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Early Holocene ritual complexity in South America: the archaeological record of Lapa do Santo (east-central Brazil)

  • André Strauss (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Rodrigo Elias Oliveira (a3) (a5), Ximena S. Villagran (a6), Danilo V. Bernardo (a7), Domingo C. Salazar-García (a1) (a8) (a9) (a10), Marcos César Bissaro (a11), Francisco Pugliese (a6), Tiago Hermenegildo (a12), Rafael Santos (a13), Alberto Barioni (a3) (a14), Emiliano Castro de Oliveira (a3) (a15), João Carlos Moreno de Sousa (a16), Klervia Jaouen (a1), Max Ernani (a3), Mark Hubbe (a17) (a18), Mariana Inglez (a3), Marina Gratão (a3), H. Rockwell (a19), Márcia Machado (a20), Gustavo de Souza (a21), Farid Chemale (a22), Koji Kawashita (a23), Tamsin C. O'Connell (a12), Isabel Israde (a24), James Feathers (a25), Claudio Campi (a26), Michael Richards (a1), Joachim Wahl (a2) (a27), Renato Kipnis (a3), Astolfo Araujo (a6) and Walter Neves (a3)...

Early Archaic human skeletal remains found in a burial context in Lapa do Santo in east-central Brazil provide a rare glimpse into the lives of hunter-gatherer communities in South America, including their rituals for dealing with the dead. These included the reduction of the body by means of mutilation, defleshing, tooth removal, exposure to fire and possibly cannibalism, followed by the secondary burial of the remains according to strict rules. In a later period, pits were filled with disarticulated bones of a single individual without signs of body manipulation, demonstrating that the region was inhabited by dynamic groups in constant transformation over a period of centuries.

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J. Brown 2010. Cosmological layouts of secondary burial as political instruments, in L.P. Sullivan & R.C. Mainfort (ed.) Mississippian mortuary practices: beyond hierarchy and the representationist perspective: 3053. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

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A. Kroeber 1927. Disposal of the dead. American Anthropologist 29: 308–15.

J. Littleton & H. Allen . 2007. Hunter-gatherer burials and the creation of persistent places in southeastern Australia. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26: 283–98.

D. Maybury-Lewis 1979. Dialectical societies: the Gê and Bororo of central Brazil. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.

M. Okumura & A.G.M. Araujo . 2014. Long-term cultural stability in hunter-gatherers. Journal of Archaeological Science 45: 5971.

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J.R. Sofaer 2006. The body as material culture: a theoretical osteoarchaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

A.M. Strauss , R. Oliveira , D.V. Bernardo , D.C. Salazar-García , S. Talamo , K. Jaouen , M. Hubbe , S. Black , C. Wilkinson , M.P. Richards , A.G.M. Araujo , R. Kipnis & W.A. Neves . 2015. The oldest case of decapitation in the New World (Lapa do Santo, east-central Brazil). PLoS ONE 10: e0137456.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
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