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A multi-proxy approach to investigate human-plant interactions in Amazonia: A case study from the Llanos de Moxos

Author(s): Francis Mayle ; Jose Iriarte ; Bronwen Whitney ; Ruth Dickau ; John Carson

Year: 2015

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Summary

This paper summarises the results of a multiproxy study on the past human impact of Late Holocene peoples across different regions of the Llanos de Moxos. In the Monumental Mound Region, palaeoecological data show that the savanna soils were sufficiently fertile to support crops; maize being a predominant one. Macrobotanical remains from mound habitation sites in this region documented the presence of maize (Zea mays), squash (Cucurbita sp.), peanut (Arachis hypogaea), cotton (Gossypium sp.), and palm fruits (Arecaceae). Microbotanical results confirm the widespread use of maize, along with manioc (Manihot esculenta), squash, and yam (Dioscorea sp.). These results represent the first comprehensive archaeobotanical evidence of the diversity of plants cultivated, processed, and consumed, by the pre-Hispanic inhabitants of the Amazonian lowlands of Bolivia. Investigations in the geometric earthworks that occurs in the Bella Vista region, show that, in what is today land covered by terra firme forest, the inhabitants exploited a naturally open savanna landscape that they maintained around their settlement despite the climatically driven rainforest expansion that began∼2,000 yr ago across the region. The benefit of these multiproxy approach are discussed.

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A multi-proxy approach to investigate human-plant interactions in Amazonia: A case study from the Llanos de Moxos. Jose Iriarte, Francis Mayle, Ruth Dickau, Bronwen Whitney, John Carson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394914)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
South America


Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America