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The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
The continuing quest for el dorado round two
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The continuing quest for el dorado round two

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  • 1. Society for American Archaeology The Continuing Quest for El Dorado: Round Two Author(s): Betty J. Meggers Source: Latin American Antiquity, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Sep., 2001), pp. 304-325 Published by: Society for American Archaeology Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/971635 . Accessed: 21/06/2011 17:16 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=sam. . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Society for American Archaeology is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Latin American Antiquity. http://www.jstor.org
  • 2. An increasing numberof publications supportsthe autonomousdevelopmentof dense sedentarypopulations with advanced social organizationthroughoutAmazoniainspite of abundantarchaeological, ethnographic,physical, andbiological evidence for environmentallimitationsto sustainable intensive exploitationof the varzea as well as the terrafirme. Threearticles in recentissues of LatinAmericanAntiquitydisputethe validityof the data collected duringthreedecades of surveybypartici- pants of the ProgramaNacional de PesquisasArqueologicas na Bacia Amazonica,which indicate that survivingindigenous groupsperpetuatesettlementand social behavioradoptedat least 2,000 years ago, whenthe widespreaduse ofpotterymakes it detectable. Correctionof themisunderstandingscontributingto this "revisionist"assessment is essential because uncritical acceptance of the conclusions not only conflicts with ecological and archaeological evidence, butprovides supportfor the unconstraineddeforestationof the region. Uncrecientenumerodepublicacionesapoyael desarrolloautonomodepoblacionesdensasy sedentariasconorganizacionsocial avanzadaa lo largo de la Amazoniaa pesar de la abundanteevidenciaarqueologica,etnografica,fisica y biologica de la exis- tenciade limitacionesmedioambientalespara la explotacionintensivasosteniblede la varzeacomode la terrafirme.Tresarticu- los en numerosrecientesde LatinAmericanAntiquityrechazanla credibilidadde la evidenciarecolectadadurantetresde'cadas deprospeccionesrealizadaspor losparticipantesdel ProgramaNacional de PesquisasArqueologicasna BaciaAmazonica,que sostienequelos gruposindigenassobrevivientesconservanuncomportamientohabitacionaly social desarrolladopor lo menos hace 2000 anos, cuandoel uso de la ceramicalo tornavisible. Una clarificacionde los malentendidosque contribuyena esta evaluacion<<revisionista>> es esencial,porqueunaaceptacionde las conclusionesnosolamentecontradicela evidenciaecolo- gica y arqueologica,si no que respaldala deforestaciondesenfrenadade la region. Betty J. Meggers * MRC-112, SmithsonianInstitution,WashingtonDC 20560 LatinAmericanAntiquity,12(3), 2001, pp. 30>325 CopyrightC)2001 by the Society forAmericanArchaeology The vastneotropicalrainforestfascinatedthe earlyEuropeanexplorers,initiallybecauseof its luxuriantvegetationandlaterbecauseof itssupposedmineralwealth.AccordingtoAcuna"si el Nilo riegalo mejordelAfrica,fecundandolacon sus corrientes,el Rfo de las Amazonasriegamas extendidosreinos,fecundamasvegas,sustentamas hombres,y aumentacon sus aguasmascaudalosos oceanos"(1946:31).Carvajal,chroniclerof thefirst descentof theAmazonin 1542, describesvillages extendingfor leagues along the bank,"finehigh- ways"leadinginland,stone-walledhouses,female warriors,gold andsilverutensils,and"manysheep ofthe sortfoundinPeru"(Heaton1934).Duringthe seventeenthcentury,thelureof El Doradoinspired numerouswell-equippedexpeditionsto searchfor "thegreatandgoldencityof Manoa,"locatedonthe shore of a vast saline lake in the interiorof the Guianas(Hemming1978). Althoughno one ever sawit,theLakeParimacontinuedtoappearonmaps untiltheearlyeighteenthcentury,whenthequestwas finallyabandoned(Ales andPouyllau1992).Since then,archaeologicalandethnographicinvestigations, mineralexplorations,power-linesurveys,andother kindsof expeditionshave failed to encounterany traceof El Dorado. Aftera lapseof threecenturies,the mythof El Doradois being revivedby archaeologists.Roo- sevelt'scontentionthat"therichfloodplainsandfish- eries of the Amazon are hundredsof times more extensivethanthoseof theNile"(1991:435)is rem- iniscentofAcuna's1641description.Sheenvisions "territoriestensofthousandsof squarekilometersin size, largerthanthose of manyrecognizedprehis- 304 1l1E CONTINUINGQUESTFORELDORADO:ROUNDTWO BettyJ. Meggers l- -
  • 3. COMMENTS 305 toricstates.Theirorganizationandideologyof dei- fiedchiefs andancestors,noblesandseers,vassals orcommoners,andcaptiveslavesaremoresimilar tothoseof earlystatesandcomplexchiefdomselse- wherein theworldthanto thepresentIndiansoci- etiesofAmazonia"(1991:436).Similarly,Whitehead (1994:43)contendsthat"ancientAmerindianpolit- icalandculturallife wasof a levelof sophistication thatrivaledor even exceeded thatof their(Euro- pean)homelands[and]we aredealingwithciviliza- tions of considerablecomplexity, possibly even protostates."Morespecifically,he arguesthat"we cannotdismiss...theimplicitethnographycontained intheEuropeanmythof El Dorado"(1992:58-59). ThereincarnationofthemythofElDoradoisalso the focus of threearticlesin recentissues of Latin AmericanAntiquity,whichclaimtoprovideevidence fordensesedentarypopulationssupportedbyinten- siveterrafirmeagriculture,contrarytotheinterpre- tations that my Brazilian colleagues and I have developedduringmorethanthreedecadesofarchae- ological investigationthroughoutAmazonia.The articlesatissue are"CeramicSeriationandSettle- mentReoccupationinLowlandSouthAmerica"by DeBoer,Kintigh,andRostoker(1996), "TheRing Villages of CentralBrazil:A Challengefor Ama- zonianArchaeology"by WustandBarreto(1999), and"VillageSizeandPermanenceinAmazonia"by Heckenberger,Peterson,andNeves (1999). Clarificationof theirmisinterpretationsof the environmentallimitationsandunderstandingsofour data,methods,andtheoreticalapproachisnecessary becausetheseareunlikelytoberecognizedbymost readersof thisjournal.It is also essentialbecause, unlikearchaeologicalcontroversiesinotherpartsof theworld,thisonehasseriouspoliticalimplications. Iflocalsubsistenceresourcessustaineddenseseden- tarypopulationsinthepast,thenthebiologists,ecol- ogists,climatologists,agronomists,andotherexperts arewrongin theirassessmentof the environment, survivingindigenousgroupsare under-exploiting theirhabitats,moderneffortstointensifyagricultural productivityare incompetent,and developersare entitledtooperatewithoutconstraint.Iftheydidnot, thenthe growingenvironmentaldevastationis not only ill-advised,butlikely to be irreversible.Con- sequently,reconstructionsof prehistoricpopulation densityandculturalcomplexitymustbebasedonthe mostaccuratescientificevidencewe canobtain. Spaceconstraintsmakeit necessaryto focus on the most controversialassumptionsandinterpreta- tionsin thethreearticlesandtheprincipalarchaeo- logical, ecological, and ethnographic evidence relevanttotheirevaluation.Readersareencouraged toconsultthebibliographicreferencesforadditional information. ArchaeologicalEvidence "Detailedarchaeologicalfieldstudiesandresearch methodologiesdesignedto identifyregional-level settlementpatternsinAmazoniaarestilllargelylack- ing.Evenbasicaspectsof