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Body and identity in ancient Amazonia: a comparative study of ceramic figurines

Grant number: 11/10035-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2011
Effective date (End): August 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Archeology - Prehistoric Archaeology
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Góes Neves
Grantee:Cristiana Nunes Galvao de Barros Barreto
Host Institution: Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This research project explores the topic of embodyment and body representation among precolonial indigenous societies of Amazonia. The central idea is to search for patterns of variation in the representation of bodies within archaeological materials in order to infer the origines and the cultural identities related to the distinct ceramic complexes which co-existed in the Amazon just before the European conquest. The project is a pilot study organized around two assemblages of ceramic figurines which belong to the Tapajonic and Marajoara collections of the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at USP. The high rate of whole artifacts in these collections enable a complete reconstruction of the stylistic project of such figurines and the different models of body representation. Theoretically, this project followns within the research lines established by Rosemary Joyce called "archaeology of the body" which focus on the different ways people build, represent, transform and discard bodies in order to arrive at concepts of identity and sociability for past societies. Methodologically, this project is inspired in the many analysis produced for figurines in other areas of the Precolumbian Americas. This project will result in two documented catalogues of Tapajonic and Marajoara figurines, and in the establishment of parameters of identity and alterity expressed in ceramic representations of the body in ancient Amazonia. (AU)

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