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872 - Ethnohistory of the Guaporé-Mamoré region

18.07.2012 | 08:00 - 13:30

Convener 1: van der Voort, Hein (Museu Goeldi , Amsterdam, (Netherlands / Niederlande))
Convener 2: Crevels, Mily (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Amstelveen, Netherlands / Niederlande)

The Guaporé and Mamoré are two great rivers of Southwestern Amazonia that belong to the upper Madeira River basin. The Guaporé (or Iténez) River forms the border between the Brazilian state of Rondonia and the Bolivian departments of Santa Cruz and Beni. The Guaporé-Mamoré region is one of the world’s linguistically most diverse regions, with over 50 languages representing 8 different stocks and some 10 genetic isolates. Even though these languages diverge enormously at the lexical level, they share certain structural features. At the moment, various linguists are attempting to unravel the relationships between these languages and relationships that may exist with languages outside of the region.

The G-M region has also been attracting the attention of archaeologists. As a consequence of large modern hydroelectric projects in the Brazilian part, archaeologists have unearthed sites that date back over 10.000 years. On the basis of the concentration of the internal diversity of certain language families (e.g. the Tupi languages) one can conclude that the ancestral language (estimated time depth 5.000 years) originates from the region. This has been feeding the debate on the connection between language groups and datable ceramic finds.

Whereas the prehistoric indigenous societies in the Brazilian part were probably rather small and egalitarian, in the Bolivian part of the region archaeologists have discovered huge earthworks that must have been built by large and well-organised prehispanic societies. Even though anthropologists consider the Guaporé River as a barrier between the Guaporé, the Moxo and the Chiquito culture areas, there are both linguistic and archaeological indications that earlier contacts existed between these areas.

According to ethnobotanists the G-M region is the earliest centre of domestication of manioc, and is close to areas that may contain the origins of peach palm, Capsicum hot pepper, annatto and other native Amazonian crops. Human geneticists have been collecting preliminary evidence that the G-M region must have been one of the oldest regions of Amazonian human genetic diversification.

The G-M region has attracted the attention of relatively few ethnographers. Both in Austria and in other European countries, archives still possess unstudied manuscripts of early ethnographers, such as Becker-Donner, Caspar, Hanke, Nordenskiöld, Snethlage, who visited the region and sometimes were the first westerners to meet certain indigenous groups. Recent ethnographic research shows that such documents are extremely valuable in the reconstruction and revitalization of the region’s lost cultures. The G-M region is a key region in the population history of South America in various respects. This interdisciplinary symposium is intended to bring together researchers from different disciplines and persuasions to discuss and coordinate research strategies to further our understanding of this fascinating region and its adjacent areas.

Keywords: Guaporé-Mamoré region, linguistic diversity, archeology, ethnography, genetics

Title Author Country Co-Author
3500 - Excavaciones en sitios con zanjas de la región del Iténez, Bolivia Prümers, Heiko Germany / Deutschland
3652 - Las colecciones cerámicas de Erland von Nordenskiöld del río Guaporé y afluentes Carla, Jaimes Betancourt Germany / Deutschland
7231 - Modeling the origin and dynamics of dispersion of Tupi-speaking populations based on genetic data Santos, Eduardo Brazil / Brasilien Farias Guerreiro, João; Nunes, Kelly; Thomaz Maia, Maria Helena; Meyer, Diogo (Brazil / Brasilien)
7280 - Lexical reflections of genetic and areal relationships in the Guaporé-Mamoré region Crevels, Mily Netherlands / Niederlande Hein van der Voort
7528 - Los Sirionoides : una historia, varias etnogénesis JABIN, David France / Frankreich
7774 - Ethnohistory and the current situation of the languages of the Terra Indígena Guaporé Moore, Denny Brazil / Brasilien
8435 - From the Jaguar's Fire: Stone Axes, Agriculture and Anthropophagy in Indigenous Histories of Western Rondônia, Brazil Conklin, Beth Ud States of Am / USA
10723 - Crop domestication in the upper Madeira River basin Clement, Charles Brazil / Brasilien Doriane Picanço Rodrigues, Alessandro Alves-Pereira, Gilda Santos Mühlen, Michelly de Cristo-Araújo, Priscila Ambrósio Moreira, Juliana Lins, Joana A. Maia Salomão, and Vanessa Maciel Reis
11027 - AMAZONIAN ANTHROPOGENIC SOILS' ANTIQUITY AT UPPER RIO MADEIRA - NORTHWESTERN AMAZON, AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE COLONIZATION OF SOUTH AMERICAN NEOTROPICS Kipnis, Renato Brazil / Brasilien

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