chronology,regionalset- tlementpatterns,andthecharacteristicsofindividual sites andsite components(e.g., size, duration,and internalvariability)arepoorlyunderstood"(Heck- enbergeret al. 1999:354). The ProgramaNacional de PesquisasArque- ologicas na Bacia Amazonica(PRONAPABA),a collaborationbetweenthe SmithsonianInstitution andthe ConselhoNacionalde Pesquisas(CNPq), wasinitiatedin 1976tosupplythiskindof evidence (Simoes1977).Sincethen,surveyandsamplinghave been conductedalongthe lowerTocantins,Xingu, Tapajos,andNegro,the entireMadeiraandJurua, themiddlePurus,thelowerUatumaandUrubu,the leftandrightbanksof thelowerSolimoes,Guapore andJamari,theheadwaterriversintheStateofAcre, andonthenortheasternLlanosdeMoxos(Figure1). Similarinformationisavailablefromearliersurveys along the middle Amazon (Hilbert 1959, 1962, 1968), at the mouthof theAmazon(Meggersand Evans 1957), on the upperEssequibo,Rupununi savanna,andcoastof Guyana(EvansandMeggers 1960), the upperOrinoco-Ventuari(Evans et al. 1960),andtheNapo(EvansandMeggers1968). All sites encounteredwere described,mapped, andsampledwithunselectedsurfacecollectionsand manywerealsodocumentedwithoneormorestrati- graphicexcavations.Uniformcriteriaforthecollec- tion,classification,andquantitativeanalysisof the potteryandthe constructionof seriatedsequences have made it possible to identify phases corre- spondingto endogamouscommunitiesthroughout thelowlandsandtodefinetheirtemporalandspatial parameters.Severalhundredradiocarbondatesper- mitestimatingthedurationofphaseswithinaregion andcorrelatingthembetweenregions. Detailedpublicationof the PRONAPABAdata hasbeendelayedbecauseof continuingrefinements inanalysisandinterpretation,butthetheoreticaland
  • 4. [Vol.12, No. 3, 2001]306 LATINAMERICANANTIQUITY Figure 1. Northexnlowland South America showing the rivers and other features mentioned in the text. methodological aspects of the approachand the implicationsof theevidencehavebeendiscussedin variousarticles(DiasandCarvalho1988;Dougherty andCalandra1981,1984,198>85; Meggers1987, 1991, 1992a, 1992b, 1992c, 1994, 1995a, 1995b, 1995c, 1996a, 1996b, 1999; Meggerset al. 1988; Miller 1992; Perota and Botelho 1994; Simoes 1974). Abbreviatedpotterytype descriptionsand preliminaryseriatedsequencesfromseveralwidely separatedregionshave also been published(Meg- gers 1992c, 1999;Miller 1983;Milleret al. 1992; Perota1992;Simoesetal.1987).Thesepublications containfarmoreecologicalandarchaeologicaldata thanhave been providedby Heckenbergeret al. (1999) orbyWustandBarreto(1999). Extension of the "StandardModel" into Prehistory "Basedon ethnographicexamples. . . Meggershas repeatedlyespouseda generalmodelforAmazonia in which settlementsare portrayedas uniformly small, . . . impermanent,dispersed,andpolitically autonomous.... Modelsof Precolumbianoccupa- tions. . .typicallyarehypothetical,basedlargelyon nonarchaeologicaldata(ethnographic,ethnohistoric, and/orecological)anduntestedtheoreticalassump- tions.... [T]hereis nosoundempiricalbasistosup- port. . . [the]contentionthatthestandardmodelcan be extendedinto prehistory"(Heckenbergeret al. 1999:35>355)- EmpiricalBasis Havingbeen taughtin graduateschool thata seri- ated sequencehas no social counterpartand that irregulartrendsaretheexpectableexpressionofsam- plingerror,I beganto questionthevalidityof these assumptionsonlyaftercomparingthespatialdistri- butionsof thesitesincludedin dozensof seriations produced by different archaeologists along the Braziliancoastalstripandin Amazoniaduringthe pastfourdecades.Classificationof thepotteryfrom sitesalongtheTocantins,forexample,producedfive seriatedsequences,eachconfinedtoadifferentsec- tionof theriver.Theabsenceof overlapintheirdis- tributionssuggested the seriationsidentified the territoriesof endogamouscommunities(Figure2; SimoesandAraujo-Costa1987). A searchof theethnographicliteraturerevealed
  • 5. COMMENTS 307 Figure 2. Contiguous prehistoric territories along the lower Tocantins, each characterized by a unique seriated ceramic sequence.The boundary between the Tauaand Tucuruiphases coincideswith the first rapid, whichmarks the southernpen- etration of Amazonian aquatic fauna. In the TucuruiPhase territory,the river descends from the Brazilian Shield across a rocky substrate, and in the TauariPhase sector it flows over a sandy floodplainthat narrows in the ItupirangaPhase terri- tory and disappears in the Maraba Phase territory.The existence in each sector of significantdifferencesin the kind, abun- dance, and seasonality of aquatic resourcesand their methods of capture accounts for the absence of overlap in territorial boundaries even at the first rapid, where the contrast is greatestand the sites are in closest proximity.This stabilityand the occasional occurrence of pottery with Taua Phase decoration in Tucurui Phase sites suggest that trade was a more viable option than invasion (after Miller et al. 1992,Figs. 72, 99, 100).
  • 6. 308 LATINAMERICANANTIQUITY [Vol. 12, No. 3, 2001] a similarcontiguouspatternamongtheAkawaioof westernGuyana,whereeachterritorywasoccupied by anendogamouscommunitydividedamongtwo or three widely separatedexogamous matrilocal households(Colson 1983-84). An explanationfor thepermanenceof theboundarieson theTocantins was providedwhen subsequentpublicationof the resultsof environmentaland demographicsurvey undertakenpriorto constructionof the Tucurui hydroelectricdamrevealedthattheycoincidedwith significantchangesin the riverinetopographyand associateddifferencesintheabundance,seasonality, andmethodsof captureof fish(Merona1990).Sim- ilar correlationshave been identifiedalong other riverswherethe archaeologicalandenvironmental documentationis sufficientlydetailed. The notion thatI have imposed the "standard model"ontothearchaeologicalrecordreversesthe actualprocedure.Itwasthearchaeologicalevidence forthespatialsegregationofthesitesincludedindif- ferentseriatedsequencesand the discontinuityin theinterdigitatedpositionsof successivelevelsfrom the sameexcavationthatprovokeda searchof the literaturefor evidence of territorialityand village movementamongsurvivingindigenousgroups.Four types of territoryhavebeen reportedethnographi- cally:contiguous,isolated,overlapping,or shifting boundaries(Grenard1980:70;Kaplan1975), and temporaryorephemeralboundaries(e.g.,Rosengren 1981-82:61). Only the firsttwo types have been identifiedarchaeologically,suggestingthatthe lat- tertwoarepost-contactresponsestodisruptionand dislocation (Meggers 1995b, 1996a; cf. Hill and Moran 1983:121). Centripetalvillage movement withinaterritoryandreoccupationof siteswerealso inferredfromtheseriatedsequencespriorto identi- fying ethnographicexamples (e.g., Gallois 1981; Vickers1983). Comparingthe archaeologicalpat- ternswiththeethnographicdatamakesitpossibleto identifyspecificwaysinwhichindigenoussettlement behaviorhasalteredsinceEuropeancontact. TheoreticalSupport Ratherthanan "untestedtheoreticalassumption," thereis abundantethnographicevidence thatthe quantitativedifferencesinpotterytypesusedtocre- ateseriatedsequencesareproducedbyevolutionary drift.Thesusceptibilityofnonmaterialculturaltraits (e.g., myths,rituals,languages)to changevia drift hasbeenobservedrepeatedly(e.g.,Colson1983-84; Gross 1983; Henley 1982), and the operationof unconsciousdrift in vessel shape was confirmed experimentallydecades ago (Hodges 1965). The developmentof minordifferencesinthepresenceor relativefrequencyofdecorativetechniquesasacon- sequence