Special Issue "Archaeological and Historical Landscapes of South America: From Past Changes to Current Landscape Configurations"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 October 2022 | Viewed by 3099

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Camila Gianotti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Systems and Cultural Landscapes, Laboratory of Landscape and Heritage Archaeology (LAPPU), Eastern Regional University Centre (CURE), University of the Republic (Udelar), Rocha 27000, Uruguay
Interests: landscape archaeology; lowland culture; indigenous mounds; geoarchaeology; landscape management
Dr. Cruz Ferro-Vázquez
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and Evolution of Human Behaviour (ICArEHB), Universidade do Algarve, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
Interests: geoarchaeology; landscape change; traditional agriculture; soil science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A growing body of scientific knowledge demonstrates that an improved comprehension of present environments and landscapes must be based on an understanding of their past states and processes of change, as well as of the factors, including human activities, that drove landscape evolution over time. This is because the driving forces in landscape change are strongly rooted in historical, long-term dynamics, including cultural, socio-political and economic changes, all of which are traditionally studied by the humanities. These factors act on and are conditioned by ecological variables and environmental processes in a complexity of multidimensional interactions that create the specificity and uniqueness of each landscape. Thus, understanding a landscape’s capacity to support a specific activity or set of activities during prolonged time periods—ultimately, for its sustainable use—requires a long-term and transdisciplinary perspective.

Landscape archaeology is an area of study that transcends the conventional boundaries between research fields, providing interdisciplinary perspectives and tools for addressing questions on why and how landscapes have evolved, including the interaction between societies and the environment. Temporality, spatiality and materiality are all addressed by landscape archaeology studies, which can therefore offer a pluriversal view of landscapes, their singularity and their evolution, and disentangle the complex trajectories that have shaped current landscapes through time.

While questions still outnumber answers, in the last few decades, the study of landscape has shown an important development in South American Archaeology and Anthropology as a result of renovated theoretical and methodological approaches that include different ontological perspectives. The archaeological study of mountains, lowlands and indigenous agrarian landscapes; the study of commons, conflict and resistance; and the recent advances in archaeoastronomical investigation, among others, have become key areas of innovation in the South American landscape research scenario, with an increasingly prominent role of local communities in the investigation and management of their lands and in the construction of historical narratives.

In this Special Issue, we welcome papers that address the investigation of South American landscapes; their multiple ontologies; their characteristics, configuration and change; and how the archaeological view can inform present-day landscape use and management. Notably, we welcome contributions that:

  1. Test existing narratives around historic land use;
  2. Provide case studies demonstrating reasons for land-use change and resource use in the past and socioecological implications of these changes.
  3. Present cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of the origins of landscapes and their change, resilience and sustainable use in terms of thresholds and tipping points.
  4. Provide data that validate or test models of long-term change and advance our understanding of the relationship between local, regional and global patterns and drivers, including political ecology perspectives.
  5. Study how social relationships and cultural values shaped past and present perceptions of landscape.
  6. Integrate diverse ontological perspectives—indigenous, community and ecofeminist, among others—and decolonial views in landscape research and management.

Problem-oriented, interdisciplinary contributions that take a diachronic approach for exploring these themes’ links with landscape governance and participatory approaches are encouraged, as well as works with a policy dimension regarding specific South American regions or continental overviews.

