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Explore my blog for insightful articles, personal reflections and ideas that inspire action on the topics I care about.

Anthropic forests of Acre

Anthropic forest in Acre: Forest inventory atop the geoglyph Tres Vertentes, Acrelandia. William Balee, Denise Schaan, James Andrew Whitaker and Rosangela Holanda

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Predicting Amazonian Dark Earths

The recent paper by McMichael et al. on the Proccedings of the Royal Society estimates the potential area of ‘Terras Pretas do Indio’ in Amazonia. Go to the paper.

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Drained-field maize agriculture in the Monumental Mound Region of the Llanos de Moxos did not significantly changed forest cover

The multi-proxy research combining pollen, phytoliths and charcoal analyses from a Late Holocene core from Laguna San Jose has shown that the pre-Columbian groups that build massive habitation mounds in SE Moxos practice maize agriculture. In this area with relatively fertile soil that is criss crossed by more than 700 km of causeways and canals, they most probably practiced drained-field agriculture. Surprisingly our study revealed that they did not significantly altered the cover of forest at the landscape level. Our study also documented a major change in land use, marked by a share decline in charcoal, just 100 years before the arrival of Europeans in the New World.

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Neotropical ecosystems can be tell apart by their phytoliths assemblages

In their new article ‘Differentiation of neotropical ecosystems by modern soil phytolith assemblages and its implications for palaeoenvironmental and archaeological reconstructions’ Dickau et al. proved that Neotropical ecosystems, ranging from terra firme humid evergreen forest to seasonally-inundated savannahs in the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, can be distinguished by their phytoliths assemblages.

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Study shows diversity of cultivars in the southern Brazilian highlands

Archaeobotancial analysis of starch residue extracted from from cooking pots laying over an earth oven on a pit house in the Urubici region of the southern Brazilian highlands reveals the diversity of cultivars consumed by the southern proto-Je including maize, manioc and squash. The study was carried out at the Archaeobotany Laboratory at University of Exeter by Dr. Rafael Corteletti (CAPES- USP-University of Exeter).

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Work groups

University of Exeter
HumAnE Bioarchaeology