Philip Riris's research while affiliated with Bournemouth University and other places

Publications (28)

Article
The area of the Atures Rapids in the Middle Orinoco River (Venezuela), where multiple Indigenous communities gathered to trade goods, has been identified as a prominent center of commerce since early colonial times. However, the exchange activities taking place there between local and nonlocal actors before European colonization are poorly understo...
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Human beings are an active component of every terrestrial ecosystem on Earth. Although our local impact on the evolution of these ecosystems has been undeniable and extensively documented, it remains unclear precisely how our activities are altering them, in part because ecosystems are dynamic systems structured by complex, non-linear feedback proc...
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The study of resilience is a common pathway for scientific data to inform policy and practice towards impending climate change. Consequently, understanding the mechanisms and features that contribute towards building resilience is a key goal of much research on coupled socio-environmental systems. In parallel, archaeology has developed the ambition...
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First described over 120 years ago in Brazil, Amazonian Dark Earths (ADEs) are expanses of dark soil that are exceptionally fertile and contain large quantities of archaeological artefacts. The elevated fertility of the dark and often deep A horizon of ADEs is widely regarded as an outcome of pre-Columbian human influence. Controversially, in their...
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Archaeological research provides clear evidence that the widespread formation of Amazonian Dark Earths (ADEs) in tropical lowland South America was concentrated in the Late Holocene, an outcome of sharp demographic growth that peaked towards 1000 BP. In their recent paper, however, Silva et al. propose that the high fertility of ADE is not of anthr...
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Inferring episodes of expansion, admixture, diffusion, and/or migration in prehistory is undergoing a resurgence in macro-scale archaeological interpretation. In parallel to this renewed popularity, access to computational tools among archaeologists has seen the use of aggregated radiocarbon datasets for the study of dispersals also increasing. Thi...
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The increasingly better-known archaeological record of the Amazon basin, the Orinoco basin and the Guianas both questions the long-standing premise of a pristine tropical rainforest environment and also provides evidence for major biome-scale cultural and technological transitions prior to European colonization. Associated changes in pre-Columbian...
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About this issue Demography impacts a wide range of aspects of human culture past and present; from our capacity to transmit genes and knowledge across generations, to the reach of our social networks and long-term impacts on the environment. Recent cross-disciplinary advances in the reconstruction and interpretation of prehistoric population histo...
Article
Fieldwork and desk-based research in the western Amazon basin has led to an explosive growth in the state of knowledge surrounding the pre-Columbian archaeology of this region. Previously thought to be a sparsely occupied environment, archaeologists have recorded hundreds of geometric earthworks between the Purús and Acre rivers in recent years, sp...
Preprint
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The increasingly better-known archaeological record of the South American tropical lowlands (the Amazon basin, the Orinoco basin, and the Guianas) questions the long-standing premise of a pristine tropical rainforest environment and also provides evidence for major biome-scale cultural and technological transitions. Associated changes in human popu...
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It has recently been argued that pre-Columbian societies in the greater Amazon basin during the Late Holocene were subject to “adaptive cycling”. In this model, cultures practicing “intensive” land use practices, such as raised field agriculture, were vulnerable to perturbations in hydroclimate, whereas “extensive” land use patterns, such as polycu...
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Quantifying the impacts of climate change on prehistoric demography is crucial for understanding the adaptive pathways taken by human populations. Archaeologists across South America have pointed to patterns of regional abandonment during the Middle Holocene (8200 to 4200 cal BP) as evidence of sensitivity to shifts in hydroclimate over this period...
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The area encompassed by the Orinoco river basin is home to some of the largest and most diverse rock art sites in lowland South America. In this paper, we aim to formally describe the spatial distribution and stylistic attributes of rock engravings and paintings on both banks of the Orinoco, centred on the Átures Rapids. Drawing on an exhaustive li...
Preprint
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Quantifying the impacts of climate change on prehistoric demography is crucial for understanding the adaptive pathways taken by human societies. Archaeologists in South America have identified periods of regional abandonment during the mid-Holocene (8200 to 4200 cal BP), but the extent to which local patterns can be generalised to large-scale trend...
