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Pre-Columbian Amazon-Scale Transformations

Objective

"The protection of rainforests and the development of sustainable land-use practices in the humid tropics are of global significance because these forests represent a major reservoir of biodiversity and are of crucial importance for the regulation of Earth’s climate. A sound understanding of the historical role of humans in shaping Amazonian landscapes and to what extent Amazonian forests were resilient to historical disturbance is critical to make informed policy decisions about sustainable Amazonian futures. However, the nature and scale of pre-Columbian land use and its modern legacy on Amazonian landscapes are among the most debated topics in New World archaeology, palaeoecology and conservation. To resolve this debate, this project will investigate the influence of the late pre-Columbian (1000-1492 A.D.) land use on Amazonian landscapes, the impact of the 1492 Columbian Encounter (CE) and its modern legacy through the comparative study of pre-Columbian land uses in four different regions of Amazonia. It will apply, for the first time, an innovative interdisciplinary approach that integrates archaeology, ethnohistory, archaeobotany, paleoecology, soil science, landscape ecology and remote sensing (including the novel application of LIDAR survey) to the following study regions: (1) the Santarem Amazonian Dark Earth sites in the Lower Amazon, (2) the interfluvial areas of the Purus-Madeira Rivers in the Central Amazon, (3) the Acre geoglyphs of SW Amazonia and (4) the ring-ditches of the Baures forested areas of the Bolivian Amazon. The results of the project have broader implications not only for archaeology and geography but for conservation and sustainable Amazonian futures."

Field of science

  • /humanities/history and archaeology/archaeology
  • /social sciences/economics and business/economics/sustainable economy
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/soil science
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/palaeontology/paleoecology
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/remote sensing
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/soil science/land-based treatment
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/botany
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology/landscape ecology

Call for proposal

ERC-2013-CoG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-CG - ERC Consolidator Grants

Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Address
The Queen's Drive Northcote House
EX4 4QJ Exeter
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 723 005
Principal investigator
Jose Antonio Iriarte Mugica (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Gaynor Hughes (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (1)

THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 723 005
Address
The Queen's Drive Northcote House
EX4 4QJ Exeter
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Jose Antonio Iriarte Mugica (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Gaynor Hughes (Ms.)