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Molecular Archaeology in the Central Amazon: paleogenetic and isotopic analyzes of human remains from Hatahara

Author(s): Eden Washburn ; Lars Fehren-Schmitz

Year: 2016

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Summary

This study examines early population dynamics and ecology at Hatahara, an approximately 1500-year-old archaeological site in the Brazilian Central Amazon. Due to poor preservation of pre-Columbian human remains, little is known about the genetic make-up and diversity of this region before European contact. In contrast to other regions of South America and especially the Central Andes, this underrepresentation of human paleobiological data inhibits our potential to fully reconstruct Native South American population history and the demographic impact of European colonization. In order to reveal to what extent population dynamic events accounted for cultural development in the Central Amazon, we analyzed ancient mitochondrial and nuclear DNA of 9 individuals originating from Hatahara. This analysis was done by using hybridization capture assays, coupled with Next Generation Sequencing. Additionally, through collagen extracted from permanent molars, stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes were measured in order to reconstruct precise changes in dietary composition, with the goal to potentially shed light on human-environmental interaction and its regulating effect on social organization. Data from this study will provide key information into understanding this region prior to known European contact, and reveal to what extent external stimuli shaped cultural development in the Central Amazon.


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Molecular Archaeology in the Central Amazon: paleogenetic and isotopic analyzes of human remains from Hatahara. Eden Washburn, Lars Fehren-Schmitz. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404805)


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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