of isolation among potters has been observedamongautonomouscommunitiessharing a ceramictraditionandamongmatrilocalresidence groupsin the samecommunity(Arnold1993:235; Roe 1981:65;Wust1994:329).Long-termmonitor- ing of potteryproductionin endogamousKalinga communities has documentedthe emergence of quantitativedifferencesin severaldetailsof decora- tion(Graves1994)anddetectedchangesin therel- ativefrequenciesof vessel shapeswithinonly five years(Longacre1985). Variationsin unobtrusiveceramicfeatureshave beeninterpretedby NorthAmericanarchaeologists asevidenceof socialdistinctions.Statisticalmanip- ulationvalidatesthecorrelationofminordifferences in "latentstylisticexpressions"in surfacetreatment andtemperwithHohokamresidencegroups(Abbot 2000:141).Theresultsof applyingevolutionarythe- orytostylisticvariationinIllinoisWoodlandceramic assemblagessuggestthattheapproach"wouldlead to real payoffs in historicalknowledge"(Nieman 1995:32). Intrasiteseriationby pottery types at Pueblodelos Muertoswasjudgedtobe asaccurate as usingattributesandconsiderablyless timecon- suming(Duff 1996).Successfulreplicationin sim- ulationexperimentsof thespatialpatternsobtained by seriatingsurfacecollectionsof decoratedsherds fromsitesin thelowerMississippivalleyled to the conclusionthat"populationswhosememberswere free to interactequallyover the entirespace pro- ducednearlyperfectseriations,whereasanyrestric- tionson theradiusof interactionwoulddestroyour abilitytoincludetheentiretestpopulationinoneseri- ation"(Lipoet al. 1997:310).Changesin therela- tivefrequenciesofpotterytypeshavealsoprovedthe mostusefulguideto chronologyduringtheForma- tiveto Classictransitionin southernVeracruz(Pool andBritt2000:151). Inshort,therepeatedindependentobservationof gradualdivergencein composition,decoration,and vessel shapein theproductionof traditionalpotters in variouspartsof the world,bothchronologically withinthe samecommunityandspatiallybetween contemporaryhouseholds,andthedetectionof sim- ilarpatternsinNorthAmericanarchaeologysupport
  • 7. 309 PA-BAs8$1. Q+D PA - BA Bt 1: 20 3Q PA - BA - R, 1- 30 - S1 PAwBA-11$1 0 20 PA - BA- 6¢SURFACE PAwBA 5 Ot10 PA BAt4s1:0-10 C13 PA x BA * 4R1: 10 ^30 U PA - BA - 5E10 - X Q PA BA 1B, §URFACE Q st) PA - BAt 5. 2Q - 30 _ s 3 PA - BA - 7, SURFACE i PA wBA -19, SURFACE PA - BA- 261 SURFACE PA-6Aw11,1.D 30 PA BA z 28wSUPFACE PA - BA - 21, SURFACE PA - 8A 3% SURFtE fzftA>w/t - . s/. >>]A n 2sfJ9//>s/>/j,>zj 2 |j"I} E tIl^ tw,tl:Zli «l"tllllllln.s.<g:l.llll r ] z | o __ " ttla3Xlily3X0Xt}}lll" lXlilplltplDXlll}X}nllll | {lilil,ifilllilllIXl} Slil}[lilXllilllilitlS C C ] I I | _ l H I H I o 3 o D D ffl U l . o n E f 1 t t t | t J I 8 f I B XXxI§"tlitill$&ll$a+-+§llelii:l1}§}0 I } C=:} t 1 I I C=D o J li Z n n | z n W Q PA-BAt8,X-30 PA- BA- 9,SURFACE PA BA- 822*30-40 PA-BAr*11, 7s0 - 10 PA-BA-4, 2^ D - w PA-BA-1 3D-4Q #1 M-BA-11,2.10-2: as 8 PA-8A-11,2:X- Q PA-BA- 22,1+10- w - PA* BA-22, t: 20-30 3 PA BA t1t2:30*X Q PAsBA-11t2*4G-@ ^-XS w aB c.-me.ssv>a e 5t I 1 4 I Ww,i5 Xll,r43x ........... ,* t:4F&7avrlNg.S,,.ruj a :7. ;4 F 0 I I E I 1 13 f X t a n I d.t t- § § 71 E l :7S^>9 g NsSAs'ssSA g t go .9 .. v.,., . ............... ... :S } ,? sti | a l a l l a | Eil g F:3 H | O O | O O i | I I E3J 6:1 i:3 Q ED EP E3 F3 | g Sq 43 L' I C=:l l l [ L n r_ t _3 0 O | Q =:i O l l O O | I O I | O 1 1=] 1 e Pt BA , SURFACE PA - BA - 25wSURFACE PA z BA - 23, SURFAU PA CBA X27, SURFACE PA - BA -17, SURFhCE I D 25 50 °4 { . t.l I . {.- l, ffi Figure 3. Subdivision of the lbcurui Phase seriation into two subphases based on 5 percent relative frequency of lbcurui Painted decoration.The existence of the same pottery types, trends, and durations in both sequences implies their contem- poraneity and the restrictionof all but three of the sites to one of the subphases is compatible with the existence of matnlo- cal residence.The wide separationsof levelsof the same excavationdocumentepisodesof abandonmentand reoccupationof the location by the same matrilocal household. thereliabilityof quantitativeanalysisandseriation ation [withinthe Aldeia da QueimadaNova] . . . forreconstructingprehistoricAmazoniansettlementmightreflectthe operationof a moietydivision,a andsocialbehavior. typeofsocialorganizationcommoninlowlandSouth America,althoughitsmaterialcorrelates,atleastas Ceramlc Evldence for Matrllocal llesldence evincedinceramics,remainlargelyundocumented" "MeggersandMarancasuggestthatsomeofthevari- (DeBoeret al. 1996:272). COMMENTS l l l l l l l l 2 5 < ffi z 5 , , Z ' 8 = B
  • 8. LATINAMERICANANTIQUITY [Vol.12, No. 3, 2001] 310 Divergencein detailsof potteryproductionas a consequence of matrilocal residence has been observedrepeatedly(e.g.,Brumbach1985;Longacre 1964;ReinaandHill1978:21;Roe 1981:65)andpro- vides a potentialexplanationfor the erraticoccur- rencesof minorpotterytypesin seriatedsequences thatexhibitconsistenttrendsintheprincipalundec- oratedtypes.Inthecaseof theTucuruiPhaseonthe Tocantins,separatingthesamplesbasedonthepres- enceof + 5percentpainteddecorationproducestwo sequencesorsubphaseswithsimilartrendsandrel- ativefrequenciesintheundecoratedtypes,implying theircontemporaneity(Figure3). Comparingthe locationsofthesitesonthemapshowsthatallexcept threewere occupiedand reoccupiedby the same subphaseandthatthelocusof occupationin twoof thosesharedwasdifferent.Thisfindingis compati- blewiththeethnographicevidencethatthefirstmoi- ety to occupy a location often retainspermanent rightsto futurereoccupation,but thatpermission maybegrantedtotheothermoietyonrequest(Basso 1973:44 45; CeronSolarte1991:107). Similarquantitativedifferencesin minorpottery typesin theceramicphasesof theJamariTradition insouthwesternAmazoniaandtheTarumaPhaseon the upperEssequiboin Guyanaalso permitcon- structingcontemporarysubseriations,againcom- posed principallyof differentsites (Miller et al. 1992).By contrast,seriatedsequencesforphasesof the PolychromeTraditioncannotbe subdivided, implyingcirculationof the women and patrilocal residence(e.g., Figure7; Linares1969:3). Thevalidityof attributingthespatialdichotomy intwominordecoratedtypestomatrilocalresidence at theAldeiada QuemadaNova,a prehistoricring villageof theTupiguaraniTraditioninPiaui,is sup- portedby observationsof similarassociationsin a historicBorororingvillage in MatoGrosso.Seri- ationof samplesof potteryfrom15houselocations atthePiauisitepermitseparatingtwocontemporary sub-sequences,one with painteddecorationon an unslippedsurfaceandtheotherwithpaintingon a white-slipped surface. Examination of the map showsthemto correspondto differenthalvesof the ring,compatiblewiththeexistenceofmatrilocalres- idence(Figure4; MeggersandMaranca1980). The planof Tadarimana,a recentlyabandoned Borororingvillagein centralBrazil,showssimilar variationinthesizesandorientationsof thehouses, aswellassimilarinequalityinthenumberof houses ineachhalfof thering(Figure5).Thepopulationin thisvillagewasdividedintomatrilocalmoieties,also characterizedby rareceramicfeatures.Inthiscase, a shoulderedwaterjar was manufacturedby one moietyandovoidvessels withappliquedecoration by the other.The possibility thatthis distinction would be recognizablearchaeologicallyhas been rejectedbecauseBororovesselsareloanedtomem- bersof the oppositemoiety (Wust 1994:329),and ourarchaeologicalreconstructionhasbeencriticized as "elevatingwhatmightbe accidentsto largeand unwarrantedinferential effects" (DeBoer et al. 1996:273).Inviewofthedemonstratedethnographic correlationbetweenminorquantitativeandqualita- tivedifferencesinceramicsandmatrilocalresidence, however,it wouldseemmoreproductiveto use this informationtoreconstructprehistoricsettlementand socialbehaviorthanto dismissit apriori. Soil Color as Evidence of ContinuousOccupation "Short,small-scaleoccupations. . . simplydo not createtheareallyextensivealterations[insoilcolor] characteristicof many prehistoricoccupations" (Heckenbergeretal.1999:355,emphasisinoriginal); "theevidence. . . doesnotjustify. . . interpretation thatlargeTPsitesinAmazoniarepresentpalimpsests of numeroussuccessiveandonly partiallyoverlap- ping reoccupations,as opposedto extensivecon- temporaneousoccupationsandlong-termsettlement permanence"(Heckenbergeret al. 1999:355;also DeBoeretal. 