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Was there ever a Neolithic in the Neotropics? Plant familiarisation and biodiversity in the Amazon

  • Carlos Fausto (a1) and Eduardo G. Neves (a2)

The Amazon is one of the few independent centres of plant domestication in the world, yet archaeological and ethnographic evidence suggest a relatively recent transition to agriculture there. In order to make sense of this time lag, the authors propose the use of the concept of ‘familiarisation’ instead of ‘domestication’, to explain Amazonian plant management, and the long-term relationship between plants and people in the region. This concept allows them to cast a fresh eye over ancient and contemporary patterns of plant cultivation and management that may be distinct to the ones described for the Old World.

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