Article
This paper adopts a formal model-testing approach to the Peruvian radiocarbon (14C) record, the site of the first aggregate analysis of this type of archaeological data. Using a large and improved regional dataset of radiometric determinations (n = 1180) from the period 14000–3000 14C years before present, the study performs a comparative analysis...
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The Culebra site, located in close proximity to the Atures Rapids, is one of the very few open-air occupations in the entire Orinoco valley that is thought to date to the early Holocene. Following renewed excavations in this location, we characterize the stone technology in unprecedented detail and perform both quantitative and qualitative analyses...
Article
Humans are increasingly viewed as active agents of environmental and land-cover change in the moist Neotropics. While the scale and extent of pre-Columbian anthropic impacts are actively debated, the effects of post-Contact patterns of land use are rarely examined over the long term, defined here as centennial timescales. This article examines a pu...
Article
The Atures Rapids have long been considered a major point of confluence in the Middle Orinoco landscape, Venezuela. This has been underlined by newly discovered rock art panels on islands within the Rapids and on the margins of the Orinoco River. The panels were recorded photographically and photogrammetrically, and the spatial organisation and tap...
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http://onlinedigeditions.com/publication/?i=440506#{%22issue_id%22:440506,%22page%22:10}
Article
The Connected Past: Challenges to network studies in archaeology and history, edited by Tom Brughmans , Anna Collar & Fiona Coward , 2016. Oxford: Oxford University Press; ISBN 978-0-19-874851-9, £60; 200 pp., 37 b/w figs, 12 tables - Volume 27 Issue 4 - Philip Riris
Article
Surface scatters are an important source of archaeological data in the Neotropics, yet despite their role in exploring regional land use, existing frameworks have serious methodological and theoretical drawbacks. This study proposes a robust alternative to site-centric approaches, by examining spatial and technological variability in time-averaged...
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This paper briefly reports on the initial results of a new Leverhulme-sponsored four-year archaeological project (RPG 234- 2014) centred on the Átures Rapids area of the Middle Orinoco River, Amazonas State, Venezuela (Fig. 1). The Cotúa Island Reflexive Archaeology Project seeks to establish the longue durée historical processes that by early colo...
Article
Full-text available
In this article we evaluate the application of Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM), a technique within Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), to a group of preColumbian rock art panels in southern Brazil. Our case study, the Avencal 1 rock art site (Urubici, Santa Catarina state), is one of the largest and most recognised sites in the southern Braz...

Citations

... Archaeological sediments are a complementary archive of environmental data useful to support regional to local reconstructions. On the other hand, our case study represents an exemplary case of the interconnection between human dynamics, climatic unpredictability and shifts in subsistence strategies in times of societal changes (Nicoll and Zerboni, 2020;Silva et al., 2022;Zhang et al., 2018). In fact, all sedimentary deposits -thus the processes underlying their formation -are the result of interplay between moving human societies and the environmental conditions where they set in and suggest a transition from agricultural-to pastoraldominated land use. ...
... Este proceso es conocido como pirólisis lenta y se refiere al carbón negro producido para gestionar el carbono como tecnología alternativa de mitigación del cambio climático, además de ser aplicado en suelos agrícolas como mejorador de las características físicas y químicas para aumentar la productividad (Scholz et al., 2014). Adicionalmente, se han descrito suelos negros de alta fertilidad como producto de la adición antrópica de carbón vegetal, cenizas y otros residuos en la región del amazonas y que funcionan como reservorios de carbono (Lombardo et al., 2022) Los biocarbones en la agricultura derivan de diversos tipos de biomasas con variaciones físicas y químicas por lo cual cada biocarbón es diferente. Se ha documentado que el biocarbón derivado de residuos de maíz presenta una tasa de transformación rápida (2 h a 500 °C) y puede tener Capacidad de Intercambio Catiónico de 14.4 cmol kg -1 a pH 7 . ...
