In her paper, Rosenfeld proposes that prolific guinea pigs were crucial in the diet at the site of Conchopata in the Peruvian Andes around AD 600-1000 because they represented an additional, easily renewable source of fat i.e. calories, especially during the wet season at this settlement located at 2760 m asl. The result is an exemplary study of seasonality and its implications on the consumption of fat in the pre-Columbian Andean diet. Looking at another, more contested case of domestic animal exploitation, Andrés D. Izeta reviews the relationship between humans and camelids. These connections have changed from extractive techniques at the end of the Pleistocene to production of domesticated camelids in herds. The author studies thelatter using assemblages from two different eco-zones in Northwestern Argentina. Signs of Late Holocene camelid exploitation differed during the three observed periods. The earliest period is characterized by the use of llama, guanaco and vicuña in both zones with a dominance of adult remains. Lower biodiversity is evident during the second period with more species variability in the puna and in some lower valleys. The Late period is characterized by the presence of adult camelids in the puna, while subadults become preponderant in other localities and valley assemblages do not reveal major changes during the three periods in camelid demography or taxonomic diversity. This difference allowed the reconstruction of two models of camelid use in the studied region.

In the final research paper in the volume, Eduardo Corona-M. reviews the exploitation of vertebrates in Xochicalco, an important Mesoamerican urban, ceremonial and military center between AD 700-900. The site is located in the transition zone between the Nearctic and Neotropic zoogeographical regions in México. This borderland location is reflected in the mixed zooarchaeological assemblage. Social hierarchy, another source of species variability at this complex site was also taken into consideration in a multivariate analyses that directed attention to a few species coming from the Neotropical area (e.g., pecarí, jaguar and American crocodile), that seem to have been used by elites as social markers in distinguished locations. Thus, species composition at individual loci on the site offers a unique glimpse at the interaction between zoogeographic affinity and social hierarchy.

Finally, the archaeology of the Neotropics is briefly summarized by Luis Alberto Borrero who acted as discussant at the end of this rich conference session. Representing a apparently environmental archaeological perspective he asserts that there is a role for archaeology in the Neotropical region in tracing how species and landscapes that interact with humans change. Moreover these processes all include a taphonomic component. He offers an insider’s view of the individual papers in their original, Latin- American context rather than with reference to Old World developments as I have here.

Comparing these two views historically explains why this volume is of particular importance. As mentioned above, archaeozoology emerged and became strong with research on shell middens in both the Old and New Worlds at the end of the 19th century. The influence of immigrant Europeanscholars such as Robert Lehman-Nitsche, a naturalist, physician and ethnographer from Germany, was instrumental in linking research between these two far-flung regions (Bilbao 2004). Relations between megafaunal extinctions and the appearance of the first humans in South America also greatly inspired zooarchaeological research (e.g., Lehman-Nitsche 1899). Archaeological interpretations of animal remains also included a study of osseous industries that was cutting-edge for its time (e.g., Lehman-Nitsche 1904). A post-World War II renaissance in archaeozoological studies in Central Europe became synergetic with New Archaeology in the anglophone world by the late 1960s, and stimulated faunal research in both North and South America through integrating personalities such as Wheeler Pires-Ferreira and Kaulicke 1976. This trend was probably not independent of the vested interest of processual archaeologists in understanding subsistence and the emergence of food production in the Near East that increased the world-wide importance of zooarchaeology (Bartosiewicz and Choyke 2002). External influences evolved in quiet symbiosis with local work in various countries in the Neotropical region and resulted in strong communities of zooarchaeologists whose international impact has increased significantly outside the continent over the last decades. As is clearly demonstrated by the papers in this volume, the diverse Neotropical region has offered research opportunities for everyone. Natural science oriented, taphonomic research became very strong in Patagonia, while Mesoamerica has developed into the scene of zooarchaeological research in connection with important projects on the archaeology of complex societies. Studying similar state formations as well as European colonial influences in the Andes and surrounding Andean regions were integrated within the Camelid Working Group (Grupo Zooarqueología de Camélidos), established in 1993. The group has been active within ICAZ since 1995.

Zooarchaeology, a narrow discipline, is particularly dependent on global communication. Exposure of the excellent work by specialists in Latin America has indubitably benefited from an increasing number of publications in English. In 2004, a remarkable collection of 12 papers on zooarchaeology in South America, was edited by Guillermo Mengoni Goñalons. In the introduction to that volume, he pointed out that many contributors already belonged to the "second generation of zooarchaeologists" (Mengoni Goñalons 2004: 5). Less than fi ve years later, it is especially welcome that Quaternary International, the official journal of the International Union for QuaternaryResearch (INQUA), dedicated its March 2008 issue to a session of the 2006 ICAZ conference offering a complementary review. It is to the credit of the editors (both of the special issue and the journal itself) that they managed to kill two birds with one bola: maintain the integrity of the symposium and guarantee the properly accredited quality of contributions.

This informative volume marks yet another high point in an important trend: the First Latin American Zooarchaeology meeting that will take place during the 13th Anthropological Congress in Bogotá, Colombia in October 2009.


1. Bartosiewicz, L. 2003 A millennium of migrations: Protohistoric mobile pastoralism in Hungary. In Zooarchaeology: Papers to Honor Elizabeth S. Wing, edited by F. Wayne King, and C. M. Porter, pp. 101-130. Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History 44, Gainesville.

