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Sambaqui Changes in Monumental Architecture along the Brazilian Coast in Response to Disruptions in Climate Patterns
Bright, Kiristen
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[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
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Master's ( M.A.)
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University of Florida
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Committee Chair:
Oyuela-Caycedo, Augusto
Committee Members:
Moseley, Michael E.
Heckenberger, Michael J.
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Anthropology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
brazil, elnino, mollusks, sambaquis, shell
Salinity ( jstor )
Fish ( jstor )
Bones ( jstor )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Anthropology thesis, M.A.


SAMBAQUI: CHANGES IN MONUMENTAL ARCHITECTURE ALONG THE BRAZILIAN COAST IN RESPONSE TO DISRUPTIONS IN CLIMATE PATTERNS The effects of El Nin tildeo upon monumental architecture have been well documented in Peru, however, this phenomenon has not been considered in relation to the shell mounds lining the southern coastline of Brazil. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the presence of El Nin tildeo (EN) in Brazilian shell mounds, which are known as sambaquis, by analyzing the composition of mollusk species within the sambaqui layers. The decline of temperature sensitive mollusks as a construction material is associated with EN events. Furthermore, beach ridge data, soil core and charcoal analyses are used to support the presence of EN during the construction phases of the sambaqui called Jaboticabiera II, or Jab II, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. These data are presented to demonstrate the dialogue between humans and their environment and the landscape which is a result of this interchange. ( en )
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Adviser: Oyuela-Caycedo, Augusto.
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by Kiristen Bright.

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2010 Kiristen D. Bright 2


To Mikie Davidson 3


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I must thank Dr. Paulo De Blasis of the University of So Paulo for his incredible kindness and generosity. My work would not have been possible without his help and willingness to take an American who could barely speak Portuguese to the magnificent sambaqui sites in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Also, Ximena Villagrn whose determination I hope to emulate. Her hard work and honesty have allowed her great insights into the possibilities for truly interdisciplinary work. I also want to thank Danilo Assuno, whose patience with my bumbling Portuguese deser ves an award; I learned more about the language from him than I will ever learn in a cl assroom. Certainly, I must thank Daniela Klkler for her willingness to share her fant astic work with me, and Cintia Bendazzoli for aiding me in the overwhelming mollusk dat a from Jaboticabeira II. Maria Dulce Gaspars help with Sambaqui Salinas Pe roano has been indispensable. Of course, without the love and support of my husband, Mikie Davidson, I would never have reached this point in my life, and he has my eternal grat itude. My mother, Kimberly Robinson Patterson, has always be lieved in me, and only rarely asks what I plan to do with a degree in anthropology, and fo r this and more I love and thank her. Her incredible strength is the st uff of legends. I must thank my father, John Bright, for always supporting my dreams, even the unlikely ones. I must also thank my brother and sister, Bubby and Nan, whose love and s illy antics remind me to live and love for the present; its the journey not the destination. 4


TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ..................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................7 LIST OF FIGURES ..........................................................................................................8 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS .............................................................................................9 ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUC TION....................................................................................................11 Research Questions ...............................................................................................12 Research Approach ................................................................................................12 Materials and Methods ............................................................................................13 El Nio Research in Peru ........................................................................................16 Geomorphology of Peru and Brazil .........................................................................17 Peru ..................................................................................................................17 Southeastern Brazil ..........................................................................................18 Shell Mounds ..........................................................................................................18 Maritime Society .....................................................................................................21 2 HISTORY OF SAMBAQ UI RES EARCH.................................................................26 Paulo Duarte ...........................................................................................................26 French School .........................................................................................................27 American Influence .................................................................................................28 Theoretical Vacuum ..............................................................................................28 Current Approaches ................................................................................................29 Interdisciplinary Research ................................................................................29 Geological Studies ...........................................................................................30 Building a Ritual Landscape .............................................................................31 3 EL NIO, LA NI A, AND BR AZIL..........................................................................33 Mangrove and Salt Marsh .......................................................................................35 Mollusks ..................................................................................................................38 Beach Ridge Formation ..........................................................................................40 Sea Level Fluctuation along the Brazilian Coast .....................................................41 Jaboticabeira II Santa Catarina, Brazil ..................................................................42 Discussion ........................................................................................................47 Future Research ...............................................................................................51 5


4 CONCLUS ION........................................................................................................52 LIST OF REFERENCES ...............................................................................................55 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................................................60 6


LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Minimum and maximum critical temperature and salinity levels for species found at Jaboticabeira II. ....................................................................................54 7


LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1 Coast of Brazil.................................................................................................... 15 1-2 The upper layers of Jaboticabeira II. ..................................................................21 1-3 Dr. Paulo De Blasis and Danilo A ssuno pictured as we walk towards Sambaqui de Garopaba. ....................................................................................22 1-4 Clusters of sambaquis along coast of Santa Catari na........................................ 24 4-1 Anomalocardia brasiliana or berbigo. ...............................................................38 4-2 Primary, Secondary, and Inorganic components for layers of Profile 1.15. ........44 4-3 Primary, Secondary, and Inorganic co mponents for layers of Profile 1.25 .........45 4-4 Primary, Secondary, and Inorganic co mponents for layers of Profile 1.40 .........46 4-5 Frequency of individual species and fish bone within layers of Profile 1.15 .......47 4-6 Frequency of individual species and fi sh bone within the layers of Profile 1.25 .48 4-7 Frequency of individual species and fi sh bone within the layers of Profile 1.40 .49 8


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS BP Years before present EN El Nio Jab II Jaboticabeira II LN La Nia MNI Minimum number of individuals SO Southern oscillation SST Sea surface temperatures yr BP Years before present 9


Abstract of Thesis Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulf illment of the Requirements for the Degr ee of Master of Arts SAMBAQUI: CHANGES IN MONUMENTAL ARCHITECTURE ALONG THE BRAZILIAN COAST IN RESPONSE TO DISRUPTIONS IN CLIMATE PATTERNS By Kiristen D. Bright May 2010 Chair: Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo Major: Anthropology The effects of El Nio upon monumental architecture have been well documented in Peru, however, this phenomenon has not been considered in relation to the shell mounds lining the southern coas tline of Brazil. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the presence of El Nio (EN) in Brazilian shell mounds, which are known as sambaquis, by analyzing the composition of mollusk species within the sambaqui layers. The decline of temperature sensit ive mollusks as a construction material is associated with EN events. Furthermore, beach ridge data, soil core and charcoal analyses are used to support the presence of EN during the construction phases of the sambaqui called Jaboticabiera II, or Jab II, in t he state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. These data are presented to demonstrate the dial ogue between humans and their environment and the landscape which is a result of this interchange. 10


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Although a popular topic gaining cultural and political sign ificance, climate change is a misnomer since the Holocene has been in a constant state of flux (Fagan, 2004). Like evolution, the developments of shifts in climate are not progr essive, nor inherently good or evil; but they are important because modern humans are dependent upon stable and predictable climate conditions. Fortunately, as we learn more about climate, patterns emerge. The Southern Oscillation is composed of two phases, El Nio (EN) and La Nia (LN). 1 While El Nio is often characterized as an abnormal state it is, in fact, a complimentary phase for which the term La Ni a is apposite (Philander, 1990, 11). The most widely recognized of climatic phen omena, the phases of El Nio and La Nia present us with intense and oft en catastrophic changes in Southern Oscillation patterns. The response of human civilizations to these changes has been well documented by archaeologists in Peru (Sandweiss, 2003; Richardson, 1998; Moseley et al., 1992). However, little archaeological work has considered how EN and LN would affect societies along the Atlantic coast. This paper seeks to examine the long history of archaeological research of the Brazilian shell mounds, or sambaquis, within the context of fluctuations in climate, particularl y El Nio and La Nia events, and how these recurring phases affected the construction of sambaquis in Brazil. A brief history of theory in Brazilian archaeolog y will be presented since it is impossible to neglect the social and political powers which have shaped the study of t hese monuments. The 1 It is possible to present normal conditions statisti cally, but the Pacific is rarely in what could be considered a normal state (Philander, 1990, 11). 11


