Recent Investigations in the Upper Xingu Basin

Author(s): Wetherbee Dorshow; Michael Heckenberger

Year: 2018


In the southern Amazon, two decades of rapid agro-pastoral development, extreme drought, and forest fires in the "arc of deforestation" threaten to precipitate an ecological oscillation of southern transitional forests from an eco-region dominated by closed tropical forest to one of open savanna and woodlands. Collaborative research conducted with the Kuikuro indigenous community in the Xingu River headwaters, involving archaeology, soil science, paleoecology, remote sensing, geospatial analysis, as well as, oral history and ethnographic investigation, documents human interventions into landscape of unprecedented scale, precision and planning in indigenous Amazonia. In the Xingu, indigenous knowledge and land management strategies, such as soil enrichment, wetland and fisheries management, and agroforestry, provide alternative pathways to ecological resilience and sustainable land use in the face of dramatic climate change during the Current Warming Period. This paper summarizes these findings, with an emphasis on a geospatial time-series analysis of Landsat imagery designed to identify the distribution, spectral signature, and potential functions of anthropogenic "Banded Forests" in the region.

Cite this Record

Recent Investigations in the Upper Xingu Basin. Wetherbee Dorshow, Michael Heckenberger. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443649)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -76.289; min lat: -18.813 ; max long: -43.594; max lat: 8.494 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22703