Jose Iriarte

Jose Iriarte
University of Exeter | UoE · Department of Archaeology

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116
Publications
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Publications

Publications (116)
Article
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The Muaco and Taima-Taima sites, in Falcón State of northwestern Venezuela, are among the earliest sites of human occupation in South America containing artifacts associated with preserved megafaunal remains and dating between 19,810 and 15,780 calybp. Here we report novel visual and CT scanning analysis of six glyptodont skulls of Glyptotherium cf...
Article
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Archaeological remains of agrarian-based, low-density urbananism1–3 have been reported to exist beneath the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka and Central America4–6. However, beyond some large interconnected settlements in southern Amazonia7–9, there has been no such evidence for pre-Hispanic Amazonia. Here we present lidar data of site...
Article
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Megafauna paintings have accompanied the earliest archaeological contexts across the continents, revealing a fundamental inter-relationship between early humans and megafauna during the global human expansion as unfamiliar landscapes were humanized and identities built into new territories. However, the identification of extinct megafauna from rock...
Article
The southwestern Amazon Rainforest Ecotone (ARE) is the transitional landscape between the tropical forest and seasonally flooded savannahs of the Bolivian Llanos de Moxos. These heterogeneous landscapes harbour high levels of biodiversity and some of the earliest records of human occupation and plant domestication in Amazonia. While persistent Ind...
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The role of plants in early human migrations across the globe has received little attention compared to big game hunting. Tropical forests in particular have been seen as a barrier for Late Pleistocene human dispersals due to perceived difficulties in obtaining sufficient subsistence resources. Archaeobotanical data from the Cerro Azul rock outcrop...
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It has been suggested that Iberian arrival in the Americas in 1492 and subsequent dramatic depopulation led to forest regrowth that had global impacts on atmospheric CO2 concentrations and surface temperatures. Despite tropical forests representing the most important terrestrial carbon stock globally, systematic examination of historical afforestat...
Article
During the last two decades, new archaeological projects which systematically integrate a variety of plant recovery techniques, along with palaeoecology, palaeoclimate, soil science and floristic inventories, have started to transform our understanding of plant exploitation, cultivation and domestication in tropical South America. Archaeobotanical...
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Anthropogenic soils known as Amazonian Dark Earths (ADEs) have long been known as a key component of subsistence systems for various pre‐Columbian Amazonian populations. Often treated as a single category, ADE systems consist of two broad anthrosols (human‐modified soils): the darker ADE (traditionally known as terra preta) and a lighter brown Amaz...
Article
During the last two decades, new archaeological projects which systematically integrate a variety of plant recovery techniques, along with palaeoecology, palaeoclimate, soil science and floristic inventories, have started to transform our understanding of plant exploitation, cultivation and domestication in tropical South America. Archaeobotanical...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Amazonian forests predominantly grow on highly weathered and nutrient poor soils. Anthropogenically enriched Amazonian Dark Earths (ADE), traditionally known as Terra Preta de Índio , were formed by pre‐Columbian populations. ADE soils are characterized by increased fertility and have continued to be exploited following European colonization. H...
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The onset of plant cultivation is one of the most important cultural transitions in human history1–4. Southwestern Amazonia has previously been proposed as an early centre of plant domestication, on the basis of molecular markers that show genetic similarities between domesticated plants and wild relatives4–6. However, the nature of the early human...
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Recent research has shown that the entire southern rim of Amazonia was inhabited by earth-building societies involving landscape engineering, landscape domestication and likely low-density urbanism during the Late Holocene. However, the scale, timing, and intensity of human settlement in this region remain unknown due to the dearth of archaeologica...
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Recent research carried out in the Serranía La Lindosa in the Colombian Amazon (Department of Guaviare) provides archaeological evidence of the colonisation of the northwest Colombian Amazon during the Late Pleistocene. Preliminary excavations were conducted at Cerro Azul, Limoncillos and Cerro Montoya archaeological sites in Guaviare Department, C...
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The South American Monsoon System is responsible for the majority of precipitation in the continent, especially over the Amazon and the tropical savannah, known as ‘Cerrado’. Compared to the extensively studied subtropical and temperate regions the effect of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) on the precipitation over the tropics is still poorly un...