sambaquis are especially important since they offer insight into not only the mortuary practices of the people that built them, but also the climatic phenomena that influenced the choices of those same people. Research Questions Climate shifts have a profound effect on the subsistenc e patterns of maritime societies. The demise of mangrove and the species these areas support may alter the food procurement choices of the people who rely on such specialized ecosystems for food. Moreover, some species become cent ral to the ideology of a people and the loss of these species due to climate change may alter or destroy belief systems. The cultural consequences of EN and LN, albei t more catastrophic, have been well documented along the coast of Peru (Mosele y, 1982; Moseley et al., 1992; Sandweiss, 2003). The research developed in Peruvi an archaeology on the relationship between environment and cultural changes provides a model for climate research in Brazil. Therefore, this paper wil l investigate the following research questions: What changes took place in construction techniques and/or building materials in response to cyclical climate shifts? What interpretations can be made concer ning the interaction between humans and fluctuations in climate? Research Approach Historical ecology focuses on the cult ural and historic al production of landscapes which shape cultural expe rience by retaining the material manifestations of human action (Stahl 2008: 7). Historical ecology is a term whose defin ition has been disputed since it not so much a theory as a toolbox, or the comb ination of conceptual and practical tools (Crumley, 2006, 390-391). Very simply pu t, ecology is the interaction among or between any living organism and the physical environment. Theref ore, historical 12


ecology is the history, or sum, of human interactions wit h their dynamic environment over a given period of time (Winterhaulder, 1994). 2 Winterhalder (1994) claims a complete explanation of ecological structure and function must involve reference to the actual sequence and the timing of the caus al events that produced them. Time, or history, is an important com ponent of historical ecology. The combination of culture, history, and environment leads to what humans understand as landscape. The sambaquis present us with a human produced landscape, the result of thousands of years of cultural and environmental interaction. In response to climatic shifts, and the consequences of intense El Nio and La Nia events, humans altered their behavior (i.e. substituted dark earth and fish bone for s hell), and, in the case of the sambaquis, modified the environment leading to the forma tion of a landscape which continues to influence the way humans attribute meaning to their surroundings (Bale, 1998). Materials and Methods Jaboticabeira II (Jab II) r epresents the most thoroughly studied sambaqui site in Brazil (Figure 1-2). The site is 6 m high, 400 m long, and 250 m wi de (Villagran, 2009). Using the work of both Daniela Klkler (2000) and Cintia Benda zzoli (2007), I have been able to analyze changes in composition of mollusk species and fish bone through time in Jab II. I must admit that the layers of Jab II do not follow in chronological order, and one finds sambaquis within sambaquis making it difficult to distinguish layers. The layers are defined based on colo r, texture, and composition. Furthermore, within layers features that are related to a specific event, such as a fire pit, buria l, or post mold, are referred to as structures (Klkler, 2000, 84). I have chosen to utilize the layers as they 2 The environment is not to be understood as a sterile container which holds human action or an external stimulus which goes about forcing adaptation, as is the case with environmental determinism. 13


are defined by Klkler (2000). Composition data from three profiles of Locus 1.15, 1.25, 1.40and their corresponding layers we re graphed in order to demonstrate anomalies and general patterns. The graphs are based on the frequency of species in samples taken by Klkler (2000). Weight has not been included since issues with weight between species as well as levels of preservation make inte rpretation difficult. For example, A. brasiliana weighs considerably more than B.solisanus Thus, judging the composition of a layer based on the weights of these two species would be misleading (Klkler, 2000). Ther efore, the frequency of a species, as defined by Klkler (2000) is based on MNI (Minimum Number of Individuals). Furthermore, species have been separated into two categories: Prim ary and Secondary s pecies, and a third category, Inorganic, has been defined for st one and sediments. The species which pertain to this analysis and have been defined by Klkler as primary species are as follows: Anomalocardia brasiliana, Brachidon tes solisanus, Lucina pectinatus, Cyrtopleura sp., Ostrea sp., and Thais haemastoma while fish bone, burned bone, charcoal, otoliths, mammal bone, crab, and barnacles are defined as secondary (Klkler, 2000,81). Although the mollusks that make up the primary category respond differently to changes in temperature and sa linity one would expect that as Primary materials became harder to procure the sa mbaqui people would come to rely more heavily on Secondary and/ or Inorganic material s, or those materials consisting of species more tolerant of changes in salin ity and temperature, fo r their construction needs. 14


The purpose of this paper is to present nearly fifty years of sambaqui research within the context of climate shifts, e.g. EN and LN, and to investigate the dialogue that takes place between a maritime people and their dynamic environment. Brazil Figure 1-1. Coast of Brazil. Import ant areas shown in red. (Adapted from wiki/File:Brazil-map-blank.png and ArcGIS template) Data pertaining to the species of mollusk, the presence or absence of mangrove in Cabo Frio, RJ, sediment core analysis, and beach ridge formations found along the southern coastline of Brazil w ill be presented to support the ar gument that climate shifts affected the construction of sambaquis along the southern coastline of Brazil (Fig. 1-1). 15


El Nio Research in Peru The biggest debate in Peruvian archaeology has been the development of civilization, complete with monumental ar chitecture, before the advent of ceramic technology and, seemingly, witho ut the cultivation of plants that served as foodstaples. 3 However, it is now accepted that people were cultivating industrial cultigens, such as cotton, which was used to make the nets fo r fishing (Moseley, 1975; Richardson, 1998). The development of civilization before the development of subsistence agriculture was not thought possible before archaeologists in Peru argued that a civilization could be supported by the exploitation of marine resources. This research led to the theory, first proposed by Michael E. Moseley in 1975, that Perus earliest civilization was founded primarily on a maritime subsistence strategy. While working to prov e the possibility of a maritime civilization, archaeologists also found a curious inconsistency in the archaeological record. At the Amotape camp site, Richardson discovered a species of mollusk, Anadara tuberculosa which are mangrove species that require both warmer and wetter conditions than now exist in that area of northern Peru (Sandweiss, 2003, 26). Moreover, the site si tuated above the Talara Tar Seeps contains the remains of now extinct mammals, birds, and insects. The very presence of some species indicates that the area would have had more water and vegetation to support such an ecosystem. For example, the species of insect present include those that must have standing water in order to survive (Sandweiss, 2003, 27). Furthermore, the Siches site (5,200,900 BP) also contained the same warm water mollusks in the basal level of the area excavated as those found at the Amotape campsites. Howe ver, archaeologists found 3 Although civilization is a problematic term, it is used here to distinguish the sambaqui people as a discrete and cooperative cultural group. 16


an intermingling of warm and cool water mollusks in the upper and more recent levels of the Siches site (Sandweiss, 2003, 31). T he presence of these warm and cool water mollusks is important, bec ause the Siches site is the only site to span the climate shift which took place around 5800 BP. Archaeolog ists were prompted to consider the paleoclimate, and what they found was astounding. The Terminal Pleistocene (13,000 11,000 BP) through the Mid-Holocene (9,000, 800 BP) are characterized by warmer sea surface temperatures and a far less arid environment (Sandweiss, 2003). Interestingly, around 5,800 BP the frequen cy and intensity of El Nio changed dramatically; resulting in the much cooler s ea surface temperatures and arid conditions found in Peru today. Peruvian archaeologi sts have used the appearance or absence of temperature sensitive mollusks to indica te climate change (Richardson, 1995) and the same could be done for research along the Braz ilian coast. Furthermore, it is during this time (~ 5800 BP) that we see the constr uction of monumental architecture in Peru, and this may represent a cultural response to the sudden shift in the environment (Sandweiss, 2003; Moseley, 1982). Geomorphology of Peru and Brazil Peru The western and eastern coasts of South America are very different, and it is important to note these differences when comparing the civilizations that developed along either coast. The northern coast of Peru is a region of tremendous seismic activity, which has brought about tectonic upli ft. Although the degree of this continental uplift is still a source of disagreement am ong archaeologists, uplift has had an impact on the height of the coast Peru and, therefor e has influenced the effects of sea level fluctuations in the region (Richardson, 1998 43). The same seismic activity has 17