1996:276). The conclusion that permanentoccupationis requiredtoproducetheuniformextensionsof black soil (TP) typicalof Amazonianhabitationsites is basedon two questionablecriteria:(1) theabsence of layersorpatchesof unalteredsoil in prehistoric habitationsites,and(2)theabsenceof terra preta in a modernsettlementoccupiedupto 50 years. Thefirstcriterionis falsifiedby theexistenceof continuousterra preta in trenchesacrossextensive sites presenting stratigraphicdiscontinuities in ceramictrendsandcarbon14datesimplyingmulti- ple reoccupation(e.g., Milleret al. 1992, Figures 34-36). Thereareatleastthreeexplanationsforthe absenceof sterilezones:(1) reoccupiedareasover- lap;(2)recyclingof organicmaterialsistooefficient for a sterilelayerto developon the surfaceduring abandonmentin the absenceof extraneousforces, suchaswater-bornedeposition,and(3)bioticactiv-
  • 9. / COMMENTS 311 g } . . ^ 5 vtvw ^) o _ _ 3 /N | 1 1. 1 0 I 0 4 8 12 16 Zt) M t. 1 7H. / * w+st, I X 2 { 8'< k MS 'n , -14 L v w s *}i K6I o+..F 12 ME:ST SIDE I ..e...f . X............ @ 11 13AST SIDE / 8 / %A. / J i ^ A t/ /G - . e . v _ . ., v -Suiv b+M > + L3s_ #e* Ak+9^.r g >-<6ge¢se v O + - , f < _ tt> . ,$ ,, , 4, . , . * ' 1 - ooske />Fe )*s w 5 / Figure4. Plan of the Aldeia da Queimada Nova, a ring village of the TupiguaraniTraditionin northeasternBrazil. Patches of black soil mark the locations of former houses. Seriationof the pottery samples obtained from the surface and trenches in each location produced two contemporarysequences correspondingto different halves of the ring, compatible with the existenceof matrilocalresidence.Arrowsindicatepossiblereplacementof threehousesduringthe occupation(afterMeggers and Maranca 1980,Figure 2). ity involvedin theproductionof terra preta elimi- natesany remnantsof unalteredsoil (Woodsand McCann1997). Thesecondcritenonfailstorecognizetheabsence ofcomparableconditions.ModernandPrecolumbian settlementsdifferinhouseconstruction(raisedver- susdirtfloor),cookingmethods(elevatedstovever- susfloor-levelhearth),typeanddisposalof organic refuse, household composition (nuclear versus extended family), number of occupants, presence/absenceofdomesticanimals,andotherfea- tures.Althoughthe genesis of terra preta remains unclear, these kinds of variables are certainly involved(Vacheret al. 1998:52-55;Woods1995). DecoratedPotteryas Evidence of ContinuousOccupation "[D]iagnosticceramics . . . associatedwith the Guaritaphaseof theAmazonianPolychrometradi- tion. . . arewidelydistributedacrosstheentiresite surface[implyingthat]Agutubawasoccupiedalmost continuously,if not continuously,throughoutthe Christianera, if not before"(Heckenbergeret al. 1999:362). Equatingthe surfaceextentof decoratedsherds with continuousoccupationoverlookstwo uncer- tainties:(1)thesocialequivalentof "Guaritaceram- ics" and (2) the significanceof theirdistribution. , 4 t_ Cs v W"^.| S 7 {fi^. .- BY ..+. ... X .s 7 - j z ' A l
  • 10. C%8 -_ ECERAE 7aO t-: <9-'_ 7t t - J U _ _ _ C _ _ 6 DS - v 50 - _ s O TUGAREGE - <e<1 1 E} 9° 1 3 7 L] N 0 20m o 312 LATINAMERICANANTIQUITY [Vol. 12, No. 3, 2001] Figure5. Plan of Tadarimana,a Bororo ring villagein central Brazil occupied in 1983.The orientationsand distributionsofthehouses and the moiety division are comparableto those reconstructedfrom the archaeologicalevidenceat the Aldeia daQueimadaNova (modifiedfrom Wust 1994,Fig 14.1). "DiagnosticGuaritaceramics,"alsotermed"Guarita fineware,"are describedas "includingred-and/or black-on-whitepainted,wide-lineincised,flanged, andcomplicatedmodeleddesigns"(Heckenberger etal. 1999:362).This combinationof decoration identifiestheGuaritaSubtraditionofthePolychrome Tradition,which has a large spatialand temporal extensionalong the centralAmazon and into the lowerpartof theadjacenttributaries.Liketheother subtraditions,it containsnumerouslocal phasesof varyingagesanddurationsthatsharethediagnostic potterytypesandaredistinguishedbydifferencesin theirtrendsandrelativefrequencies.Theradiocar- bondatesfor the PajuraandApuauphaseson the adjacentpartoftheNegroindicatethattheyarecon- temporarywithA,cutuba,asareseveralotherphases oftheGuaritaSubtraditiononthelowerMadeiraand thelowerSolimoes(Simoes1974;SimoesandKalk- mann1987;SimoesandLopes 1987). Definingthe spatialandtemporalparametersof theoccupation of Ajcutubarequiresestablishing whetherallorpartof thesitewasoccupiedbyanyof thesephasesorby one ormoreundescribedphases orboth.Untilthisis done,itis prematuretoidentify itas "thehomeof a large,sedentarypopulation."It isevenmorespeculativeto assertthatother"exten- sive(30ha.ormoreof TP),. . . lateprehistoricsites .. . withina 30 km radiusof A,cutuba"were con- temporaneousbecause they contain "diagnostic Guaritaceramics"(Heckenbergeretal.1999:364).To doso is equivalentto consideringallthesitesin the easternUnitedStatesthatcontaindiagnosticWood- landpotteryorall thosein theCaribbeanareawith diagnosticSaladoidfeaturesto be contemporary. Reconstructionof thevillageareais complicated bythestratigraphicevidenceprovided,whichdoes notsupporttheexistenceof Guaritaceramicsacross theentiresite.TheprofilesoftheexcavationsatA,cu- tubaI,Unit2 andA,cutubaII,Unit 1showsherdsto beginbelowca.20 cm of sterilesoil (Heckenberger
  • 11. COMMENTS 313 et al. 1999:Figure5). All thepotteryin bothexca- vationsisidentifiedas"modeled-incised"ratherthan Guaritaandtheradiocarbondatesextendfrom2310 + 140to 1030+ 100BP.Thepotteryassignedtothe GuaritaSubtraditionwasobtainedinadifferentexca- vationatanunspecifiedlocationinAjcutubaII,where thedatesextendfrom980+60to510+70BP(Heck- enbergeretal. l999:Table1).Thesignificanceof "a clearverticalincreasein artifactfrequency"in the threeexcavationsmustbeevaluatedintermsofthese ceramicassociationsandthe dates,which suggest theoccupationsinthethreelocationswerenotcon- temporary(Heckenbergeret al. l999:Table3). Ceramic Evidence of Reoccupation Although"seriated-basedargumentsfor sitereoc- cupation...generallysurvivetestsofstatisticalplau- sibility, they neitherwithstandscrutinyfrom the standpointof empiricallyobservedpatternsnorare buttressedby a bodyof theorythatpointsunequiv- ocally to the recognitionof separateoccupations" (DeBoeret al. 1996:276). EmpiricalPatterns The"empiricallyobservedpatterns"consistofaseri- atedsequencebasedon the relativefrequenciesof ceramicfeaturesincontemporaryhousesin a mod- ernShipibovillage,whicharesufficientlydifferent to imply that their occupation was sequential (DeBoeret al. 1996:Figure6). Examinationof the evidenceindicates,however,thatthis discrepancy can be attributedto incomparableconditions.The Shipibocommunityis distributedamonga dozen