How Old is the Anthropocene in Southwestern Amazonia?


Thursday, November 5, 2020, 12:00pm to 1:30pm

This event is virtual. To register, click here.

Speaker: Eduardo Neves, Professor of Brazilian Archaeology, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Southwestern Amazonia is an independent center of plant domestication and early ceramic production in the New World. It is also an area where a tradition of artificial mound building by Indigenous people started in the Early Holocene and lasted until a few years ago. These practices have left a noticeable mark on contemporary landscapes in the area, but they never led to the emergence of the state nor to the total replacement of non-domesticated plants in local Indigenous economies. The talk will show how the understanding of the deep history of landscape creation by Indigenous people in SW Amazonia may present different conceptual perspectives for archaeology. It will also show the major contrast between such millennial scale histories and the current wave of environmental destruction and social violence there.

Eduardo Neves is Professor of Brazilian Archaeology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Since the 1990s he has worked in different areas of the Brazilian Amazon aiming to align archaeology with Indigenous and environmental history. He is currently co-leading with Prof Francis Mayle, a paleoecologist from Reading University, UK, an international project on the landscape history of Southwestern Amazon in Bolivia and Brazil. He was a visiting professor at the Department of Anthropology at Harvard in 2016/17 and received a research award by the Shanghai Archaeological Forum in 2019. 

Organized by the Standing Committee on Archaeology Harvard University