produced earthquakes that, along with the to rrential rains of EN, have moved huge amounts of sediment that have brought abou t the formation of beach ridges along the coast of Peru. The formation of these beac h ridges also gave rise to dune fields, which can have catastrophic cultural consequences; excavations have shown that ancient cities became entombed within encroac hing dunes (Moseley et al., 1992). Southeastern Brazil Southeastern Brazil, including Rio de J aneiro and Santa Catarina states, is characterized as a high relief area, or high-grade rocky coast (Dominguez, 2009). The coast rests on crystalline massifs forming th e Serra do Mar Coastal range; the range stretches from the state of Esprito Santo (~20 o S) to the north of Santa Catarina state (~26 o S) (Hesp et al., 2009, 93). The region experienced a major uplift by the end of the Cretaceous (89 mya) and was followed by a gravitational collapse during the Cenozoic (58 mya) and, as a result, the rivers of this region flow towards the interior (Dominguez, 2009, 29). Al though a transference fault zone exists along the Florianpolis shelf, there is no evidence of tectonic activity after the Cenozoic period (Hesp et al., 2009, 97). The region of inte rest to the south of the Serra do Mar Mountains, Jaguaruna, is described as a rela tively straight coastal segment which exhibits all major coastal landform/barrier types (e.g., chenier plains, beach ridge plains, foredune plains) (Hesp et al., 2009). Understanding the geomorphology of the region is particularly import ant when dealing with the reconstr uction of paleoclimate. Shell Mounds Shell mounds, composed lar gely of mollusk shell and fish bone, were traditionally seen by archaeologists as little more than tr ash heaps or even the result of ancient geological phenomena (De Blasis, 1998). Howeve r, these archaeological sites are now 18


being studied as locations of great importance for feasting and mortuary ritual (Gaspar, 2008; Russo, 2004; Klkler 2001; Villagrn, 2009) and time-capsules of environmental change (Suguio et al., 1992; Sche el-Ybert et al., 2003). Shell mounds offer a great deal to paleoenvironmental studies since they are found on virtually every continent. In their various shapes and sizes, they are located in Japan, Peru, South Africa, the United States, Brazil, and elsewhere (Akazawa 1988; Habu 2004; Uhle, 1907; Sassaman, 2006; Carstens et al., 1996; Si nger et al., 1982; Reitz, 2001; Sandweiss, 2003). The Klasies River Mouth site, located in the Eastern Cape Province of the Republic of South Africa, boasts evidence of the earliest recorded shell mound. The site is a series of cave chambers that were inhabited contin uously from 122,000 to 42,000 BP and is of special importance because it is linked with the earliest anatomically modern humans (Singer et al., 1982). Thus, from our earliest beginnings we fi nd the construction of shell mounds in relation to the exploi tation of marine resources. South Africa may hold the oldest shell mounds, but the largest shell mounds in the world are found in Brazil in great clusters, or complexes, along its southern coastline (De Blasis et al., 1998). The era of Brazilian shell mound construction dates between 6,000 and 1,000 BP, however, they were continuously inhabited up until European contact in the 16 th century. As mentioned above, due to the material used to construct sambaquis they provide great insight into the climate conditions throughout the period of their construction and, in some cases, this represents over one thous and years. Archaeologists are able to use the mollusk shell, sediment, fish bone, and burned plant remains of the sambaquis as proxies for reconstructing t he paleoenvironment, paleoclimate, and sea level fluctuation of this region (Suguio et al., 1992; Scheel-Ybert, 2000). 19


The effects of the Southern Oscillation are felt from Japan, throughout North and South America, as well as the coast of West Africa. However, it has not been considered how it would have affected a ma ritime society living along the southern coastline of Brazil. The Southern Oscillation is not an isolated eventthis phenomenon has been well documented in Peru, Central Am erica, and North America (Salwen, 1962; Scudder, 2003; Shackelton, 1988; Moore, 1991; McKillop, 1995). Such immense changes would have been experienced throughout South America, including Brazil. Moreover, the time in which the sambaqui s were built (6000 000 BP, although the golden age of sambaqui construction occu rs between 4000 BP and 2000 BP), coincides with the occurrence of El Nio in greater frequency and int ensity (~ 5800 BP), and it is at this time that we see the rise of monumentality in Peru (Gaspar et al., 2008; Sandweiss, 2003). 4 However, it is around 2000 BP that there is drastic reduction in the use of shell, and sambaqui people begin to substi tute dark earth, or soil rich in organic material, for shell, and, by 1600 BP individua ls are no longer interred in monumental shell mounds (Gaspar et al., 2008, 327) Instead, low earthen mounds are found clustered in cemetery like si tes. Interestingly, data from beach ridge and sediment core analyses indicate an increase in EN condi tions from 2200 200 yr BP to present. Furthermore, archaeological evidence in Brazil presents evidence that the expansion of agricultural societies took place about 2000 yr BP and resulted in marked cultural change (Gaspar et al., 2008, 328). 4 When referring to monumentality, I am discussing those structures which requi re planning, i.e. the organization of labor, and show evidence of symbo lic importance, e.g. burials, iconography, etc. 20


Maritime Society The Brazilian shell mounds are referred to as sambaquis, which is a term derived from the Tupi language with tamba translating as shellfish and ki as a piling up of objects (Gaspar et al., 1998, 592) The sheer size of these structures is impressive, the Sambaqui de Garopaba (Fig. 1-3 ) stands nearly 400 meters long and 30 meters high afte r having been partially destroyed by shell mining, but what is more incredible is the number of burials found in sambaquis. Jaboticabeira II, located in the extensive sambaqui complex of Camacho, Santa Catarina, is estimated to have had nearly 43,000 individuals interred within it layers over a period of 800 years (Fig. 1-2 ) (Gaspar et al., 2008, 327). 5 Figure 1-2. The upper layers of Jaboticabeira II. 5 Please note that two spellings exist for this si te including Jaboticabeira II and Jabuticabeira II. 21


Sambaquis are normally found in bay or lagoon areas; areas of brackish water which support the growth of mangroves areas of rich floral and faunal diversity that were important in the diet of the sambaqui peoples (Gas par et al., 2008, 319). Mangroves are particularly sensitive to wa ter temperature, and will not grow if sea surface temperatures are cooler than 24 o C (UNEP Regional Seas Report, 1994). It seems that during cold phases along the Br azilian coast the salt marshes moved northward and replaced the mangroves, and during the humid, warm phases the mangroves, in turn, moved southward, repl acing the salt marshes (Hurt, 1974, 6). Figure 1-3. Dr. Paulo De Blasis and Dani lo Assuno pictured as we walk towards Sambaqui de Garopaba. It is impossible to capture the incredible size of the site in a photo. Thus, one would expect mollusks associated with either system would become dominant in the archaeological record, and would be indicati ve of climatic conditions during the construction of the sambaquis in which the shells are found. Sambaquis are difficult to define. They vary in size anyw here from a collection of shell two meters high 22


to, as mentioned above, imposing structures thirty meters hi gh (De Blasis et al., 1998, 77). Moreover, there is no ev idence of a sambaqui recipe and the proportions of soil, sand, shell, and the kinds of cultural incl usions and features in sambaquis also are variable (Gaspar et al., 2008, 319). Furthermore, the larger sambaquis differ from t he smaller in terms of their stratigraphic sequencing. Larger shell mounds typically have hor izontally and vertically complex stratigraphy, including alternating sequences of shell deposits, narrow and darker layers of charcoal and burned bone that mark occupation surfaces, and clusters of burials, hearths, a nd postholes descending from these surfaces (Gaspar, 2008, 319). Despite the differences found among sambaquis a pattern does exist. The larger sambaquis are surrounding by smaller sambaqui s lacking burials. Thus, we begin to see a clustering of sambaquis with the largest acting as a central mark ( Figure 1-4 ). The smaller sambaquis that lack the complexity of the larger, more central sambaquis may have served campsites or processing stations, or satellite locations to serve the needs of people in the outer reaches of the region (Gaspar, 20 08, 320). Andreas Kneip created a typology of Brazilian sam baquis based on the geomorphology of the Camacho region (Kneip, 2004). Indeed, the cl ustering of sambaquis and the duration of their occupancy dispel any notion of the sa mbaqui community as a primitive nomadic people and, instead, indicate a sedentary and incredibly cooperative population (De Blasis pers. comm., June 2009). Moreover paleopathological ana lysis found signs of endemic disease, which is linked to a dense and sedentary population, meanwhile there are very few indications of social inequality within the population individual burials are the exception rather than the rule (Gaspar et al., 2008). It is believed that the mollusk shells along with fish bones forming the sa mbaquis represent a diet that relied heavily 23


