Archaeology Field School

  • View
    26

  • Download
    1

Embed Size (px)

Text of Archaeology Field School

#590015581! !

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

Monday, 9 January 2012

F I ELD - SCHOOL REPORTInvestigating Monumental Earthworks In The Southern Brazilian Highlands

Source: Martin (2011). Campbell Martin Monday, 9 January 2012

!

1/16

#590015581! !

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

Monday, 9 January 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTSBackground To Research!History of Research! Location!

33 3

Aims!Understand the Chronology and Nature of the Site! Surveying!

66 7

Preliminary Findings!Dugout Structures! Individual Finds!Lithic and Ceramic Fragments! Hand Axe! Circular Imprint! Plate!

1010 1010 11 11 12

Stone Clusters! Core Samples!

12 13

In Its Wider Context!Spatial Analysis! Plans For The Future!

1414 15

Bibliography!

16

!

2/16

#590015581! !

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

Monday, 9 January 2012

BACKG RO U ND TO RESEARCHThe Site And Its Historical Setting

History of ResearchThe history of archaeological research in Brazil is a complex and controversial one. Early archaeology in Brazil was conducted almost exclusively by untrained enthusiasts, however this changed from 1955 through to 1985 with a huge increase in funding and development of the academic infrastructure. It should be noted that the later part of this period saw the arrival of salvage archaeology, an expanding interest in the J language culture and the archaeological traditions associated with it (Meggers. 1985). Although archaeologists working during this time have been criticized for working with a military regime (Funari. 2002) and relying on the suppositional premise of articial separation (Noelli. 2005), it is seen as a golden age for archaeology which paved the way for future development (Delle et al. 2003). ! In July of 2001, Energtica Barra Grande S.A. (BAESA) began construction on the Barra Grande Hydroelectric Power Station on the Pelotas River between the municipalities of Anita Garibaldi and Pinhal Da Serra (Alcoa. 2012). As a result, a program of salvage archaeology was commissioned between 2001 and 2003 to nd archaeological sites that could be aected by the Barra Grande. Under the direction of Dr. Silvia Cop, the study managed to survey 528km2 which resulted in the discovery and mapping of 104 archaeological sites of the Taquara/Itarar tradition (Cop. 2007, p16-17). Cops ndings paved the way for more detailed research to take place, focusing on specic sites and dened topic areas. The subsequent research greatly furthered our understanding of many aspects of the Taquara/Itarar tradition. ! In 2009, a group led by Dr. Jos Iriarte surveyed several sites and partially excavated Posto Fiscal. In 2010, Iriarte was given funding by the Wenner-Gren Foundation to aid co$aborative research on 'Sacred Places and Funerary Rites: The Longue Dure of Southern J Monumental Landscapes' (Wenner-Gren. 2010) and in 2011 another group led by Dr. Iriarte revisited Pinhal De Serra in order to continue work into the burial practices of the Taquara/ Itarar. They resumed excavation and surveyed sites to further increase the understanding and contextualization of the Taquara/Itarar tradition and its environment.

LocationPosto Fiscal is located near the small town of Pinhal Da Serra in Rio Grande Do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil (Fig. 1). Like most of the Brazilian Highlands, the area we were studying is strongly associated with the J languages, a language group that until recently was spoken by the aboriginal people. The J language has three subcategories, the Northwest J, Central J and the Southern J also known as Kaingang (Davis. 1968). The Kaingang is the ! 3/16

#590015581! !

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

Monday, 9 January 2012

name given to the native tribes of So Paulo, Paran, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande Do Sul who are linguistically and culturally related to one another (Mtraux. 1946. p445). Rich ethnographies of the Kaingang recorded by Jesuit missionaries and anthropologists give detailed insights into many aspects of the culture which can be used to draw parallels to archaeological traditions.

Figure 1. Map showing the municipality of Pinhal Da Serra (highlighted in green), within the state of Rio Grande Do Sul. Inset shows the location of Rio Grande Do Sul (highlighted in red) within Brazil. Modied &om Wikipedia (2011a).

!

4/16

#590015581! !

