Climate Change and Culture in Late Pre-Columbian Amazonia

Author(s): Jonas Gregorio De Souza

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Global Perspectives on Climate-Human Population Dynamics During the Late Holocene" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Climate change has been linked to the reorganisation of past societies in different parts of the globe. However, until recently, the lack of archaeological and palaeoclimate data for the Amazon had prevented an evaluation of the relationship between climate change and cultural change in the largest rainforest of the world. Thanks to advances in archaeological and palaeoclimate research, such assessment is now possible. Here, the most relevant cultural transformations seen in the archaeological record of six different regions of Greater Amazonia during late pre-Columbian times are reviewed. The chronology of those cultural transitions is compared with regional paleoclimate proxies, showing that, while some societies faced major reorganisation during periods of climate change, others were unaffected and even flourished. The results suggest that societies with intensive, specialised land-use systems were more vulnerable, whereas those combining forest enrichment, polyculture and the formation of fertile Amazonian Dark Earths were more resilient to climate change – reinforcing the role of those economic strategies for sustainable land use in tropical forests.

Cite this Record

Climate Change and Culture in Late Pre-Columbian Amazonia. Jonas Gregorio De Souza. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451449)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -81.914; min lat: -18.146 ; max long: -31.421; max lat: 11.781 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25592