ABSTRACT: For a long time, the archaeology of the Amazon occupied a marginal place in the pre-Columbian cultural history of the Americas. However, in recent decades, multidisciplinary research has uncovered a surprising complexity and diversity of cultural processes that ultimately influenced the continent. Using two case studies from the Llanos de Moxos in Bolivia, one of the largest seasonally flooded savannas in the world, this presentation summarizes current debates about plant domestication, the origins of ceramics, landscape modifications, anthropogenic forests, and the onset of monumentality. The new data from the Amazon forces one to reconsider previous long-held hypotheses that dominated South American archaeology. Mostly, archaeology brings a perspective on the deep history of Indigenous people that enables a critique of the current environmental and social destruction processes engulfing the Amazon. The increasing threat to indigenous territories in the Amazon from agroindustrial expansion and climate change encourages interdisciplinary research projects that bring together indigenous anthropological, archaeological, and ecological knowledge.
BIO: Dr. Carla Jaimes Betancourt is a lecturer at the Department for the Anthropology of the Americas, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany. Her main research area is the Llanos de Moxos in southwestern Amazonia, where she has studied the origin of monumentality and complex societies, processes of expansion and ethnogenesis, and cultural interaction between the Andes and Amazonia. Carla is a part of different interdisciplinary projects such as Human-Environment Relationships in pre-Columbian Amazonia (HERCA) and Mapping of monumental mounds in the Llanos de Mojos using LiDAR technology. Her current project, "Heritage and Territoriality: Past, Present, and Future Perceptions among the Tacana, T'simane, and Waiwai” is based on archaeological, anthropological, and ecological research, the application of collaborative methodologies involving a co-production of knowledge between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers.
On Campus Location:
Tozzer Anthropology building, Room 203
21 Divinity Avenue
& Online via Zoom (click here to Join on Monday, March 28th at Noon EDT)
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