Understanding the Chronology and Occupation Dynamics of Oversized Pit Houses in the Southern Brazilian Highlands
Gregorio de Souza, J
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© 2016 Gregorio de Souza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
A long held view about the occupation of southern proto-Jê pit house villages of the southern Brazilian highlands is that these sites represent cycles of long-term abandonment and reoccupation. However, this assumption is based on an insufficient number of radiocarbon dates for individual pit houses. To address this problem, we conducted a programme of comprehensive AMS radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling at the deeply stratified oversized pit House 1, Baggio I site (Cal. A.D. 1395-1650), Campo Belo do Sul, Santa Catarina state, Brazil. The stratigraphy of House 1 revealed an unparalleled sequence of twelve well preserved floors evidencing a major change in occupation dynamics including five completely burnt collapsed roofs. The results of the radiocarbon dating allowed us to understand for the first time the occupation dynamics of an oversized pit house in the southern Brazilian highlands. The Bayesian model demonstrates that House 1 was occupied for over two centuries with no evidence of major periods of abandonment, calling into question previous models of long-term abandonment. In addition, the House 1 sequence allowed us to tie transformations in ceramic style and lithic technology to an absolute chronology. Finally, we can provide new evidence that the emergence of oversized domestic structures is a relatively recent phenomenon among the southern proto-Jê. As monumental pit houses start to be built, small pit houses continue to be inhabited, evidencing emerging disparities in domestic architecture after AD 1000. Our research shows the importance of programmes of intensive dating of individual structures to understand occupation dynamics and site permanence, and challenges long held assumptions that the southern Brazilian highlands were home to marginal cultures in the context of lowland South America.
JGD was funded by a Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant entitled ‘House Architecture and Community Organization: Exploring Alternative Pathways to Complexity in the Southern Brazilian Highlands’ (Gr. 9042) (http://www.wennergren.org/grantees/gregorio-de-souza-jonas). This paper was developed in the context of project ‘Jê Landscapes of southern Brazil: Ecology, History and Power in a Transitional Landscape during the Late Holocene’ funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AH/K004212/1) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (12/51328-3)(http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/projects?ref=AH/K004212/1) granted to JI, FM and PD.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Public Library of Science via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 11 (7), article e0158127
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