dispersednuclearfamilydwellings,whereastradi- tionalAmazoniancommunitiestypicallyoccupya communalhouse.TheShipibopotterysamplescon- sistof allvesselsinuseduringasingleyear(orless), whereasa 10cmlevelrepresentsatleastadecadeof discard.TheShipibovesselswere"broken"intouni- form"sherds"20 cm squarefortabulation,so that eachsampleconsistsof 100percentof thosecorre- spondingto each vessel, whereasarchaeological fragmentsdifferin size andeffortsatrefittingindi- catethata 10cmlevelseldomincludesmorethana coupleof sherdsfromthe samevessel. Othervari- ablesincludedifferencesin manufacture,use, and disposal.Giventhesedisparities,it is notsurprising that the Shipibo "seriation" misrepresents the chronologicalrelationshipsof thehouses. A moreappropriateethnographictestof thereli- abilityof seriatedsequencesforidentifyingsequen- tial occupations has been provided by Dillehay (1999), whoconductedstratigraphicexcavationsin a site extendingovera distanceof 250 m thatwas continuouslyoccupiedby the sameMapuchefam- ily duringabout100 years.As a consequence,the locationsanddurationsof thehouses,theactivities undertaken, the number of residents, and the sequenceofmovementareknown.Excavationswere madeinfiveoftheconcentrationstoevaluatethecor- respondencebetween the distributionsof surface sherdsandsubsurfacepostholesandfloors,toiden- tify activities,andtoprovideunselectedsamplesof pottery.Classificationintoseventypes,quantitative analysis,andseriationproducedconsistenttrendsin allthetypesandasequencethatcorrespondedtothe knownorderof occupation(Figure6). Inthiscase,thepotteryrevealedsuchslightvari- ationinform,size, andcompositionthat were it not for the informantsand the seriated ceramic sequence, the house floors would eas- ily have been interpretedas a groupof contem- porarydwellings.... Withoutthe informants, we might have also interpretedthe differences in frequency of the types of artifacts in the structures as evidence of different economic tasks performedby different families.... In short,the Mapucheevidence suggests thatspa- tial redundanceor increasedreoccupationmay be a key factorin the creationof extensive, and often superimposed,concentrationsof cultural remains.The sites consisting of palimpsests of episodes of reoccupationby a single family (or a few families) may be just as extensive and complex as large village sites, and they may or may not have clearly separatedactivity areas representingeach episode of use.... One can imagine hypothetically the discovery of 100 largearcheologicalsites, each one of which was occupiedby a singlefamilyora few families.... Based on this, we could estimatea dense popu- lation between 500 and 600 families, and between 2000 and 2500 individuals living in these sites, when in reality only 5 or 6 families and 200-250 individuals may have existed [Dillehay 1999:264, translation]. ThePajuraPhase Seriation As notedearlier,theprincipalreasonforfailureto publishmoreof thePRONAPABAdatais continu- ingrevisionof earlierseriationsasunderstandingof theimplicationsof thediscontinuitiesin trendshas increased.In the initial seriationconstructedby Simoespriorto theinceptionof thePRONAPABA,
  • 12. 314 LATINAMERICANANTIQUITY [Vol. 12, No. 3, 2001] Ceramic Types overallincreaseinfrequencyandVilaPlaintendsto decline, whereasthe trendsin the othertypes are _ _ _ _ _ restrictedwithineachepisode.Forexample,Pajura _ _ _ _ PainteddecreaseswithinEpisode 1 andincreases _ _ _ _ withinEpisodes2, 3, and4, whereasPajuraBroad Incisedundergoesa successionof declines. _ _ _ Inthecontextof evolutionarytheorythis"punc-B C D E F G s tuatedequilibrium"impliestemporarydisruptionof d sequence obtained from quantitative thecommunity.A cluetothecauseis providedbya sttery excavated at five successive house similarrevisionoftheexceptionallyerraticseriations lleco,a site continuously occupied by the Lmilyduring 100 years. The trends in all for the Barrancoldand Saladoldphases1neastern bs(A-G) are consistent and the chronolog- Venezuelatoproduceasuccessionofrelativelycon- historicallycorrect (after Dillehay 1999, sistentepisodes.Existingradiocarbondatescorre- late the most dramatic discontinuities with mega-Nino events ca. 1500, 1000, and 700 B.P., .puauphaseswerecombined(Simoes whenseveredroughtwouldhavedepletedlocalsub- 1987, Figure3). Theirseparation, sistenceresourcesandforcedthe membersof the edbyDeBoeretal.(1996),produced communitiestodisperseuntilconditionsreturnedto 'esequencetheycriticize.This ver- normal(Meggers1996b). evised. ThecurrentrevisionofthePajuraPhasesequence ndsinallthepotterytypesareexam- producesa slightlydifferentspatialdistributionof nonlythoseundecoratedtypescon- the fourepisodesof occupationatAM-MA-9,but oeret al. (1996),thelevelsfromthe theimplicationsarethesame.Episodes1and4 are s atAM-MA-9canbegroupedinto restrictedtoCut2, Episode2 to Cut3, andEpisode Figure7). PajuraPlainexhibitsan 3 to Cut1.Thisconfinesthemaximumlimitsof the Hous e B 1 2 _ 3 4 5 A Figure 6. Seriatel analysis of the pa locations at Rukal same Mapuche fa] seven pottery type ical sequence is i Figure 5). thePajuraandA and Kalkmann whichisapprov the PajuraPhas sionalsobeenrl Whenthetre: ined,ratherthar sideredbyDeBI threeexcavatior four episodes (: AM-MA-9.CUT2:0-10CM AM-MA-9.CUT2: 10-20 - - l | 4 AM- MA-9. CUT1: 0 - 10 3 AM- MA- 9. CUT1: 10 - 20 AM-MA-9. CUT1: 20-40 [ t4'5 2 5'? ' 2 ] [ > w v * rb z => < ] r EYi' mt .aR w S! ! X n § >'''5x 'stSx55x wovEtEExE tSsSSsES^xEEsxx xESSEr F5 5555xutvxt _ i r X r : ::r %woF-as r CX i=ai u | l l l l l AM-MA-9.CUT3:20-30 2 AM-MA-9.CUT3:30-40 AM-MA-9,CUT3:40-60 | SSD 9 C5f | | o 5 1 AM- AM- MA-9.CUT2: 20-30 MA-9. CUT2: 30 - 40 MA-27:SURFACE AM - : 0 25 50 % I t 0. I * 1t1 * | Figure7. Reseriationof thePajuraPhaseexcavationsat AM-MA-9basedon the recognitionthatinconsistenttrendsin minorpotterytypeshavehistoricalsignificance.PajuraPlainmaintainsa relativelyconsistentincreasethroughoutthe sequenceandVilaPlainexhibitsan overalldecline,whereasmostof the decoratedtypesrepeata trendof increaseor decreasewithineachepisode.This"punctuatedequilibrium"characterizesmanyotherseriationsandappearsto reflect temporarydislocationofthecommunityasa consequenceofdrought-inducedsubsistencestress,ratherthannormalvillage movement. | I I I t t t t S o X} =}3Z2Zo < SE <W < < <F Z Z Z 2 Z i3 g ts
  • 13. COMMENTS 315 Figure 8. Plan of AM-MA-9 showing the locations of the stratigraphic excavations and maximum extent of the associated episodes of occupation. The first and fourth episodes were restricted to Cut 2, the second to Cut 3, and the third to Cut 1. The absence of interdigitationof the levels in Cut 2 with those in Cuts 1 and 3 implies that the settlementsduring Episodes 1and 4 did not overlapthem. Sincethe maximumdiameterof houses reportedethnographicallyis ca 50 m, the actualdimen- sions were probably no greater than this. It seems likely that additional excavationswould identify other episodes and pos- sibly contemporaryhouses during a single episode (after Meggers 1992b). firstandfourthsettlementswithintheareabetween Cuts 1 and3, the secondsettlementwest of Cut2, andthethirdsettlementeastof Cut2. Eachoccupa- tion thuscould not have extendedover morethan abouthalfof thesite orca. 250 m. Sincethemaxi- mum diameterof indigenous communal houses todayis about50 m, the actualareawas probably less (Figure8). StratigraphicDiscontinuities Sinceculturaldriftshouldproceedgradually,other thingsbeing equal,the abruptchangesin the rela- tivefrequenciesof bothundecoratedanddecorated