Article
Landscape ordering GIS-based analysis Least-cost path Network analysis Patos-Mirim basin A B S T R A C T The present paper shows a GIS-based analysis for understanding the mobility system of the mound-builders (cerriteiros) of Patos and Mirim lagoons, located in southern Brazil, during the late Holocene. A geospatial model of mobility and centralit...
Article
The long-term response of ancient societies to climate change has been a matter of global debate. Until recently, the lack of integrative studies using archaeological, palaeoecological and palaeoclimatological data prevented an evaluation of the relationship between climate change, distinct subsistence strategies and cultural transformations across...
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Anthropogenic climate change—combined with increased human-caused ignitions—is leading to increased wildfire frequency, carbon dioxide emissions, and refractory black carbon (rBC) aerosol emissions. This is particularly evident in the Amazon rainforest, where fire activity has been complicated by the synchronicity of natural and anthropogenic drive...
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Amazonian peoples use and manage plant populations in previously domesticated landscapes, but the extent of landscape transformation remains uncertain, especially in interfluvial areas. We tested the hypothesis that useful plant communities vary in richness, abundance and basal area around pre-Columbian and current settlements independent of the di...
Article
Southern Brazil's highland Araucaria forest is ancient, diverse and unique, but its future is under significant threat from 20th Century habitat loss and 21st Century climate change. Paleoecological studies have revealed that it expanded rapidly over highland grasslands around 1000 years ago, but whether this expansion was caused by human land use...
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In the HTML version of this Article originally published, Fig. 4 was a duplicate of Fig. 1. This has now been amended.
Chapter
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The archaeology of southern proto-Jê groups dates back to c. 2220 cal year BP and extends to the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is mainly characterized by its diagnostic small ceramics with thin walls, the construction of earthworks (including pit houses and elaborated mound and enclosure complexes) in the highlands, plus collective burial...
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Anthropogenic climate change driven by increased carbon emissions is leading to more severe fire seasons and increasing the frequency of mega-fires in the Amazon. This has the potential to convert Amazon forests from net carbon sinks to net carbon sources. Although modern human influence over the Earth is substantial, debate remains over when human...
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The legacy of pre-Columbian land use on modern Amazonian forests has stimulated considerable debate which, until now, has not been satisfactorily resolved due to the absence of integrated studies between pre-Columbian and modern land use. Here we show an abrupt enrichment of edible forest species combined with the cultivation of multiple annual cro...
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In the highlands of southern Brazil an anthropogenitcally driven expansion of forest occurred at the expense of grasslands between 1410 and 900 cal BP, coincident with a period of demographic and cultural change in the region. Previous studies have debated the relative contributions of increasing wetter and warmer climate conditions and human lands...
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Archaeology provides few examples of large-scale fisheries at the frontier between catching and farming of fish. We analysed the spatial organization of earthen embankments to infer the functioning of a landscape-level pre-Columbian Amazonian fishery that was based on capture of out-migrating fish after reproduction in seasonal floodplains. Long ea...
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The discovery of large geometrical earthworks in interfluvial settings of southern Amazonia has challenged the idea that Pre-Columbian populations were concentrated along the major floodplains. However, a spatial gap in the archaeological record of the Amazon has limited the assessment of the territorial extent of earth-builders. Here, we report th...
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A 50,000-year-old sediment core record from Laguna Chaplin is reanalyzed to explore potential paleoecological methods to detect the extent of pre-Columbian disturbance in the Bolivian Amazon. High-resolution (sub-centennial) macrocharcoal data are analyzed using statistical algorithm software including Regime Shift Detection and CHAR Analysis to de...
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The development of agriculture is one of humankind's most pivotal achievements. Questions about plant domestication and the origins of agriculture have engaged scholars for well over a century, with implications for understanding its legacy on global subsistence strategies, plant distribution, population health and the global methane budget. Rice i...
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Newly created academic programs at Brazilian universities have provided the impetus for new archaeological projects in southeastern South America during the last two decades. The new data are changing our views on emergent social complexity, natural and human-induced transformation of the landscape, and transcontinental expansions and cultural inte...
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Excavations at Abreu Garcia provide a detailed case study of a mound and enclosure mortuary complex utilised by the southern proto-Je in the southern Brazilian highlands. The recovery of 16 secondary cremation deposits within a single mound allows an in-depth discussion of spatial aspects of mortuary practice. A spatial division in the placement of...