... Cluster 2 links together four papers from 24 authors. Three of these papers discuss resilient/sustainable land-use in pre-Columbian Amazonia [37,46,90] whilst the last is focused on Mayan resource management in Belize [28]. Cluster 3 is comprised of six papers authored by members of the Climate Change and History Research Institute (CCHRI), Princeton University, and colleagues (22 authors). ...
... Even though lakes are often the preferred settlement sites in Amazonia [44,110], there is the possibility that humans did not use these lakes until the late Holocene, when landscape modifications increased across Amazonia [15,31,33,69,[111][112][113][114][115][116]. We think it is more probable, however, that while our palaeoecological proxies for human presence seem to work well for larger or more sustained disturbances, they may be relatively insensitive to the presence of hunter-gatherers. ...
... A more practical solution consists of fitting a quantile regression model, where the relationship between the predictors and the dependent variable is based on specific, user-defined percentiles. Several authors (38,39,43) have used this approach to model the earliest date using the full sample available. Regression-based methods can also be adapted to investigate possible variations in the dispersal rate, using techniques such as nonlinear regression (39), geographically weighted regression (8), or geostatistical interpolation (4,14). ...
... Early occupations of the Amazon were made by several kinds of tropical foragers societies, who first produced ceramics before 4000 BCE, a time when horticulture was still nascent in the region [31]. By around 1500 BCE one finds intense production of ceramics, sedentary life, population growth, development of extensive slash-and-burn agriculture and semi-intensive house gardens, which marked a new phase with major cultural changes in the natural landscape of Amazonia [31][32][33]. By 0 CE, there is greater evidence of large sedentary settlements, the construction of mounds, roads, canals, the formation of terras pretas (Amazonian Dark Earths, anthropic dark soils of high fertility produced by long-term occupations), and the construction of geoglyphs and monumental artificial structures in the Amazon River and some of its largest tributaries, such as the Upper Purús, Upper Madeira and Upper Xingú [34]. ...
... Prehistoric population dynamics is one of the main research topics for current archaeology (e.g., French et al., 2021;Nikulka, 2016;Shennan, 2018;Zimmermann et al., 2009). Population size and density, and demographic fluctuation, are among the most significant factors playing roles not only in social organisation but also human-environment interactions (e.g., Bevan et al., 2017;Kol a r et al., 2018;Kuosmanen et al., 2016;Riris and Arroyo-Kalin, 2019;Tallavaara and Seppa, 2012;Whitehouse et al., 2014). ...
... While the relationships between agricultural fields and their surrounding forest islands may be difficult to identify at the local scale, analysis of the regional distribution of these features can reveal patterns in their spatial organization within the landscape. It has been argued that the complex factors behind landscape formation can be explored with analytical approaches to the spatial structure of archaeological features at multiple scales [54]. ...
... The availability of these new palaeoclimate records is allowing us to carry out integrative studies using archaeological, palaeoecological and palaeoclimatological data to evaluate the relationship between climate change, distinct subsistence strategies and cultural transformations in Amazonia (de Souza et al., 2019a), thus uncoupling the climate from the human drivers in the expansion of Araucaria forest during the last millennium in SE Brazil , as well as exploring the role of the drier middle Holocene climate (Riris and Arroyo-Kalin, 2019) and the wetter late Holocene. The wetter late Holocene climate that resulted in the expansion of forests created an ecological opportunity for Tupi forest farmers to spread out of Amazonia into SE SA during the late Holocene ) (see also Riris and Arroyo-Kalin, 2019;Arroyo-Kalin and Riris, 2020). ...
... Despite apparent commonalities and lack of statistically significant deviation, it is worth noting that by 700 cal BP, Northern growth rates are negative, Central growth is virtually stationary, and Southern rates are well above zero. As noted above, the interface between the MCA and LIA was a period of continuing climate change across tropical South America (Novello et al., 2018;Azevedo et al., 2019), which may be key to contextualising these qualitative differences, although we presently lack the resolution and sample size of radiocarbon dates to directly investigate further so close to European Conquest (Riris, 2019). ...