Food for Body and Soul: Mortuary Ritual in Shell Mounds (Laguna - Brazil)

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/193697
Title:
Food for Body and Soul: Mortuary Ritual in Shell Mounds (Laguna - Brazil)
Author:
Klokler, Daniela
Issue Date:
2008
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Large, conical mounds known as sambaquis form the contours of prehistoric settlement, resource procurement, and ritual along the southern coast of Brazil. This research examines faunal remains from Jabuticabeira II, a large shell mound exclusively used as a cemetery for approximately 1000 years (between 2500 - 1400 BP). Its complex stratigraphy alternates between dark burial deposits and light, thick layers of shells. Various groups used neighboring burial areas simultaneously, and faunal analysis of these burial deposits suggests that animals, especially fish, played an integral role in feasts performed to honor the dead.Detailed investigation of feast remains from 12 funerary areas indicates recurrent use of the same resources during the events, especially catfish and whitemouth croaker. Mammals and birds were also part of the ritual and were deposited in association with burial pits, especially during the final episode of construction. The remains of feasts were then used to fill the funerary areas and demarcate the domain of the dead. Recurrent depositional episodes of massive amounts of shell valves eventually formed a large mound, and the building materials were carefully selected to emphasize the opposition between interment areas and covering layers.The results primarily indicate strong continuity in the feasts. A dramatic shift in the materials used to build the mound during the final period of its construction does not coincide with a change in the faunal assemblage. Examination of Brazilian ethnography sheds light on several aspects of mortuary ritual and explains the association of features discovered at the site. Feasts incorporated resources accessible to all group members, and reinforced the connection of groups with estuarine landscape. The identification of bounded deposits that can be assigned to specific affinity groups allows studies of the nature of social relationships. This permitted the development of a sampling strategy that targeted social units, a breakthrough approach. The unique access to affinity groups can answer questions about the behavior of these social units and the association of their members.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Zooarchaeology; Kitchen midden; Ritual; Brazil; Sambaqui; Archaeology
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Anthropology; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Fish, Suzanne K
Committee Chair:
Fish, Suzanne K

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleFood for Body and Soul: Mortuary Ritual in Shell Mounds (Laguna - Brazil)en_US
dc.creatorKlokler, Danielaen_US
dc.contributor.authorKlokler, Danielaen_US
dc.date.issued2008en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractLarge, conical mounds known as sambaquis form the contours of prehistoric settlement, resource procurement, and ritual along the southern coast of Brazil. This research examines faunal remains from Jabuticabeira II, a large shell mound exclusively used as a cemetery for approximately 1000 years (between 2500 - 1400 BP). Its complex stratigraphy alternates between dark burial deposits and light, thick layers of shells. Various groups used neighboring burial areas simultaneously, and faunal analysis of these burial deposits suggests that animals, especially fish, played an integral role in feasts performed to honor the dead.Detailed investigation of feast remains from 12 funerary areas indicates recurrent use of the same resources during the events, especially catfish and whitemouth croaker. Mammals and birds were also part of the ritual and were deposited in association with burial pits, especially during the final episode of construction. The remains of feasts were then used to fill the funerary areas and demarcate the domain of the dead. Recurrent depositional episodes of massive amounts of shell valves eventually formed a large mound, and the building materials were carefully selected to emphasize the opposition between interment areas and covering layers.The results primarily indicate strong continuity in the feasts. A dramatic shift in the materials used to build the mound during the final period of its construction does not coincide with a change in the faunal assemblage. Examination of Brazilian ethnography sheds light on several aspects of mortuary ritual and explains the association of features discovered at the site. Feasts incorporated resources accessible to all group members, and reinforced the connection of groups with estuarine landscape. The identification of bounded deposits that can be assigned to specific affinity groups allows studies of the nature of social relationships. This permitted the development of a sampling strategy that targeted social units, a breakthrough approach. The unique access to affinity groups can answer questions about the behavior of these social units and the association of their members.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectZooarchaeologyen_US
dc.subjectKitchen middenen_US
dc.subjectRitualen_US
dc.subjectBrazilen_US
dc.subjectSambaquien_US
dc.subjectArchaeologyen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropologyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorFish, Suzanne Ken_US
dc.contributor.chairFish, Suzanne Ken_US
dc.contributor.committeememberFish, Paul R.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSchiffer, Michael B.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberPavao-Zuckerman, Barneten_US
dc.identifier.proquest2703en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659749709en_US
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