potterytypes in consecutive10 cm levels areevi- dence of discontinuousoccupationof the location sampled.Forexample,althoughthe trendsin two excavationsatRO-PV-30ontheRioJamariinsouth- westernAmazoniaare similar,both exhibit gaps betweenLevels1W20and20-30cm(Figure9,top). Theinterpretationthattheseimplyabandonmentand reoccupationofthelocationsrepresented,ratherthan social or functionaldifferences,is favoredby the seriatedsequence,in whichthelowertwo levels of Cut3 interdigitateintothehiatusin Cut2 andthe uppertwo follow theupperlevels of Cut2 (Figure 9, bottom). Whenmultipleradiocarbondatesare available fromseverallocationsatthesamesite,theyalsofre- quentlyimplytemporalandspatialdiscontinuityof occupation.Althoughthose at RO-PV-25,another largehabitationsiteontheRioJamari,areinchrono- logicalorderwithineachexcavation,differencesof 120and860 yearsbetweenconsecutive10cm lev- els in Cut3 arecompatiblewiththeseriationalevi- denceforepisodesof abandonment(Figure10).The horizontaldiscrepanciesare also large.The dates fromthesamedepth(1W20cm)inCuts1,2, and3 differ by 430 years; those from the same depth (230 cm)inCuts3 and4 differby 320years,and thosefromthesamedepth(5(}60 cm)inCuts1and 2 differby 2,120years.Thisexample(oneof many) suggeststhatthe differencesof 360 yearsand720 yearsin theradiocarbondatesfromconsecutive10 cm levels in Unit 1atAcvutubaidentifyatleasttwo majorepisodes of abandonmentof this location (Heckenbergeret al. l999:Table1),as do similarly largegaps betweenthe radiocarbondatesat three sites on the upper Xingu (Heckenberger et al. l999:Table4). Residentialcontinuitymustconse- quentlybe demonstratedratherthanassumed. Earthworks as Evidence of Permanent Occupation "Thesubstantialstructuralelaborationat each of these[Amazonian]sites,includingtheconstruction of centralplazas,earthworks,andspecializedmid- dendeposits,documentsthetypeof landscapealter- ation and functional variability that would be expectedforlarge,sedentaryoccupations,buthighly unlikely for small, impermanentcommunities"
  • 14. UNDECORA1SD 1wYPES l DSOETED NPBS 316 LATINAMERICANANTIQUITY [Vol.12, No. 3, 2001] SITE, CUT LIBV13L soi2 o-10119 10 201s98 20 so 1s291 30-40z 73 40 5013@ 30,3:o 10z393} 10-203n 20 - 30 Q74} 30 - 40 {1381 I l l | fi l fi l | W - - o t I n i . 4 k l * l x l o | o l o | 30, 3 0 -10 393} 10-206B 30, 2:0 ^10 (158 10 - 20 (198} 30, 3:20 *SiO(274} 30 *40 (138) 30, 2. 20 *30 (129} 30-40( 7D 40 * 50 ( 36} E # X , l ] l l t l l l l l l s - - - | . I . . I a I " l | . . l l l l l O *Q 20 30 40 50% 1 | 1 | 1 1 1 l t $ 1 z Figure 9. Relative frequenciesof the pottery types in successive 10 cm levels of two stratigraphicexcavationsat RO-PV-30, an extensive habitation site of the Jamari Phase on the Rio Jamari, a right-bank tributary of the upper Madeira in south- westernAmazonia.Top,each excavationshows significantchanges in the relativefrequencies of both undecoratedand dec- orated types at a depth of 20 cm, implying abandonmentand reoccupationof the locations sampled. Bottom, interdigitation producessmooth trends of increasingand decreasingfrequency in the principal undecoratedtypes and revealschronologi- cal changes in most of the decoratedtypes. Most of the levelsin this seriation are separatedby multiple occupationsat other sites in the seriated sequence for the Jamari Phase, implying additional discontinuities(courtesyof E. Th. Miller). (Heckenbergeretal.1999:355-356);"itisclearfrom thescaleof earthmovingateachsitethatvillagesdid not intendto abandontheirvillages once theyhad builtthesefeatures"(Heckenbergeretal.1999:369). The "substantialstructuralelaboration"atAcvu- tubaconsistsofthreeovoidrefusemounds,onemea- suring60 x 35 m in areaandone meterhigh,anda "presumedplaza"atleast450 x 100minextentthat terminatesin a ditch110m long, 5-6 m wide, and 1-2 m deep(Heckenbergeretal.1999:363 andFig- ure4).OntheupperXingu,itconsistsoftwoorthree concentricditchesabout1.5mdeepsurroundingthe settlementand4-5 roadsradiatingfrom a central plaza(Heckenbergeret al. 1999:Figures8, 10). Toinferthatthesesiteswere"likelythehomeof alarge,sedentarypopulationinthecenturiesimme- diatelyprecedingEuropeancontact"(Heckenberger etal.1999:364)and"undoubtedlytheresultoflong- termcontinuousoccupation"(Heckenbergeret al. 1999:368)requiresignoringthefarmorespectacu- laraccomplishmentsof smallegalitariangroups. InsouthernChile,forexample,numerousartifi- cialburialmoundsupto 35 m indiameterand12m highhavebeenconstructedby individualMapuche families(Dillehay1990).InSWVictoria,Australia, clustersof upto 28 artificialmoundswerebuiltand "habituallyresurfaced"by the Aboriginesduring some2,500 years.Theyalsodugartificialchannels morethan3 kmlong,2.5 m wide,andovera meter deeptoconnectextensivepatchesofswampyground andincreasetheabundanceandaccessibilityofeels. One water-control system is estimated to have required13,000hoursof labor.Repeatedcongrega- tionof afewhundredpeopleduringtheannualtwo- monthfishingseasonhasproducedhabitationrefuse extending35 km along a riverbank,morethan 10 times the extent of the occupation at Acvutuba (Lourandos1997:65-68,218-221, Figure6.13).
  • 15. 317 COMMENTS Figure 10. Plan of RO-PV-25showing the locations of four stratigraphicexcavationsand the associated radiocarbon dates. Five episodes of occupation are suggested by the seriated sequence and indicated by circles ca 50 m in diameter.The first and fifth were in the location of Cut 3, the second in Cuts 1 and 4 (contemporaryhouses), the third also in Cut 4, and the fourth in Cut 2. Discontinuous occupation is also implied by the horizontal and vertical discrepancies in the dates. Those from Level 10-20 cm in three excavationsdiffer by 430 years, those from Level 2s30 cm in two excavationsdiffer by 320 years, and those from Level 5040 cm in two excavationsdiffer by 2,120 years. Although the dates within each excavation also differ significantly,the discrepancyis particularlynoteworthyin Cut 3, whereconsecutive10cm levelsdiffer by 120and 860 years. The three earliest dates identify preceramicoccupations of the site (after Miller et al. 1992, Figure 71). A similarprehistoricwater-controlsystemonthe northeasternlowlandsof Boliviaconsistsof a net- workof ridges1-2 m wide,2s50 cm high,andup to 3.5 kmlong,totalingca. 1515linearkm.Associ- atedsmallartificialpondsare0.5-2.0 m deep and 10-30 m in diameter.Earth-movingexperiments indicatethatconstructioncouldhavebeen accom- plishedby 1,000peopleworkingonly 30 daysper yearduring10years(Erickson2000).The"scaleof earthmoving"atAc,utubaandontheupperXinguis insignificantby comparison. Anotherarchaeologicalperspectiveisprovidedby 29 habitationsitesalongtheGuaporeontheBrazil- ianborderwithBolivia(Miller1983).Themajority havea singleperipheralditch,buttwo exhibitrem- nantsof twoorthreeditches(Figure11).Blacksoil
  • 16. 318 LATINAMERICANANTIQUITY [Vol. 12, No. 3, 2001] Forest Flasd Pisin 0 100 200 a I | I ,1 | Forest FloodPlain 0 100 200 m RO- C0 - 05: PIMENTEIMS Figure11. Habitation sites of the Corumbiara and Pimenteiras phases on the upper GuaporeSwhich marks the frontierbetweenBrazil and Bolivia.As on the upper Xingu, the two semicircular ditches at RO-PN-4 and the remnants of three atRO-CO-Sdo not correlate with the boundaries of the habitation refuse. Both the seriated sequences and the radiocarbondatesimply multiple episodes of occupation. RO-CO-05 has been reoccupiedby a modern settlementand an airfield(afterMiller1983, Figs. 20 and 27).