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

Monday, 9 January 2012

! The exact history of the J language is heavily debated however the territory held by the Kaingang compared to the archaeological culture of the Taquara/Itarar (Fig. 2), suggest that there must be a connection between the two (de Souza. 2011). The Taquara/Itarar is a pre-colonial tradition dating from 220BC and characterized by its distinctive ceramic style, pit house complexes, use of Araucaria, monumental enclosures and ring-mound burials (Iriarte, Gillam and Marozzi. 2008). ! Research by Iriarte and Behling (2007) suggest that climatic changes peaking in Rio Grande Do Sul by 900 cal. yr. BP had a great impact on the Taquara/Itarar people. This is evidenced by the strong correlation between changes in climate and increases in permanent Taquara/Itarar settlements and the development of the ceramic tradition. The change towards a wetter climate allowed the Araucaria Angustifolia to thrive and forming large Araucaria forests. Pollen analysis shows a huge increase in Araucaria pollen between 1100 and 430 cal. yr. BP from 39% to 80% (ibid). The increase in Araucaria not only oered shelter from the elements for the Taquara/Itarar, it also provided a valuable new resource in its seeds. These seeds were a major element in the diet of the Taquara/Itarar which can be seen in both the ethnographic and archaeological record. Cop (2007) records charred seeds at site RS-AN-03 suggesting that they would have been roasted before consumption. This can be related to Mtrauxs (1946) account of the preparation of the seed in the Kaingang culture who also are described roasting the seed in the embers of a re further connecting the two traditions.

! ! Figure 2. This map shows the estimated extent of the J language in the past (shown in blue) in comparison with the modern Kaingang language (shown in yellow), both overlaid onto a map showing the territory of the Taquara/Itarar tradition. Source: modied &om De Souza. (2011), with J language data &om Wikipedia (2011b) and Kaingang language data &om Gippert (1993). ! 5/16

#590015581! !

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

Monday, 9 January 2012

AIMSTowards A Holistic Understanding

ng

Understand the Chronology and Nature of the SiteThe Taquara/Itarar tradition is associated with 5 main types of archaeological sites, these are casas subterrneas, abrigos com sepultamentos, reas com cermica dispersa, reas entaipadas e reas com montculos (Beber. 2004. p26). Posto Fiscal consists of three circular ring-mound enclosures, the middle of which has had a rectangular extension added to its eastern side some time in its history, these ring mound structures are thought to be burial monuments. They sit on top of a hill at an approximate elevation of 920 meters and the whole site spans approximately 135 meters. The site is currently hidden in woodland, however the trees have been planted by the land owner and do not reect the environment of the time. It is likely that an Araucaria forest would have been on the hilltop leaving the site prominently visible. ! Although most earthworks associated with the Taquara/Itarar are simple circular rings with one central mound, such as those shouldering the keyhole earthwork at Posto Fiscal or SC-AG-98 (Iriarte, Gillam and Marozzi. 2008), sites with later additions and annexes have been recorded. A site which holds a striking resemblance to Posto Fiscal is the Esmeralda site RSPE-31 (Fig. 3), the oldest structure is the small circular burial ring, later a larger ring-mound was added and nally a rectangular annex with a burial mound. The layout of Posto Fiscal suggests at least 3 phases of construction (Fig. 4), however it is likely that, similar to RS-PE-31, the two smaller rings are older therefore making 5 phases of construction likely. Mound B was the focus for the excavation and the main aim was to understand how it was built and for what reason. Its location within the ring structure is interesting as the mound falls in line with the ring of the original structure. This could go some way to explaining why it is so much more pronounced than the other mounds as the builders must have attened the ring and so would have had access to much more soil material. To understand the Figure 3. Ring-mound structure of RS-PE-31, structure better we continued and expanded the original Emeralda. An example of a keyhole excavation area. site similar to Posto Fiscal. Source: modied &om Iriarte, Gi$am and Marozzi (2008. Figure. 2). ! 6/16

#590015581! !

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

Monday, 9 January 2012

! Using a box-grid method of excavation we recorded nds in articial 5cm layers which revealed several post holes and three large dugout pits which are discussed later. When the mound had been fully excavated, changes in stratigraphy seemed to suggest several dierent layers of very dierent soil had been used in the construction. This could suggest that the site was revisited many times with layers representing structural repair or maintenance. On the other hand the layers could have all been laid down during