on maritime exploitation, and it is clear t he sambaqui people were highly skilled fishers and gatherers. The shell fish species gathered in order to construct the sambaquis are no longer recognized as representing a main food source, and the economy of the sambaqui people is interpreted as that of intensive fishers ra ther than collectors of low calorie shell fish. Figure 1-4. Clusters of sambaquis along coast of Santa Catarina. Jaboticabeira II is shown as a triangle. (Reprinted by permission from Villagrn Ximena, 2009. Archaeofacies Analysis: Using Depositional Attributes to Identify Anthropic Processes of Deposition in a Monument al Shell Mound of Santa Catarina State, Brazil. Geoarchaeology: An Inte rnational Journal 24, (3), 311-335.) Moreover, it is now argued that the mollusk species have symbolic value (Gaspar, 2008, 322). The symbolic role of the ocean is clearly important; many of the zooliths that have been recovered have been carved in the likenesses of species found in the 24


ocean (whale, shark, turtle, etc.) although bird and sometimes human effigies are also found (Gaspar et al., 2008, 329). These zoolit hs are similar in style and ideology and are found from Canania/Iguape down to Uruguay a distance of 2000 km (Gaspar et al., 2008, 329). Therefore, these carved effi gies act as further evidence of a panregional network, or a comp lex system of interaction between people of a common linguistic and religious background (Gas par et al., 2008, 329). The lagoons and estuaries that were manipulated and managed by the sam baqui people were the basis of a specialized livelihood. Within the sambaquis themselves there is no indication that deposits of terrestrial mammal or bird are incl uded in the layers of shell and fish bone, although these species do appear as effigies (Gaspar et al., 2008). The lack of these species in a ritual context could be attributed to the fact that f eatures associated with human dwellings have not been found in relation to sambaqui sites, however, one must consider issues of preservation in a tropical climate. Furthermore, research to date has not considered areas immediately adj acent to the sambaquis themselves. 6 Further research and excavation is needed off the sam baqui. Of course, it is clear that sambaquis are in no way repres entative of normal human habitation sites, although they do represent a planned and developed landscape (Gaspar et al., 2008, 320). Many ideas have been postulated as to what the sambaquis meant, or why they were built from acting as a form of communication towe r to a means of escaping tropical insects on the groundbut what is certain is t hese structures are an enduring form of landscape modification. Of course, in order to better underst and this practice we must first reconstruct the environment upon which the sambaqui people so heavily relied. 6 Gaspar has argued that sites in Rio de Janeiro ha ve evidence of habitation floors on the sambaqui, but archaeologists disagree about this interpretation. 25


CHAPTER 2 HISTORY OF SAMBAQUI RESEARCH In order to understand t he current paradigms circulating through Brazilian archaeology one must recognize past influence s and how cultural identity and politics have formed research questions and the me thods employed in archaeology in general and in Brazilian archaeology in particular. Therefore, this c hapter will present the history of sambaqui research, its infl uences, and the outlook for the future. Paulo Duarte Brazil has long considered itself a European culture (Funari, 1995). Therefore, the early efforts of the Mu seu Nacional were directed towards what was considered civilized cultures of foreign origin using European methods (Funari, 1995, 238). Furthermore, the work of museums was not structured as a scholarly endeavor. Indeed, archaeology by the museums was linked more with patron support sponsored by museum directors than with scholarly work (Funari, 1995, 238). Th is form of elitist archaeology began to change with Paulo Duarte, whose humanist approach and effort to protect the cultural herit age of Brazil earned him few fri ends. In fact, his 1946 book arguing against the dictatorship in Brazil led to his exile and signaled the onset of the ethical commitment of Brazil ian intellectuals in support of freedom, and against arbitrary rule by those in authority (Funari, 1995, 239) Duartes ethical stance led him to propose the development of academic ar chaeological institutions and heritage protection (Funari, 1995, 239). However, his humanist and anti-positivist approach were interpreted as romantic and antithetical to the hierarchical nature of Brazilian society (Funari, 1995). 26


French School In 1954, Joseph Emperaire, a geographer of Musee de lHomme, and his wife, Annette Laming were brought to Brazil by Paul Rivet, who was the director of Musee de lHomme and a visiting professor in Brazil at the time (Barreto, 199 8). The team joined Paulo Duarte in the first systematic excavati ons of shell mounds in Brazil. Emperaire and Laming introduced the refined French excavation methods for that time: Excavations were aimed at re cording stratigraphic sequences, reconstructing occupational floors, and t heir internal structuresAnalysis of artefacts, mainly lithics, was aimed at reaching formal typologies, following Francois Bordes methods (Barreto, 1998, 575). The couple was extremely influential, and their extensive training of local archaeologists is considered one of their mo st positive contributions to Brazilian archaeology (Barreto, 1998, 575). However, applying French methods to Brazil at that time became problematic. In Brazil, arc haeologists had not established chronological and geographical distribution. Thus, by ignoring how the sites related to a larger context, the single-site approach rendered site reports useless (Barreto, 1998). Then, without paying attention to site formati on or developing a taphonomy of deposits in tropical environments the reconstructions of liv ing floors were greatly limited (Barreto, 1998, 576). Finally, the French method of cla ssification, mainly concerned with lithics, led to confusion. Archaeologists attempt ed to place the rough tools found in their excavations within the Pal eolithic categories developed by the French and overlooked the technological and functional characteri stics of tools that have proved more functional (Barreto, 1998, 576). Therefore, a frus tration developed in relation to the French style of archaeology, and this frustrat ion led many Brazilian archaeologists to look elsewhere for their theories and methods namely, to the Americans. 27


American Influence The work of Clifford Evans and Betty Megge rs, both of the Smit hsonian Institute, has defined the American presence in Brazil since the early 1950s, however, their work had little impact until 1960s. Their work began with Amazonian cultures rather than the sambaquis, however they argued for a broader regional approach which was missing in Brazilian archaeology during that time (B arreto, 1998). In 1964, Evans and Meggers hosted a series of seminars aimed at ar chaeological theory, methodology, ceramic classification and interpreta tion (Barreto, 1998; Funari, 1995). However, the team imported a brand of ar chaeology which was the exact opposite of Duartes humanism. Their empirical approach divorced Brazilian arc heology from historical concerns, but this anti-historical empiricism from America was introduced into a society in which empiricism was interpreted very differently from that of the United States: There is a clear imbalance between the capitalist, individualistic principles behind positivism in the United States and the same approach when applied within the social fabric based on non-egalitarian, patronal values (Funari, 1995, 240). Theoretical Vacuum Unlike Archaeology in the United States, Brazilian archaeology did not develop as a sub-discipline of Anthropology. In fa ct, Archaeology was not recognized as a professional discipline until nearly twenty years after Anthropology and other related social sciences had been established in Braz il (Barreto, 1981, 574). As a result, Brazilian archaeology languis hed is a perpetual classificatory descriptive approach for some time (Barreto, 1981). In her discussion of the development of Brazilian archaeology, Cristiana Barreto (1981) is explicit as to the circumstances which led to 28


the stunted growth of the di scipline and she explains, A wide gap between archaeology and anthr opological theory coupled with a certain cultural colonialism are impor tant causes responsible for this particular state in the disci pline in Brazil. Ironically, the strong influence of foreign schools (both French and Nort h American), whil e producing many advances, has also left Brazilian arc haeology in a theoretical vacuum and a methodological straitjacket (574). The result of Evans and Meggers semi nars were pupils who hindered the development of new perspectives by persecu ting and ostracizing those who challenged their empiricist ecological determinism (Funar i, 1995). The irmos, or brothers, as the group of determinists came to call themselves, would obs truct the publication of any data they felt to be inc ongruous with their own findings (Funari, 1995). Although the dominant discourse was ineffective, the ai m of the irmos was to maintain the accepted standard. Funari (1995) argues that empiricism and ecological determinism did not lead to a strong positivist science in Brazil because of t he authoritarian regime that used empiricism to justify their rule which allowed the irmos to reinstate patron/client practices with arbitrary power (242). Despite the historical suppression of a theoretical archaeology in Brazil the future of Brazilian archaeology is bright. New generations of archaeologists are increas ingly aware of the theoretical vacuum surrounding them and, as is clear from the literature cited, they are questioning and challenging the rigid discourse of their predecessors. Current Approaches Interdisciplinary Research As a discipline, Archaeology has b egun to embrace the need for cooperation beyond our field alone, and sambaqui research is no exception to this movement. The most exciting and informative work is being done by archaeologists working with 29