  • 17. COMMENTS 319 extends25s900 malongthebank,8>230 minland, andis 2s90 cm deep,anddoes notcoincidewith thelocationsof theditches.A 1x 1,2 x 2, or3 x 3 mstratigraphicexcavationin 10cmlevelswasmade in six sitesandsystematicsurfacecollectionswere madein 10. Thepotterywasclassifiedinto4 undecoratedand 14decoratedtypes.Quantitativedifferencesrequired constructionof two seriatedsequences,whichallo- catedthesitesto tworegionsseparatedby anunin- habited zone, compatible with the existence of endogamousterritories.Allofthestratigraphicexca- vationsexhibitdiscontinuities,andthedisjunctseri- atedpositionsof thelevelsimplyatleasttwotofour episodesof abandonmentandreoccupationateach ofthelocationsrepresented.As ontheupperXingu, these sites are relativelyrecent;four radiocarbon datesextendfromca.580 to290 B.P.,whenthefirst significantEuropeanoccupationoftheregionbegan. PopulationEstimates OntheupperXingu"itseemshighlylikelythatthevil- lagepopulationsrangedintothelowthousands,atleast 1,000to 1,500. . . [and]theremayhavebeenfivecon- temporaryplazavillages. . . andperhapsevenmore" (Heckenbergeretal.1999:370);inthevicinityofAcu- tuba,"extensive(30haormoreofTP),generallycon- temporaneoussites. . . [provide]furtherevidenceof a highregionalpopulationdensity"(Heckenbergeretal. 1999:364).IncentralBrazil,"precontactringvillages werefarmorenumerous,populous,anddiversethan theonesdescribedintheethnographicliterature"(Wust andBarreto1999:4,14). Upper Xingu ThepopulationestimatefortheupperXingusettle- mentsis basedon totalsite area,whichis upto 10 timesgreaterthanthatof present-dayKuikuruvil- lages. However,most of the archaeologicalaccu- mulationof 40-50 cm of terra preta appearsto correspondto a pre-ditchphaseextendingfromca. A.D. 80s1200, ratherthanthepost-ditchphaseca. A.D.140(}1500 (Heckenbergeretal.1999:367and Figure9), andtheabsenceof ceramicseriationpre- vents identifyingthe locationsand dimensionsof the settlementat any time duringthese 400 years. Domestic pottery, described only as exhibiting "markedconservatism,"is said to be "distributed acrossthesurfaceof thesites. . . exceptinroadand plazaareas,"althoughthemapsshowthehighestden- sitiespresentin the latterlocationsas well (Heck- enbergeret al. 1999:Figures8, 10).Noris anyevi- denceprovidedto indicatethat"thepartitioningof eachsite,conditionedby theplacementof artificial earthworks,createddiscreteintravillageprecincts. . . [that]maywellcorrespondto socialdivisions,"or that"householdsweremorethanlikely positioned withrespectnotonlyto affiliation. . .butalsointer- nalrank"(Heckenbergeret al. 1999:370). ThecontemporaneityoftheupperXinguvillages is inferredfrom their"densityand regularplace- ment,"althoughtheradiocarbondatesfromfivesites extendfrom 1000+ 70 to 180+ 60 B.P.,andmost of theminterdigitatesufficientlyto suggestsequen- tial ratherthansimultaneousoccupation(Hecken- bergeret al. 1999:370,366). CentralBrazil ThepopulationestimatesforcentralBrazilarebased on the numberof sites,the diameterof the village ring, the size and numberof the houses, and the assumptionthat"mosthousesbelongingtothesame ring are likely to have been occupied simultane- ously" (Wust and Barreto 1999:14). As Wust (1990:412-414)hasobserved,however,thefactthat mostof theprehistoricsitesareless than5 kmapart andmanyoverlapmakesitdifficulttoconsiderthem as contemporary,especially since smallerBororo villagesoccupiedduringthefirsthalfof thetwenti- ethcenturywere14-35 kmapart.Thedifferencesin theradiocarbondatesfromSurveyArea2 alsoargue againstcontemporaneity.Threesitesalongthelower Tadorimanaproduceddatesof 1090+ 60,700 + 70, and230 + 70 B.P.andthreeca. 40 kmto thenorth- eastproduceddatesof 1750+ 65,950 + 60, and590 + 60 B.P.Anothersite somewhatto the west was dated780 + 70 B.P.(WustandBarreto1999:Figure 3 andTable1). Theassumptionofsimultaneousoccupationofall thehousesinthesameringis alsoincompatiblewith theethnographicevidencethat(1) one-thirdof the occupantsof a Bororovillage changedresidence duringayearandahalfandmostofthepeopleinter- viewedhadlivedinsomeninedifferentvillagesand (2) when a housedeterioratesor an occupantdies, anotherisbuiltbehindit,nearby,orinadifferentring (Wust1990:321,324-325).Similarreplacementdur- ingthePrecolumbianperiodissuggestedbytheseri- ated positions of severalhouses in the Aldeia da QueimadaNovain Piaui(Figure4).
  • 18. 320 LATINAMERICANANTIQUITY [Vol. 12, No. 3, 2001] Giventheseandotherkindsofpotentialvanables, confirmationofcontemporaneityisnecessarybefore thenumberof dwellingscanbeusedtoinfervillage population.Thiscaveathasbeenraisedfordecades (e.g.,Ammermanetal.1976:40;Haviland1985:186; Martinet al. 1949:191),andgreaterawarenessof potentialduplicationhasprovokedrecentreduction of estimates for the Maya area (Becquelin and Michelet 1995), the Cahokia chiefdom (Milner 1998:123),andthesouthwesternpueblos(Creamer andHaas1998:50),amongothers. Carrying Capacity "Itis nowclearthatarchaeologicalvillagesin Cen- tralBrazilcanbesurprisinglylargeinsize,afactthat challengesthe belief thatlow agriculturalproduc- tivityandproteinavailabilityin the tropicalSouth Americanlowlandshaveplacedrelativelylow ceil- ingson themaximumsize of tribalvillages"(Wust andBarreto1999:13-14,19);"the'carryingcapac- ity'of diverseAmazoniansettingsis substantially higherthancommonlyaccepted....Thelarge,seden- taryvillages. . .wereapparentlysupportedbyinten- siveterrafirmeagriculture"(Heckenbergeret al. 1999:371-372). IntensiveTerraFirmeAgriculture Neithercitationsnortangibleevidenceareprovided for"heavydependenceon agriculture"in anyof the threeregions,norisitsfeasibilitydocumentedbyeco- logicalorethnographicobservations.Onthecontrary, WustdescribesthepredominatesoilsincentralBrazil aslowinphosphorous,nitrogen,andpotassium,high inaluminum,andeventhebestasoftenunsuitablefor traditionalcultivationbecauseof reliefor physical condition(Wust 1990:33-34).Those on the upper Xinguareratedhighin phosphorous,calcium,and magnesium,verylowinpotassium,andhaveapHof 5.2-6.8(Setzer1967),andtheamountof cultivable landavailablehasbeendisputed(Gregor1977:13-14). Thenutrientdeficiencyandhigherodabilityof most terrafirmesoils in thevicinityof Acutubaarecon- sideredseriousobstaclesto agriculturaluse (Blum andMagalhaes1987:86;Schubart1977:565). The assumption that dense sedentary pre- columbianpopulationscould have achievedlong- termintensive exploitation of local soils is also contraryto the judgmentthat,even with modern technology,"inAmazonia,therearenoland-usesys- temsin existence today for agriculturalpurposes whichfulfillalltheprerequisitesforsustainability" (Serrao1995:262;cf.Jordan1987:105;Walkeretal. 1995:9)andincompatiblewiththeconclusionbased ona23,600hastudyareawithtypicalorbetterthan averagesoilsffiat"atmostO.24personsha-l andpos- siblysubstantiallyless,couldbe supported"(Fearn- side 1990).It is thusnot surprisingthatphytoliths identifiedin cores takennorthof Manausindicate thatthe forestwas "neversignificantlyalteredby humans"(PipernoandBecker1996:207). SustainableHunting Althoughsome anthropologistsdenythe existence of limitationson protein,biologistshaveestimated maximumhumancarryingcapacityat ca. 0.2/lim2 anddocumentedtheefficacyof traditionalmethods of sustainableexploitation(Bodmer1995;Hill and Padwe 2000:100; Robinson and Bennett 2000). Thereis abundantethnographicevidencethatthe permanenceeven of relatively small settlements dependson theirperiodicabandonment.In central Brazil,forexample,the285 inhabitantsof aMekra- notivillage spent22 percentof theirtimeawayon trekslastingafewweekstoseveralmonths(Werner 1983),andsimilarbehaviorhasbeenreportedforthe Kalapalo(Basso 1973),Kaiapo(Verswijver1992), andBororo (Wust 1998:666). In Amazonia, a Yanomamicommunityof lessthan100spent4>60 percentof theyeartrekking(Good1995).Although fishmanagementis poorlydocumented,Tukanoan groupsin southeasternColombiaemploysophisti- catedstrategiesto maintainsustainablepopulations offish(Chernela1989). Subsistencedepletionandenvironmentaldegra- dationareuniversalconsequencesof sedentismon theterrafirme,evenwhensettlementsaresmalland localresources are compensated by periodic absences,domesticanimals,andimportedfood(e.g., Carneiro1970; Clarkand Uhl 1984; Eden 1974; Fajardoand Torres1987; Frechione 1990; Gross 1983:438;Henley1982:51-53;Murrietaetal.1992; Yost1981:687).Ithasalsobeensuggestedthatthe absenceofcasesof ChagasdiseaseinlowlandAma- zonia,inspiteof theuniversalpresenceof theinfec- tiousagentandinvertebratehost,isduetosettlement mobility,whichpreventedthe carriersfromadapt- ingto humandwellings(Coimbra1988). Risk-ReductionStrategies Thenumberandvarietyof risk-reductionstrategies