2. Bartosiewicz, L. and A. M. Choyke 2002 Archaeozoology in Hungary. Archaeofauna 11: 117-129.

3. Bartosiewicz, L. and E. Gál 2007 Sample size and taxonomic richness in mammalian and avian bone assemblages from archaeological sites. Archeometriai Műhely 1: 37-44.

4. Bilbao, S. 2004 Rememorando a Roberto Lehmann-Nitsche. Buenos Aires, La Colmena.

5. Efremov, I. A. 1940 Taphonomy: a new branch of paleontology. Pan- American Geologist 74: 81-93.

6. Forchhammer, G., J. Steenstrup, and J. Worsaae 1851-1856 Undersøgelser i geologisk-antikvarisk retning. København, Kongliga Hofbogtrykker Bianco Luno.

7. Gutiérrez, M. A., L. Miotti, G. Barrientos, G. Mengoni Goñalons, and M. Salemme (Eds.) 2007 Taphonomy and Zooarchaeology in Argentina. BAR International Series 1601. Archaeopress, Oxford.

8. Lehmann-Nitsche, R. 1899 Coexistencia del hombre con un gran desdentado y un equino. Revista del Museo de La Plata IX: 455-473.

9. Lehmann-Nitsche, R. 1904 Nuevos objetos de industria humana encontrados en la Caverna Eberhardt en Última Esperanza. Revista del Museo de La Plata XI: 57-70.

10. Mengoni Goñalons, G. L. 2004 Introduction: An overview of South American zooarchaeology. In Zooarchaeology of South America, edited by G. L. Mengoni Goñalons, pp. 1-10. BAR International Series 1298. Archaeopress, Oxford.

11. Polaco, O. J., J. Arroyo Cabrales, F. J. Aguilar, and A. F. Guzmán (Eds.) 2006 Abstracts. International Council for Archaeozoology, 10th Conference. México D.F., Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia - Escuela Nacional de Conservación, Restauración y Museografía, México D.F.

12. Weigelt, J. 1927 Rezente Wirbeltierleichen und ihre paläobiologische Bedeutung. Leipzig, Verlag von Max Weg.

13. Wheeler Pires-Ferreira, J. C. and P. Kaulicke 1976 Preceramic animal utilization in the Central Peruvian Andes. Science 194: 483-490.

14. Whittle, A. 2007 On the waterfront (With a contribution by László Bartosiewicz). In The Early Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain: investigations of the Körös culture site of Ecsegfalva 23, County Békés II, edited by A. Whittle, pp. 727-752. Varia Archaeologica Hungarica 21.

15. Wyman, J. 1868 An account of some kjoekkenmoeddings, or shell-heaps, in Maine and Massachusetts. American Naturalist 1/11: 561-584.

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The same types of shellmounds (with skulls similar to some of the Brazilian ones, and the owners of the skulls similarly tending to be shorter than their ancestors)are of course found all around the Caribbean and in Florida, and in the Southern US, easpecially around the Mississippi river delta, as a variety of the Archaic. As mentioned in the last prio blog entry, there is a continuity of some of these Archaic types up into the Hopewell Moundbuilder period.
I had mentioned that sharkteeth were important in Atlantean cultures and the trait of using sword-like clubs studded with shark teeth (or their substitutes in chipped stone) were also widespread and presumably descended from an Atlantean source. I had not known then that the ttrait was a common "Moundbuilder" trait in both North and South America nor yet that some of the concave-based Archaic arrowheads were supposedly meant to represent shark teeth. The same points also occur in the Capsian of Northern Africa, with similar serrations around the sides.
Serrated "sharktoothed" arrowhead or dart point.
The sharktooth-edged swordclubs: at Cahokia, the shaped flint "Sharkteeth" later fulled the purpose but shark's teeth was still also imported to set to the edges of the club-swords. The wooden handles with the embedded teeth have been found intact in "Moundbuilder" burials.


  1. The text is still a little buggy but I'll keep at it. FYI, the reader has problems with "fi" ot "fl" and replaces them with a "?", and it also has problems with the plus-or-minus sign and replaces it with a "?"

    These shellmounds stretch southward all along the coast of Brazil from Marajao Island ald also up the Amazon for quite a way in, and Marajao Island would seem to have been abn important center for the distribution of these people. Thesre peoples travelled by boat along the shorelines and some of the places they settled are only accessable by boat. The men tended to have better-developed arms than legs because they were rowing boats a lot and not walking so much.

    Shellmounds in general seem to be linked to both Atlantic/Atlantean and Pacific/Lemurian centers of dispersal, but the types of skulls and skeletons found in either tend to be distinctive: the interesting thing is that both types come together in Brazil. Some of the skulls could have come from Jomonic Japan from the look of them. But the making of Shellmounds is much older in Africa and it can be counted as an "Out of Africa" trait that went off in two different directions. The stemmed projectile points often found in Shellmounds world-wide also originated in Africa.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  2. I also received a folowing notice with an attached link. In case people have not noticed, I have the option not to passself-promotional links and I will not run them if I feel they are off-topic. Nonetheless here is the mssage without the link:

    rahul has left a new comment on your post "Brazillian Moundbuilders":

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