geographers, geologists, climatologists, and soil scientists. Furthermore, interdisciplinary research recognizes the comple xities inherent in the study of prehistoric civilizations and allows for otherwise overl ooked variables to be teased out from the chaos of the past. Theoretical approaches come and go, but cooperative scholarship should be maintained in order that Arc haeology remains relevant. This paper is intended to exemplify the possibilities of interd isciplinary research. Geological Studies Geographic Information Systems (GIS) hav e been used to map the sambaquis in relation to sea level fluctuations and t he geomorphology of the region in which the sambaquis are found (Kneip, 2004). In her analysis, Kneip (2004) found that the sambaquis formed separate clusters with large mortuary sambaquis being surrounded by smaller, sterile (or thos e without burials) sambaquis. Moreover, these clusters corresponded to sea level fluctuations when t he patterns of preferred ecological zones for sambaqui construction, mangrove and salt marsh, shifted. However, many problems surround interpretations made based on sea level fl uctuations including the fact that no agreement has been reached on a sea level curve for Brazil during the Holocene. These issues are discussed in greater detail below. Ximena S. Villagran of the University of So Paulo has integrated methods developed by geologists and soil scientists into the analysis of sambaqui construction, particularly the presence of a terra preta layer covering Jaboticabeira II as well as many other sambaquis after 2000 BP. Us ing facies, or a sedimentary unit characterized by a group of diagnostic depositional a ttributes identified in the field Villagran identifies the depositional processes, both natural and anthropic, which l ed to the development of this particular cultural landscape (Villagran et al ., 2009, 313). In an archaeological context 30


the facies are referred to as archaeofacies. Using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Multi-elemental chemical characterization, and micromorphology Villagran et al. (2008) analyzed soil samples collected from Trench 10 and Trench 11 in Jaboticabeira II in order to identify recurrent anthropic processes of deposition. Her work has expanded beyond Jaboticabeira II and she is now app lying these same methods to other sambaquis in the Jaguaruna region. Building a Ritual Landscape The work of Maria Dulce Gaspar and Paulo De Blasis has been discussed briefly above. Both archaeologists ar gue that the sambaquis are the remnants of a ritual landscape; the lack of clear ly defined habitation sites on the sambaquis and the overwhelming number of burials in the larger of thes e monuments has led to the interpretation that the main function of the sambaquis was as ritual centers for elaborate burial customs. Gaspar et al. (2008) interpret these funerary areas as having been specific to certain groups based on kinship, territo rial affiliation, or ot her social category. These individual kinship mounds eventually joined to form one large mound. However, there have been no studies, at present, to verify that those buried wit hin close proximity of one another are, in fact, related. Individual burials are rare, with most burials being comprised of an adult and child, and secondary burials were the rule; thus, Ga spar et al. (2008) argue that burials may have taken place at a prescribed time in which all those who died within a certain time frame were brought to a central location for a community-wide burial event. Furthermore, there is evidence of later cerem onies, interpreted by Gaspar et al. (2008) as mortuary feasts, where communities woul d gather and light fires and consume large amounts of fish. These fires, or hearths, correspond to the location of burials below the 31


shell surface and these activities are believe d to have led to the development of the dark organic layers withi n the sambaquis. Considerably more work (i.e., excavation) is needed in the areas adjacent to sambaquis in order to understand how t he sites related to one another and their purpose or purposes. Unfort unately, archaeologists still do not fully understand the rules governing mortuary ritual at these mo numents since the sampling number is far too small to make generalization in regards to the sequence and timing of the proposed community burial events. For example, treatments of the bodies (e.g., covering bodies with red pigment, removal of bones, the inclus ion of bones from other individuals) are inconsistent (Gaspar et al., 2008). However, greater sampling from burial sites, such as Jaboticabeira II, and sambaquis in other regi ons will allow archaeologists to delineate regional variations as well as fundamental mortuary behaviors throughout Brazil. 32


CHAPTER 3 EL NIO, LA NIA, AND BRAZIL In order to understand El Nio (EN) and La Nia (LN), one must first consider the Southern Oscillation (SO). The Southern Oscillation is the term given to pressure fluctuations located in two centers; one is located over the western tropical Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean, while the other is f ound over the southeastern tropical Pacific (Philander, 1990, 9). These two regions ar e separated by thousands of kilometers, however, pressure readings at either location demonstrate that the areas are remarkably coherent and out of phase (Ph ilander, 1990, 9). In the early 20 th century, Sir Gilbert walker named this phenomenon the S outhern Oscillation, and much later, in the 1960s, Jacob Bjerknes of the University of CaliforniaLos Angeles would recognize that an important relationship exists bet ween the SO and sea surface temperatures (SST). SO is caused by variations in the interannual SST, but Philander (1990) points out that if one were to examine the phenomenon from the positi on of an oceanographer, the SST changes are brought about by fluctuati ons in the wind patterns associated with the SO. Thus, the line of reasoning becom es cyclical and complex. However, put simply, it is the interactions betwe en the ocean (SST) and the atmosphere (wind patterns of the SO) that are t he basis for fluctuations in the SO (Philander, 1990, 5). SO has become a blanket term for the immens e changes in patterns of rainfall and wind fields, and its effects are found well beyond the Pacific and Indian Oceans (Philander, 1990; Allen et al., 1996). EN and LN are phases of the SO. EN is the term for SO conditions in which the trade winds are weak and pressure is low over the eastern Pacific while pressures are high over the western tropical Pacific (Phil ander, 1990, 4). The te rm El Nio, which 33


translates as the Christ child, was original ly associated with a counter-current flowing from north to south along the Peruvian coas t which was said to appear after Christmas (Philander, 1990, 1). The term has been clai med by popular culture and has become both something to fear and to blame for all manner of environm ental and economic disasters (Philander, 1990). However, EN and LN events vary considerably, and it is best that these be understood as a general terms. 1 EN episodes are followed by LN. LN is the phase of the SO when SST in the central and eastern tropical Pacific are unusually low and trade winds are in tense (Philander, 1990, 4). These phases translate into fluctuations in temperature and rainfall throughout South America and the westward movement of the convection zone (Martin et al., 1993) In Brazil, the disruption of precipitation patterns brought on by EN led to strong and consistent positive anomalies in the spring of El Nio all over southern Brazil, but also in the winter of the following years in some ar eas and even stronger and more consistent negative anomalies dur ing the spring of LN years (Grimm, 2000, 36). However, the precipitation anomalies associ ated with EN and LN are particular to regions. For example, in Cabo Frio, RJ EN strengthens the normally weak trade winds leading to arid conditions. These conditions occur bec ause the polar frontal systems are blocked due to an increase in low level jet. As a result, southern Brazil experiences high rainfall in the blocking zone and drought in the regions located northward (Martin et al., 1993, 338). Thus, EN and LN have a strong effect on sea surface temperatures, precipitation, as well as salinity levels. T he combination of these effects influence the 1 EN events are categorized as strong, moderate, weak, and very weak, but considerable variability exists even within these defined levels (Philander 1990: 11). 34


