- freely available
Pre-Columbian Earthworks in Coastal Amazonia
AbstractAs in other parts of Amazonia, pre-Columbian Indians have profoundly modified the coast of the Guianas. Between 650 and 1650 AD, Arauquinoid people occupied a territory that was approximately 600 km long and used the raised field technique intensively before the European conquest. They erected thousands of raised fields of various shapes, dug canals, ditches, and pathways, and built artificial mounds to establish their villages. All these earthworks changed forever the face of the coastal flooded savannas and their ecology. Such labor was probably organized under the leadership of a central authority: it seems that Arauquinoid societies were organized in a chiefdom system. Statistical calculations, based on the known surface area of raised fields and on their estimated productivity, suggest a population density of 50 to 100 inhabitants per km2. Pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Guianas coast carefully organized, managed and “anthropisized” their territory following a specific pattern.
Share & Cite This Article
Export to BibTeX | EndNote
MDPI and ACS Style
Rostain, S. Pre-Columbian Earthworks in Coastal Amazonia. Diversity 2010, 2, 331-352.View more citation formats
Rostain S. Pre-Columbian Earthworks in Coastal Amazonia. Diversity. 2010; 2(3):331-352.Chicago/Turabian Style
Rostain, Stéphen. 2010. "Pre-Columbian Earthworks in Coastal Amazonia." Diversity 2, no. 3: 331-352.