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Adding Fuel to the Fire: An Ethnoarchaeological study of Fire in the Amazon

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Caroline Fernandes Caromano
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Rui Sergio Sereni Murrieta; Marcia Bezerra de Almeida; Mariana Petry Cabral; Eduardo Goes Neves; Fabiola Andrea Silva
Advisor: Rui Sergio Sereni Murrieta

Evidences of the use of fire are almost omnipresent in archaeological sites. Even though it is such a common element, there are few cases in which fire is the main study object of researches. With this contradiction in mind, this PhD dissertation presents the result of an archaeology of fire conducted amongst the Asurini of the Xingu River, an indigenous Amazonian group which inhabits the Koatinemo Indigenous Land, located in the region of the middle course of the Xingu River, state of Pará, Brazil. The objective of the field research was to document technical and symbolic aspects of fire use in the daily life of the Asurini, identifying and classifying types of combustion structure and the employment of fire in different activity areas, from hearths and ovens up to the planting fields. Information collected in the field was analyzed based on literature regarding the Asurini and complemented with laboratory analyses, comparing the temperature data obtained with infrared thermometer with analyses of FTIR spectroscopy conducted on hearth and oven sediments. Besides the observation and documentation of burning practices, interviews were also conducted with the Asurini on questions related to fire use, seeking to understand its functional, social and symbolic roles for this group. Lastly, the research had the intention of demonstrating how the understanding of fire as material culture can amplify the possibilities of its investigation in the present, also serving as an interpretative source of fire in the archaeological record. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 13/22372-7 - Fire as material culture: ethnoarchaeology in the Negro River, northwest of Amazonia
Grantee:Caroline Fernandes Caromano
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate