Daily Practices and the Creation of Cultural Landscapes in Amazonia


Short-term, small-scale interactions between humans and the environment may result in profound transformations of that environment over time. Recent archaeological research in Amazonia has revealed the extent that daily practices, such as refuse disposal or cultivation, have modified the soil in the vicinity of ancient and modern settlements. The fertile anthropic soil known as terra preta, formed mainly through the discard of refuse around habitation areas, is an example of how quotidian actions by humans and other organisms together created these landscapes. These activities have resulted in a widespread pattern where similar features are found in ancient settlements across the broad Amazon region. The landscapes have been documented in several widely spaced areas and in differing environmental and cultural contexts, including large sites along major rivers as well as smaller sites in interfluvial areas. Daily activities resulted in patterns of modified soils and geomorphology that reflect the organisation and use of space in settlements. Once these features are formed, they may serve as landesque capital that is repeatedly used by succeeding generations or occupations.

Cite this Record

Daily Practices and the Creation of Cultural Landscapes in Amazonia. Morgan Schmidt, Anne Rapp Py-Daniel, Marcos Pereira Magalhães, Helena Lima, Vera Guapindaia. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429509)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15163