  • 19. COMMENTS 321 dozensof seriatedsequenceshas permittedrecog- nizingconsistentpatternswithsocial,cultural,and climatologicalsignificance.Noneofthesediscover- ies is the resultof projectingethnographicmodels ontothearchaeologicalrecord.Instead,thearchae- ologicalevidencehasrevealedsocialandsettlement behaviorthathasseldombeenreportedethnograph- ically,suchaspermanentaffiliationof thesamesite withthesamemoietyandavoidanceby latercom- munitiesof locationsoccupiedby previousgroups. Seriatedsequencesprovidemoreprecisechronolo- gies thanradiocarbondatesforidentifyingcontem- porarysitesandthenumberofcontemporaryhouses duringsuccessiveoccupationsof thesamesite,per- mittingmorereliableestimatesof village size and permanenceandpopulationdensity. Drought sufficiently intense to disruptwell- adaptedcommunitieshasrarelybeenobserved,giv- ing ethnographersthe impressionthat surviving indigenousgroupsunder-exploittheirsubsistence resources,whereaspollenprofilesandcharcoalin thesoildocumenttheinfrequentoccurrenceofsevere droughts.The coincidence between the dates for theseepisodes,theglottochronologicalestimatesfor differentiationin the majorlanguagefamilies,and the timingof discontinuitiesin the archaeological sequencesprovidesanexplanationforthedispersals reflectedin the exceptionalheterogeneityof lin- guisticandgeneticdistributionsacrossthelowlands (Meggers1994).Italsoexplainsthemultiplekinds of riskavoidancebehaviorreportedamongindige- nousAmazonians.Ratherthantheprojectionof an ethnographicmodelontothearchaeologicalrecord, ourapproachpermitsprojectingPrecolumbianset- tlement,social, and subsistencebehavioronto the ethnographicrecord.Insteadof prejudgingsurviv- ing groupsas decimatedanddeculturedremnants, we can identifytheextentto whichtheyhavepre- servedtheirPrecolumbianheritage. Potteryis the only widespreadand abundant sourceof archaeologicalevidencethroughoutmost of tropical lowland South America. As such, it behoovesus to try to extractthe maximuminfor- mationpossiblefromitscharacteristicsandtheirspa- tial and temporal distributions. Observation of gradualchangesin potteryandotherculturaltraits amongcontemporarygroupsasaconsequenceofres- identialisolationandevolutionarydriftprovidesthe- oreticaljustificationfor equatingseriatedceramic sequenceswith endogamouscommunities.Apply- ingthistheoreticalperspectivetothearchaeological practicedbyindigenousAmazoniansarefurthertes- timonyto subsistenceuncertainty(BrackEgg 1997; CeronSolarte 1988). Althoughethnologistsoften assertunderutilizationof resources,thisview is not sharedby theirinformants,who frequentlyexpress anxiety over potential scarcity (e.g., Descola 1994:214;Wagley1977:24).ThediscoverythatAma- zoniais subjectto infrequent,unpredictablelong- termdroughtsthatseverelydiminishtheproductivity ofbothwildandcultivatedplantsprovidesanexpla- nationfortheirapprehension(Meggers1994). "Vacant"CeremonialCenters Insteadof rejectingall of the environmental,eco- logical,ethnographic,andexperimentalevidencefor limitationson settlementsize andpermanence,we needto findexplanationsfortheextensivearchaeo- logicalsitesthataccommodateit.Inadditiontomul- tiplereoccupationby relativelysmallcommunities, a secondpossibilityis suggestedbythelonghistory of "vacantceremonialcenters"elsewherein South America,extendingbackintotheFormativePeriod intheAndes.Apossibleprehistoricexampleineast- ernEcuadorisprovidedbythemulti-moundSangay site,wheretheexistenceof atleasttwolociwithdis- tinct ceramic sequences suggests that dispersed autonomouscommunitiesmayhavecollaboratedin itsconstructionanduse (Porras1987). Anethnographicexampleisprovidedbythecon- temporaryCayapaofnorthcoastalEcuador,whoare dividedamongfourmainterritories,eachcontain- ingapermanent"vacant"ceremonialcenter.During mostof theyear,thepopulationis dispersedamong nuclearfamily dwellings. One family moved 16 timesduringfourgenerations(100years),returning 12timesto apreviouslocation.Basedon thiscase, the authorwarnsthat"thelongevity of generally vacantceremonialcenters. . .cancreatethearcheo- logicalappearanceof large,sedentarysettlements" andproducea "wildlyinflated"estimateof popula- tion density (DeBoer 1989, 1997). This function couldbe assessedatA,cutubabyquantitativeanaly- sis and seriationof potteryfrom a dozen or more stratigraphicexcavationsacrossthesite,andattempt- ing to interdigitatetheresultswithone anotherand withseriationsfromthesurroundingregion. Conclusion Applyingquantitativeanalysistosamplesofpottery fromsurfacecollectionsandexcavationsathundreds of sites throughoutAmazonia and constructing
  • 20. Rol. 12, No. 3, 2001]322 LATINAMERICANANTIQUITY Hohokam.Universityof ArizonaPress,Tucson. Acuna,Cristobalde 1946 Nuevodescubrimientodel GranRiode lasAmazonas. EmeceEditores,BuenosAires. Ales, Catherine,andMichelPouyllau 1992 La conquetede l'inutile:les geographiesimaginaires de l'El Dorado.L'Homme32(122-124):271-308. Ammerman,AlbertJ., Luigi L. Cavalli-Sforza,and Diane K. Wagener 1976 Towardthe Estimationof PopulationGrowthin Old WorldPrehistory.InDemographicAnthropology,Quanti- tativeApproaches,editedbyEzraB.W.Zubrow,pp.27-61. Universityof New MexicoPress,Albuquerque. Arnold,DeanE. 1993 Ecologyand CeramicProductionin anAndeanCom- munity.CambridgeUniversityPress,NewYork. Basso,EllenB. 1973 TheKalapaloIndiansof CentralBrazil.Holt,Rinehart andWinston,NewYork. Becquelin,Pierre,andDominiqueMichelet 1995 Demografiain la zona puuc:el recursodel metodo. LatinAmericanAntiquity5:289-311. Blum,WinfredE. H.,andLuisM. S. Magalhaes 1987 Restric,oesedaficas de solos na bacia sedimentar amazonicaa utilizac,aoagraria.In Homeme naturezana Amazonia,editedby GerdKohlheppandAchimSchrader, pp. 83-92. Tubinger Geographische Studien 95. Geo- graphischesInstitutderUniversitatTubingen. Bodmer,Richard 1995 Susceptibilityof Mammalsto OverhuntinginAmazo- nia. In IntegratingPeople and Wildlifefor a Sustainable Future,editedbyJohnA.Bissonete andPaulR.Krausman, pp.292-295. WildlifeSociety,Bethesda. BrackEgg,Antonio 1997 Pobrezay manejoadecuadodelosrecursosenlaAma- zoniaperuana.RevistaAndina15(1):15-30. Brumbach,HettyJo 1985 CeramicAnalysisandtheInvestigationof Matrilocal- ity at the Smith Mohawk village site. NorthAmerican Archaeologist6:341-355. Carneiro,Robert 1970 HuntingandHuntingMagicAmongtheAmahuacaof thePeruvianMontana.Ethnology9:331-341. CeronSolarte,Benhur 1991 El manejoindigenade la selva pluvial tropical:ori- entacionespara undesarrollosostenido.AbyaYala,Quito. 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DeBoer,WarrenR. 1989 TheHousethatJesusitoBuilt.InHouseholdsandCom- datapermitsdetectingterritorialboundaries,village movement,site reoccupation,and matrilocalresi- denceandcorrelatingthesefeatureswithsubsistence resourcesandotheraspectsofthelocalenvironment. It seems likelythatseriatedsequencescanprovide othercluesforreconstructingpastculturalbehavior andI hopethata few readerswill be stimulatedto acceptratherthanrejectthechallenge. As thefutureofAmazoniabecomesincreasingly threatened,thepotentialcontibutionof archaeology becomesmoresignificant.Naturalscientistsinevery fieldaresupplyingdetailedevidencethatthecomplex inorganicandorganicinteractionsthatmaintainthe tropicalforestecosystemareincompatiblewithinten- siveexploitation,andtheirconclusionsaresupported by the repeatedfailure of well-Elnancedefforts. Whereasarchaeologistsworkingelsewherein South America,as well as in otherpartsof theworld,are givingincreasingattentionto theinfluenceof envi- ronmentalconditionson culturaldevelopmentand change,thoseworkinginAmazoniareject"environ- mentaldeterminism"andaccusethenaturalscientists ofbeingmisinformed(Roosevelt1995;alsoHecken- bergeret al. 1999:372;WustandBarreto1999:19). Nearly15yearsago,aforesterwithglobalexperience in the tropicsobservedthat, "Misunderstandings among anthropologists,particularlyregardingthe problemofsoildepletion,mustberesolvedifthisaca- demicliteratureis to makea significantcontribution tothetransformationofdevelopmentstrategiesbefore this basic resource has been destroyed" (Lamb 1987:429). Unfortunately,the message remains unheeded.Adherenceto"thelingeringmythofAma- zonianempires"notonlypreventsarchaeologistsfrom reconstructingtheprehistoryofAmazonia,butmakes us accomplicesin theacceleratingpaceof environ- mentaldegradation(Foresta1991:265). 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