Conference Paper
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Palaeoecological research can provide important insights into the impacts of humans vs climate change upon ecosystems in the past, which can inform land-use and conservation planning. Our international project aims to reveal past dynamics of the iconic Araucaria forest in the context of land use by the pre-Columbian Jê culture in southern Brazil ov...
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Over 450 pre-Columbian (pre-AD 1492) geometric ditched enclosures ("geoglyphs") occupy ∼13,000 km(2) of Acre state, Brazil, representing a key discovery of Amazonian archaeology. These huge earthworks were concealed for centuries under terra firme (upland interfluvial) rainforest, directly challenging the "pristine" status of this ecosystem and its...
Article
Abstract Identification of wood charcoal associated with earth ovens at a southern proto-Jê mortuary complex in Misiones, Argentina, are discussed in relation to a dual social structure. A distinct difference in form between the ovens in the east and west follow a pattern of asymmetry that manifests at multiple levels across the mortuary landscape....
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O presente texto apresenta as questões centrais de pesquisa do projeto Paisagens Jê do Sul do Brasil e também traz resultados preliminares do primeiro ano de atividades de pesquisa em Arqueologia e Paleoecologia. Palavras-chave: Jê do Sul; Arqueologia; Paleoecologia; Interdisciplinaridade Abstract: This paper presents the main research issues of J...
Article
The late-Holocene expansion of the Tupi–Guarani languages from southern Amazonia to SE South America constitutes one of the largest expansions of any linguistic family in the world, spanning ~4000 km between latitudes 0°S and 35°S at about 2.5k cal. yr BP. However, the underlying reasons for this expansion are a matter of debate. Here, we compare c...
Conference Paper
We present palaeoecological results from an interdisciplinary project, which seeks to understand the relationship between late Holocene expansion of Araucaria forest, climate change, and land use by the pre-Columbian (pre-1492) Jê culture in southern Brazil. Previous palaeoecologial studies in the southern highlands of Brazil (Iriarte & Behling 200...
Conference Paper
There is increasing concern regarding the future of the iconic, but threatened Araucaria forest in southern Brazil in the face of pressures from climate change and the devastating consequences of human land-use. In order to comprehend the effects of these drivers over the Araucaria forest by looking at the long term history with fossil pollen recor...
Article
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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 programm...
Data
Ceramic types per floor in House 1. (PDF)
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Attributes of the ceramic types identified in House 1. (PDF)
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Lithic raw material per floor in House 1. (PDF)
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Lithic assemblage for each floor of House 1. (PDF)
Article
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Este artigo apresenta os resultados das analises de grãos de amido e de fitólito de 14 fragmentos cerâmicos recuperados em duas estruturas de cocção domésticas de uma casa semissubterânea dos protoJê Meridionais no sítio Bonin (Urubici, Santa Catarina) que datam entre os anos 1280 e 1420 cal. AD e 1280 e 1400 cal. AD. A inédita aplicação de técnica...
Article
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In this article, we focus on three case studies, which show how the climatic fluctuations that took place during the mid and late Holocene had a major impact on the native groups that inhabited the La Plata Basin region. First, we summarized the archaeological and the paleoenvironmental records of the mid-Holocene related to the emergence of “Const...
Conference Paper
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Protecting endangered vegetation is a common topic in current times. Nevertheless, there is still uncertainty regarding the best steps needed to be taken to protect them. Here we show evidence of past land use and interaction with native vegetation by pre-Columbian societies and discuss both the potential of learning from this information and using...
Article
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The formation, functioning and emergent properties of patterned landscapes have recently drawn increased attention, notably in semi-arid ecosystems. We describe and analyze a set of similarly spectacular landforms in seasonal tropical wetlands. Surales landscapes, comprised of densely packed, regularly spaced mounds, cover large areas of the Orinoc...
Data
Sampling design for phytoliths in Site 1 and 2. Vertical dotted lines represent the trenches in which we took phytolith samples from profiles. (TIF)
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Plant species encountered during the wet season in the point-intersect line transects in Sites 1, 2, 3 and 5, and their contribution to the percentage of cover abundance in surales mound and inter-mound habitats. (PDF)
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Tree species encountered in Site 3 during the dry and the wet season. (DOCX)
Data
Plant species encountered during the dry season in the point-intersect line transects in Sites 1, 2 and 3, and their contribution to the percentage of cover abundance in surales mound and inter-mound habitats. (DOCX)