Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Talk by LAL Greenleaf Fellow Denise Schaan

February 25th, 2010
3:00 PM

Location
Seminar Room
Latin American Library
4th Floor Howard-Tilton Memorial Library
Tulane University

Please join us for a talk by LAL Greenleaf Fellow Denise Schaan, who will be speaking on Geoglyphs: Geometric Earthworks of Pre-Columbian Western Amazonia. The talk will be at 3pm on Thursday, February 25 in the Latin American Library seminar room (4th floor Howard-Tilton Memorial Library); refreshments will follow. The talk will be in English.

Abstract: Indigenous groups who lived between 2,000 and 1,300 years ago in Amazonia built impressive geometric earthworks across a region roughly 60,000 km², that encompasses the western Brazilian state of Acre, south of the state of Amazonas, and northern Bolivia. These enormous earthworks (which reach diameters of up to 380 meters) were only revealed to Western eyes as deforestation advanced across the region. Denise Schaan has been studying the geometric enclosures with colleagues from Brazil and Finland during the last 5 years, locating more than 250 of such structures, which have impressed scholars working in the region, long thought to be unsuited for permanent settlements. As a Greenleaf fellow at the Latin American Library, Schaan has been looking for clues on why indigenous groups in that region would have built such structures, and she will discuss new findings.

DENISE PAHL SCHAAN is an Associate Professor of Archaeology at the Universidade Federal do Pará, in Belém, Pará, Brazil, specializing in the archaeology of the Amazon Basin. She is currently President of the Sociedade de Arqueologia Brasileira, and editor of the prestigious journal Amazônica: Revista de Antropologia. Dr. Schaan has published extensively on ancient Amazonia, particularly on the iconography of Marajoara pottery and society which flourished between 600 and 1600 AD on Marajó Island at the mouth of the Amazon River. She has also worked on gender in Ancient Amazonia. Her publications include two forthcoming monographs, Sacred Geographies of Ancient Amazonia (Left Coast Press); and Cultura Marajoara/Marajoara Culture. At the LAL, Dr. Schaan will develop a project based on her groundbreaking finds and interpretations of enormous, ancient geometric earthworks in the Western Amazon, near the Bolivian border, which have garnered international attention.

Photo by PhD student Camila Pavanelli, Department of Spanish & Portuguese

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