Central Amazon, Archaeobotany, Charcoal, Phytoliths, Starch Grains


Numerous questions in Amazonian archaeology place great emphasis on the relationships between human groups and their environments, traditionally drawing inferences from ethnographic analogies. This analytical expedient is justified by the supposedly weak preservation potential of plant remains in the Amazonian environment; however, it is also rooted in a lack of collecting and systematic research of such botanical remains. This paper presents results of archaeobotanical studies undertaken at the Hatahara site, located in Central Amazonia. Analysis of macro and microbotanical remains produced direct evidence of relationships between humans and plants in pre-colonial Central Amazonia. Observation of microbotanical assemblages extracted from artifacts demonstrated a great diversity of dietary resources in the past, including the existence of cultivated and managed varieties of plants. These studies also pointed to a multifunctional use of certain artifacts, such as ceramic griddles. Anthracological analysis showed positive correlations between charcoal peaks and layers of anthropic soils (Amazonian Dark Earths), as well as a great floristic diversity in these charcoal assemblages, pointing to a complex scenario for the use of fire, as well as to the possibility of charcoal increases in the formation of these soils.

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