environments of the mollu sk and gastropod species found in the sambaquis. As mentioned, these effects are regional, and will be discussed in greater detail below. Mangrove and Salt Marsh Mangrove represents 1, 376,255 hectares of Brazilia n land (de Lacerda, 2002, 8). Moreover, these rich eco systems are key indicators of fluctuations in temperature and precipitation. Although mangroves are able to withstand temporary shifts in climate patterns they are most successful where t he coolest winter temperature is above 20 C and temperatures are constant throughout the yearand the salinity ranges between 5 and 30 ppt (de Lacerda, 2002). Further more, the upper limit of mangrove temperature tolerance seems to be SST that are not warmer than 24 o C throughout the year (Saenger, 2002, 3). Thus, the temperat ure range for the successful growth of mangrove is a very narrow 20 o C. To be certain, temperat ure is the primary factor in the distribution of mangroves, and along the coast of Brazil, SST are generally above 20 C, except in Cabo Frio, RJ (de Lacerda, 2002, 40). However, the availability of fresh water is also crucial in order to reduce t he build-up of salt deposits left by tidal flooding of the mangrove wetland. Rainfall is par ticularly important for leaching the residual salts from the mangrove soils and reduc ing salinity (de Lac erda, 2002, 40). Cabo Frio is affected by El Nio quite differently than the more southern sites in Santa Catarina state due to local upwelling. The Cabo Frio upwelling occurs during the dry season, therefore, EN compounds the already arid conditions (Sylvestre et al., 2005). EN strengthens the normally weak trade win ds leading to greater aridity, which, along with reduction of rainfall leads to an in crease in evaporation and higher levels of salinity in the lagoons. However, EN is characterized in Santa Catarina by heavy 35


rainfall and flooding; thus, these two regions represent the two extremes in EN events (Grimm et al., 2000). Therefore, the increased aridity and r eduction in rainfall associated with EN events coupled with the cold water upwelling of Cabo Frio, RJ serve to greatly reduce and even destroy the presence of mangrove in this area. Scheel-Ybert (2000) found significant fluctuations in the presence and absence of mangrove vegetation in her charcoal analysis of six sambaquis, four of which were located in the Cabo Frio region (Sambaqui do Forte, Sambaqui Salinas Peroano, Sambaqui Boca da Barra, and Sambaqui do Meio). Her analysis demonstrat ed differences in the development of mangrove on either side of channel; on the western side (associated with the Sambaqui do Forte) she found an abrupt reduction of mangrove vegetation after 4900 14 C yr BP. The lack of mangrove veget ation continues until 2300 14 C yr BP when the mangrove begins to re-establish itself in t he region. However, between 2000 and 1400 14 C yr BP, the charcoal analysis indicates the absence of mangrove related to an increase in aridity and a subsequent increas e in salinity. On the eastern side of the channel (Sambaqui Salinas Peroano and Boca da Barra) mangrove is very well represented until 4300/4500 14 C yr BP and is never re-established (Scheel-Ybert, 2000, 116). In Santa Catarina, the disappearance of mangrove vegetation seems to have commenced around 2000 BP. Villagran et al ar gue that this process was due to the desalinization which resulted from the progressive reducti on of paleolagoons (Villagran et al., 2009, 313). Furthermore, this desalinization led to a decrease in A. brasiliana a species that does not respond well to rapid desalinization, as well as some species of oyster (Villagran et al., 2009, 313). Heavy rainfa ll also leads to rapid desalinization, and 36


this region of Brazil generally receives much higher levels of rainfall during EN events and is very dry during LN events. Upon visiting Jaguaruna, Br azil I entered a snack shop for a quick bite to eat. Along one wall of the store we re framed photographs of the city in 1972 when a flash flood had barreled through the small city. The streets and buildings were buried in layers of m ud and debris was caught in every corner and crevice. I sat staring until the shopkeeper turned to me and began explaining that the flood had been the worst in living memory. As he continued to detail the horrors, Dr. De Blasis explained that the flood was during an EN event. I, of course, was intrigued and I found that this region of Br azil had experienced an increase in rainfall greater than 45% that year (Allan et al., 1996, 135). Therefore, flooding associated with EN conditions could have a tremendous effect upon salinity and the presence of mangrove if the events were intense and frequent. Coastal salt marshes are very sim ilar to mangrove environments; however, changes in SST and salinity result in different types of vegetation. Therefore, salt marsh are areas along saline bodies of water that are vegetated by herbs, grasses and/or low shrubs and, unlike mangrove, are not dominated by trees (Adam, 1990, 1). The importance of salt marsh lies in the fact that as temperatures decrease and salinity levels become unfavorable for the growth of mangrove species, areas once dominated by mangrove are gradually claimed by salt mars h. Once again, temperature is the most important factor for the devel opment of mangrove or salt marsh. Although scientists may distinguish these areas based on the ty pes of vegetation present in each, both environments represent an interface between land and sea. These are areas where terrestrial biota interacts with marine biota, and vice-versa (Adam, 1990). Moreover, the 37


sensitivity of these ecosystems to shifts in temperature and precipitation allow mangrove and salt marsh to act as gauges for climatic fluctuations. Mollusks Sambaquis are constructed with shell, fish bone, and sediment. Shell, of course, makes of the greater percentage of these materials and the species that is represented most is Anomalocardia brasiliana In Brazil, this species is called berbigo and is found burrowing at shallow depths of 0.5 to 1.5 m in the muddy sand along mangrove borders (Mouza et al., 1999, 73). However, experim ents have found this mollusk to be able to withstand a large range of sa linities (Leonel et al., 1983). A. brasiliana experiences high mortality rates during heavy rains which quick ly and drastically reduce salinity levels (Mouza et al., 1999, 73). Although the specie s is small, 45 mm maximum shell length, it is used extensively for food today just as it was in the past (Figure 4-1 ). Figure 4-1. Anomalocardia brasiliana or berbigo. The venerid clam is distributed from t he West Indies to as far south as Uruguay (Mouza et al., 1999, 73). As mentioned, the species can survive an incredible range of 38


salinities; from 17% o to 42.5% o although at salinities higher than this the clam closes tightly and respiration slows as a natural defense against desiccation (Leonel et al., 1983). The species can only maintain this defense for so long, however, and experiments demonstrated that the animals wil l die within 492 hours at salinity levels higher than 42.5% o A. brasiliana is considered to be a eurysaline or eurahaline organism due to its tolerance of a wide range of salinities (Kinne, 1964, 284; Leonel et al., 1983). Perhaps the ability of this spec ies to survive such extreme changes in salinity contributes to its almost continuous presence throughout the period of intensive sambaqui construction along the coast of Brazil (6000 BP). Unlike other mollusk species, the availability and/ or the human desire to collect A. brasiliana does not seem to have diminished through time or s pace until around 2000 BP (Gaspar et al., 2008, 327). For example, the clam is found, gene rally in great abundance, in every layer containing shell in Jaboticabeira II (Bendazzoli, 2007), and the construction of this mound began in 2500 BP and termi nated around 1700 BP (Gaspar et al., 2008, 327). Furthermore, the clam is found in both the co ld upwelling environment of Cabo Frio, RJ and the sites of Camacho, SC much farther to the south. Thus, the use of this species to construct sambaquis spans across space and time and indicates a surprising level of cultural continuity and tradition. Another prominent, though not as ubiquitous as A. brasiliana species is Brachidontes solisianus The Brazilian term for this species is mariscos. In experiments carried out by Zuim and Mendes (1980), B.solis ianus tolerated salinities between 14.1% o and 35.2% o during a period of ten days. Furthermore, the authors argued that the species would be greatly affected by heavy rainfall since they prefer to 39


inhabit the rocky shores f ound at higher elevations. P. perna a species that also attaches itself to the rocky shore although at lower elevations, survived salinities between 21.1 % o and 35.2 % o during a period of ten days (Zuim et al., 1980). P. perna is known as mexilho in Brazil. 2 Donax sp. is found mixed with A. brasiliana in the more southern sites (Prous ,1991, 210). Table 4-1 presents temperature and salinity ranges within which mollusk species found at Jaboticabeira II will survive. Beach Ridge Formation Beach ridges are the accumulation of sediment and sand, or the result of longshore transport, running parallel to the shore line and are the result of wave action. In Rio de Janeiro, beach ridge plains are found in the northeastern part of the state. The Paraba do Sul River meets the coast, resu lting in a large delta complex (Dias et al., 2009, 232). These beach ridges are sto rm wave-built ridges and consist of quartzose medium sand in ar eas not dominated by wave action (Dias et al., 2009, 233). The beach ridges of Paraba do Sul are mainly formed in a south to north direction due to high energy storm waves from the southeast (Dias et al., 2009, 235). However, changes in longshore sand transport lasting much longer than a few months are recorded in the fossil beach ridges along the Brazilian coast (Martin et al., 1993). As mentioned earlier, EN events (or conditions similar to EN) block the polar frontal systems and increase subtropical jet. As a result, the swells that are normally generated from the south do not reach the central shoreline of Brazil, and the stronger northern swells transport sand from north to south (Martin et al., 1993, 340). Longshore 2 It should be noted that the survival rates of species differ between life stages. For instance, P. perna embryos had very little resistance to different temperature and salinity combinations, however, veligers, or individuals in the larval stage, demonstrated high levels of resistance. I have chosen not to include this variable since the mollusks found in the sambaquis re present individuals that have matured beyond the veliger state (Romero, 1990). 40


