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9314 - Arawakan Ritual-Political Landscapes

This paper compares the built environment and domesticated landscapes of Arawakan speaking groups across Amazonia and the Caribbean. It focuses on production landscapes associated with staple crop farming and settled community life. In particular, it focuses on the organization of the ritual and politicakl landscape in terms of settlement spatial organization, notably central public spaces, regional integration of local communities, and sacred landscapes. It uses several case studies, which integrate archaeological, historical and ethnographic data, to document that Arawakan groups have distinctive patterns of built environment and landscape that, while not exclusive to these groups, are most commonly anbd characteristically found among Arawakan speakers. Field studies that are the focus include: the southern Amazon (Xingu, Bolivia, Acre), the central Amazon, northern Amazonia (Guianas, Orinoco), and the Caribbean. These document a variety of historical trajectories and in all cases the development of regional, hierarchical societies by 1492. The paper concludes by situating the Arawakan speaking peoples in Amazonian ethnology and world historical frameworks.

Keywords: Amazonia, Arawakan speakers, built environment, landscape, socio-political complexity

Author: Heckenberger, Michael (University of Florida, Ud States of Am / USA)

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