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Shell mounds from southern and southeastern Brazil

Author(s): Maria Gaspar ; Daniela Klokler

Year: 2015

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Systematic archaeological research focused for centuries on large scale shell mounds and now scholars turn their attention to smaller sites located on the southeastern coast of Brazil. Similarly to large mounds, these sites were built with mollusk and fish remains, have a complex stratigraphy and high numbers of burials. Researchers’ approach used data from formation processes and funerary contexts to establish comparisons between regions. Results indicate that small mounds located around the Guanabara bay in Rio de Janeiro, despite their specificities related to size, were constructed following the same set of activities that resulted in the construction of monumental shell mounds in Santa Catarina state. The repetition of funerary rituals, the inclusion of hearths and offerings and the care with bodies are present in both regions, indicating similar customs in a greater extension of the coast. An interest in "body" preservation through the deposition within shell valves is seen as a structuring element in these societies.

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Shell mounds from southern and southeastern Brazil. Maria Gaspar, Daniela Klokler. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398312)


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