transport reversed southward at least thr ee times between 2500 yr BP and the present (2200 200 yr BP, 1300 200 yr BP, and a recent, though undefined time). During these periods, the southeastern swells did no t reach the central shoreline of Brazil and are indicative of EN events or EN like condit ions (Martin et al., 19 93). Furthermore, the authors believe these events to have lasted several decades (Martin et al., 1993, 345). A sediment core collected in the hypersalin e lagoon of Brejo do Espinho in Cabo Frio supports the dates obtained from the beach ridge study. Cabo Frio experiences hyperaridity during EN events, and the core demonstrated a drastic increase in arid conditions at 2200 yr BP (Sylvestre et al., 2 004). After this time, trade winds dominated and the authors argue these conditions indicate an increase in EN activity (Sylvestre et al., 2004). Therefore, both beach ridge and core analyses suggest an increase in the frequency and intensity of the effects of EN ev ents around 2200 yr BP. Sea Level Fluctuation along the Brazilian Coast Coastal barriers, such as dune fields, are related to rising sea levels; however, beach ridges are the result of coastal progradat ion, which is related to falling sea levels (Dias et al., 2009, 230). Sea level vari ability has been hotly debated for decades, but recent work by Angulo et al. (2006) has f ound that present relative sea levels were reached as early as 7,550 yr BP or as late as 6,500 yr BP, and, t hen, sea levels began to rise 3 to 4 meters until a high st and was reached between 5195 110 yr BP and 5410 80 yr BP along the coast of Brazil. Maximum Holocene sea levels reached about 2.1 m along Santa Catarina, while, to the north, sea levels did not exceed 4 meters (Angulo et al., 2006, 500). Then, re lative sea level fell slowly, with minor oscillations, until reaching todays average sea level. 41


The nature of sea-level oscillations (whet her high energy or low energy) along with the lack of precise pal eo-sea-level indicators have made it difficult to define a paleo-sea level curve upon which all can agree (See An gulo et al., 2006). For example, the positions of the sambaquis were used by Suguio et al. (1992) to establish periods of sea transgressions and regressions. They conc luded that the coastline had oscillated considerably in the past 7000 years; however Angulo et al. (2006) argue that the paleosea-level indicators, such as shell and wood fragments, used to construct the paleosea-level curve in the past have been problem atic due to the factors surrounding the deposition of these indicators. In the case of the wood fragments, they had been transported through muddy sediment, and Angulo et al. (2006) points out that it is possible the muddy sediments from where the samples were collected were indeed a paleo-estuarine deposit, but of sub-tidal elevat ion (492). Thus, th e dates from these wood fragments would indicate a period of low relative sea level ra ther than a period of transgression. Regardless of the sea level cu rve used, sea levels were in a state of decline from 2500 BP to present (See Angulo, 2006). Therefore, during the period in which EN and LN conditions are recorded the sea level along the coast of Brazil was in a state of regression. Jaboticabeira II Santa Catarina, Brazil I have chosen to utilize the layers as they are defined by Klkler (2000). Composition data from thr ee profiles of Locus 1.15, 1.25, and 1.40 and their corresponding layers were graphed in or der to demonstrate anomalies and general patterns. The graphs are based on the freq uency of species in samples taken by Klkler (2000). Weight has not been included since issues with weight between species as well as levels of preservation make interp retation difficult. The species which pertain 42


to this analysis and have been defined by Klkler as primary species are as follows: Anomalocardia brasiliana, Brachidontes solisanus, Lucin a pectinatus, Cyrtopleura sp., Ostrea sp., and Thais haemastoma while fish bone, burned bon e, charcoal, otoliths, mammal bone, crab, and barnac les are defined as secondary (Klkler, 2000, 81). Although the mollusks that make up the primary category re spond differently to changes in temperature and salinity (Table 4-1) one would expect that as Primary materials became harder to procure the sambaqui people would come to rely more heavily on Secondary and/ or Inorganic materials, or th ose materials consisting of species more tolerant of changes in salin ity and temperature, for their construction needs. A general pattern, which is that of an L shape, is found when reviewing the relationships among the three categories. Certainly, the topmost layer which is a form of terra preta tends to be an anomaly among the other layers. However, even within the same sambaqui th is layer does not consist of the same composition pattern throughout t he different profiles. The structures also tend to stand out. As previously mentioned, structures ar e features within a la yer that represent a specific moment in time in which the sambaqui people were actively engaged with the layer that encompasses the structure. However, within Profile 1.40, one will notice that although a structure is present it follows the same L patte rn of the other layers ( Figure 4-4 ). It is important to note that the structures most closel y resemble the layer they are within, and in the case of Structure t he feature actually overlaps into the above layer of 1.25.1( Figure 4-3 ) (Bendazzoli, 2007). Thus, due to the event-like nature of the structures and their relationship with the surrounding layers they will not be considered separately from the greater layers In other words, the structures will be 43


analyzed as an event which took place during the construc tion of the layer, and not representative of the layer as a whole. Figure 4-2. Primary, Secondar y, and Inorganic components for layers of Profile 1.15. The different prof iles exhibit a correlation bet ween the amount of primary components and secondary/inorgani c components. For exampl e, Layer 1.25.35 has a large reduction in the quantit y of primary com ponents and, as expected, secondary and inorganic components make up a lar ger percentage of that layer ( Figure 4-3 ). Furthermore, the date of the 1.25.3 layer co rresponds to the timeframe in which EN conditions are documented in the reversal of long shore transport in beach ridges along the Brazilian coast (2170 45 yr BP and 2200 200 yr BP, respectively). 44


Figure 4-3.Primary, Secondary, and Inorganic components for layers of Profile 1.25. The individual primary species graphs pr esented were also developed using MNI data from Klkler (2000). In my analysis, I identified fi ve species of interest ( A. brasiliana, B. solisanus, L. pecti natus, Thais sp., Ostrea sp. ) which are defined as primary species and fish bone, and the relati ve numbers of individuals are given in Figures 4-6 through 4-8. In th is analysis, I was interested to see how individual species that made up the primary ca tegory interacted with one anot her during EN events. Generally, it seems that as A. brasiliana is reduced B. solisanus is used as a supplementary material. 45


Figure 4-4. Primary, Secondar y, and Inorganic components for layers of Profile 1.40. For example, if one consider Figure 47 and layer 1.25.21 a drastic reduction in A. brasiliana corresponds to a large increase in B. solisanus Moreover, the same pattern is found in profile 1.40 (Figure 4-8). In this case, layer 1.40.36 is dated as having been constructed at 2210 60 yr BP, or within the time period in which evidence of EN (reversal of long-shore drift, hyperaridity in Cabo Frio) is found along the coast of Brazil. In layers 1.25.21 ( Figure 4-6 ) and 1.40.36 ( Figure 4-7 ) as A. brasiliana decreases as a prime component B. solisanus increases. B. solisanus is capable of withstanding lower salinity levels, which would result fr om the rapid desaliniz ation of lagoons during flooding events, than A. brasiliana but not by much (Table 4-1). Unfortunately, only layer 1.40.36 has been dated (2210 60 yr BP) (Klkler, 2000), and without a date for 1.25.21 it is impossible to argue these layers represent the same event. However, the data does seem to support the argument that as a primary species decreases in frequency within a layer, species better equipped to withstand changes in salinity and 46


temperature increase. T hen, as mangrove and paleolagoons continued to disappear around 2000 BP along with the mollusk species associated with these ecosystems, it seems very likely that sediment and fish bone were used in lieu of shell building material. Figure 4-5. Frequency of individual species a nd fish bone within layers of Profile 1.15. Discussion Therefore, with the suppor ting evidence from beach ridges, the sediment core from Brejo do Espinho, and the presence and absence of mangrove in Cabo Frio, the construction of Jaboticabeira II was affected by EN events. Preferred materials were supplemented with sediment and fish bone during the construction of layers corresponding to EN events. Outside of thes e EN events, construction materials occur in the normal percentages demonstrated in the graphs (i.e., the L shape). 47


48 Figure 4-6.Frequency of individual species and fish bone within the layers of Profile 1.25. However, once the preferred primary mate rials, mollusk shell, the sambaqui people were presented with dilemma of what mate rial should be used in their monument construction and it is this choice that archaeologists bear witness to the dialogue between humans and their environment over time. When a group must negotiate their terms, as in changes in monumental constr uction brought on by lack of preferred materials, archaeologists mu st analyze what the group deemed negotiable and nonnegotiable. Non-negotiables are fundamental to cultural identity, whether it is construction materials or burial customs, an d these non-negotiables are only slowly and grudgingly altered. Within this process a group demonstrates the value they place on different cultural markers through time.


Figure 4-7.Frequency of individual species and fish bone within the layers of Profile 1.40. The graphs labeled Figures 4-2 through 4-7 demonstrate a steady trend towards higher percentages of fish bone in the laye rs of Jab II. Why fish bone? As a construction material, it does not offer the same level of durability found in mollusk shells. Perhaps fish are representativ e of both food and the ocean like mollusks; therefore the use of fish bone may have fulfill ed a symbolic or ritual requirement in the construction of sambaquis. Thus, it is in recognizing the options that were present and the choices made that we move beyond cons truction material percentages and begin to understand the value system of a people. Furthermore, t he location of sambaquis seems to be non-negotiable. As the habitats desired for sambaqui construction (e.g., mangrove, lagoons) migrated so too, did the sambaquis asso ciated with them. Kneip (2004) argues that stranded sambaquis, or thos e sambaquis that are as much as 10 km inland today, were once associated wit h open bays but these shell mounds were abandoned when they became disconnected from the bay. Kneip (2004) postulates 49


that the shrinking of bays is due to the gradual lowering of the sea level, however, as discussed above, sea level in this regi on remains a point of contention among geologists. I must admit that more detailed data is needed on the fish species represented in the category of secondary species. Of course, unlike mollusks fish are extremely mobile creatures and are, therefore, able to readily respond to unfavorable conditions by moving to a different location. Howe ver, knowing the te mperature and salinity requirements of the fish in the secondar y category would serve to flesh out any argument for the presence of EN and its consequences. Regardless of whether these monuments were sites of funerary ritual or simply built to get a better view of the landsc ape there is a rhyme and reason to their construction, and it is in these patterns that archaeologists can hope to understand a people almost completely lost to time. The descendants of the sa mbaqui people seem to have migrated or been absorbed by the aggr essive Tupi-Guarani tribes that would later mark the surfaces of sambaquis with their ceramic technology. Thus, we have no contemporary group which can be used as an ethnographic anc hor, but that method has inherent problems anyway (e.g., navigating t he effects of colonialism). Rather than searching for why the sambaquis were built, I propose that we focus on how and in what context they were built, because while being a proxy for paleoclimate they also offer cultural deep time, or the opportunity to analyze fundamental changes in culture over thousands of years and the environmental changes that may have brought on those alterations. 50


It is not my intent to argue that El Nio brought about the end of tradition spanning thousands of years; that noti on is far too simplistic to even be considered. Rather, EN acted as a recurring force that changed t he choices the sambaqui people had before them, and archaeologists can see and quantify the choices they made we are privy to the dialogue between humans and their envir onment which is preserved on a cultural landscape. Future Research Sambaqui research has been restricted to studying profiles and trenches exposed due the mining of shell during the colonial peri od. As limited as this method is it has yielded a great deal of data. Therefore, more intensive excavation over a larger area certainly holds incredible promis e. A large scale excavation of the burial areas in Jab II is planned, but funding has put this projec t on hold indefinitely. As mentioned above, research must move off the sambaqui if archaeologists are to understand how these sites relate to one another and to the communiti es that built them. Of course, the work of those archaeologists engaging in interdiscipl inary research is addressing the complex relationship between a community and their environment and the resulting landscape. The remnants of the rich lives of the sam baqui people are currently confined to huge shell mounds that offer cryptic responses to our questions, but, perhaps we have not been asking the right questions. 51


CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSION The effects of El Nio, a phase of t he Southern Oscillation are felt throughout South America. Although the effects of paleoclimate fluctuations, such as El Nios, on the development of monumental architecture have been studi ed in great detail in Peru, archaeologists in Brazil have focused on the overwhelming need to map sambaqui sites; these monuments have systematically been destroyed since the colonial period as a result of shell mining to make lime, roads, and buildings. Recent efforts by archaeologists working with the sambaquis have been increasingly interdisciplinary in nature and the environmental c ontext of sambaqui construction is enjoying the greatest interest. Therefore, this paper applies the Peruvian model to the sambaquis of Brazil in order answer what effects El Nio had on the construction of sambaquis and what interpretations can be made from the changes in construction techniques. Changes in water temperatur e and salinity levels along the coast of Brazil occur during El Nio events, and these fluctuations affect the mollusk po pulations upon which the sambaqui peopled relied for t he construction of their sambaquis. Building materials, such as A. brasiliana which may or may not have had symbolic value, were sought out over thousands of years for the constructi on of sambaquis. However, around 2000 BP this and other popular mollusk species were supplemented with fillers such as sediment and fish bone. Using the work of Klkler (2000), I examined changes in the proportion of primary and seco ndary building materials as well as the frequency of individual species within those categories within the layers of three profiles of Jaboticabeira II. Mollusk species respond differently to changes in temperature and salinity, with some species being better adapted than others to sudden fluctuations. 52


53 These changes were correlated with the reversal of long-shore transport; high salinity levels in a sediment core from Brejo do Espinho, and the decline of mangrove in Cabo Frio and offer evidence of an El Nio aroun d 2000 BP. Therefore, El Nio events affected the construction of sambaquis by limiting or eliminating the preferred building material. Thus, interpretations can be m ade based on the materials used to replace the preferred mollusk species. For exampl e, fish bone was increasingly used as a supplementary building material despite the fa ct that fish bone differs greatly from shell in terms of compaction and rate of degradation. Therefore, it c an be argued that the building materials were not chosen based on their durability and/or build-ability. However, more detailed data is needed on the fish species of the secondary category and their habitat requirements before st rong interpretations can be made. Once archaeologists have grasped the variables (e.g., El Nio, sea level fluctuations, in-filling of bays) surrounding the building of these monuments the next step is to establish patterns of regional variation among sites. In order to so, however, intensive and large scale excavation must take place on sambaquis and the areas adjacent to the monum ents. Future work will focus on the large scale excavation of the burial areas of Jaboticabeira II.


54 Table 4-1. Minimum and maximum critical temperature and salinity levels for spec ies found at Jaboticabeira II and the effects of temperature and salin ity on the survival of species found at Jaboticabeira II Species Min. Critical Temp. Min. Critical Salinity Max. Critical Temp. Max. Critical Salinity Bivalvia ( o C) (% o ) ( o C) (% o ) Anomalocardia brasiliana (Gmelin, 1791) No Data 17% No Data 42.5% Perna perna (Linn, 1758) 10 15% 35 55% Lucina pectinata (Bruguiere, 1797) No Data No Data No Data No Data Brachidontes sp. (Swainson, 1840) No Data 14.1% No Data 35.2% Donax sp. (Hanley, 1843) 20 8% No Data No Data Cyrtopleura costata < 15 15% 35 30% Marine Gastropods ( o C) (% o ) ( o C) (% o ) Thais haemastoma 15 15% 30 35% Nassarius vibex No Data 10% 31 No Data


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kiristen Bright received her B. A. in anthropology from the University of Kentucky in 2006. Upon completion of her undergraduate work she pursued a masters degree in anthropology from the University of Florida and received her M.A. in the spring of 2010. Her work has focused primarily on the archaeol ogy of prehistoric ritual landscapes. She plans to continue her graduate work in archaeology. 60