Dr. Camila Gianotti
Dr. Cruz Ferro-Vázquez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Forests and Farmers: GIS Analysis of Forest Islands and Large Raised Fields in the Bolivian Amazon
Land 2022, 11(5), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11050678 - 03 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 532
Abstract
The Llanos de Mojos of the Bolivian Amazon is a domesticated landscape with a long history of management by pre-Columbian communities. This paper uses a landscape approach to interpret the settlement patterns of pre-Columbian raised-field farmers in west central Mojos. The pre-Columbian landscape [...] Read more.
The Llanos de Mojos of the Bolivian Amazon is a domesticated landscape with a long history of management by pre-Columbian communities. This paper uses a landscape approach to interpret the settlement patterns of pre-Columbian raised-field farmers in west central Mojos. The pre-Columbian landscape was reconstructed by mapping the distribution of three types of landscape features: forest islands, raised agricultural fields, and water systems (rivers, streams and wetlands). Previous research has identified four types of patterned clustering or ‘constellations’ of these landscape features in west central Mojos. These constellations and the immediate area of the landscape that surrounds them afforded Mojos farmers a specific set of tasks or activities to take part in as part of harnessing resources from the landscape. The mapping of landscape features and their associated tasks onto the landscape provides insight into the organization of the communities that constructed and managed them. It was found that the landscape of west central Mojos is organized into two distinct regional patterns. In the northern part of the region, evidence of large farming communities is dispersed along the banks of the permanent rivers with networks of landscape features extending off into remote areas of the savanna. In the southern part of the region, evidence for large farming communities is clustered closer together in remote areas of the savanna with networks of landscape features extending back towards the permanent rivers. The two regions are melded together by a transitional zone that implies a type of interaction between the regions rather than a distinct separation. Full article
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Article
From Mounds to Villages: The Social Construction of the Landscape during the Middle and Late Holocene in the India Muerta Lowlands, Uruguay
Land 2022, 11(3), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11030441 - 19 Mar 2022
Viewed by 706
Abstract
This paper presents new data on the spatial organization of mound-builder groups in the India Muerta wetlands, Uruguay. This area presents the beginning of land architecture in the region (ca. 4800–5000 years BP), associated with more arid climate. This construction tradition continues and [...] Read more.
This paper presents new data on the spatial organization of mound-builder groups in the India Muerta wetlands, Uruguay. This area presents the beginning of land architecture in the region (ca. 4800–5000 years BP), associated with more arid climate. This construction tradition continues and intensifies, mainly from ca 3000 years BP, from the establishment of warmer and damper conditions. New sources of information and geospatial technologies have made it possible to locate mound sites with greater precision, as well as to analyze settlement patterns. Indigenous communities occupied areas of hills, plains and wetlands, showing differences but also regularities in spatial organization in each area. In the whole area, earthen mound complexes form groups of different orders, from regional to domestic units, configured by mounds, negative structures and limited spaces. The location of the mounds is primarily in dry areas, known locally as islands, which are prominent in the landscape during floods in this wetland-dominated environment. Through this analysis of the landscape, this work delves into the underlying logic of the social construction of the territory. The results achieved in this paper are consistent with previous research suggesting planned occupation associated with villages integrated within broader regional systems. Full article
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Article
Sambaquis from the Southern Brazilian Coast: Landscape Building and Enduring Heterarchical Societies throughout the Holocene
Land 2021, 10(7), 757; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10070757 - 19 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
This paper presents a heterarchical model for the regional occupation of the sambaqui (shellmound) societies settled in the southern coast of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Interdisciplinary approaches articulate the geographical scope and environmental dynamics of the Quaternary with human occupation patterns that took place [...] Read more.
This paper presents a heterarchical model for the regional occupation of the sambaqui (shellmound) societies settled in the southern coast of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Interdisciplinary approaches articulate the geographical scope and environmental dynamics of the Quaternary with human occupation patterns that took place therein between the middle and late Holocene (approximately 7.5 to 1.5 ky BP). The longue durée perspective on natural and social processes, as well as landscape construction, evince stable, integrated, and territorially organized communities around the lagoon setting. Funerary patterns, as well as mound distribution in the landscape, indicate a rather equalitarian society, sharing the economic use of coastal resources in cooperative ways. This interpretation is reinforced by a common ideological background involving the cult of the ancestors, which seems widespread all over the southern Brazilian shores along that period of time. Such a long-lived cultural tradition has endured until the arrival of fully agricultural Je and Tupi speaking societies in the southern shores. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: The Materiality of the Movement: Mobility's approaches through paths and fences in the northeastern semiarid landscapes of Brazil.
Authors: Marcio Teixeira-Bastos; Rafael de Abreu e Souza
Affiliation: State University of São Paulo, UNESP; State University of Campinas, UNICAMP.
Abstract: This paper approaches fences and paths in the Brazilian Northeast semiarid landscapes. We argue that such things are an integral part of the domestic units, helping to forge a permanent place and building up landscapes, running side by side, forking and meeting humans and things, spreading for long distances. The Caatinga (a Tupi word meaning "white forest" or "white vegetation") as xeric shrubland and thorn forest is an ecoregion characterized by cacti, thick-stemmed plants, thorny brush, and arid-adapted grasses that make up the ground layer. It is the only exclusively Brazilian biome, which means that a large part of its biological heritage cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. Thus, the construction of the domestic unit as a place and as a metaphor for practices of permanence (at the same time changing), deals with the peasant's mobilities and realities, the materiality of the movement. Such things catch up with people, they gather and sort out humans and other things into heterogeneous mixes exactly to stay in the same place. Much of what we approached in domestic units has to do with the body moving and stopping or changing in the space. The paths connect to each peasant site and form what we called a galactic pattern, which dialogues with a rigid agrarian structure that controls the routine, the access to land, and specific spaces. It also concerns the practices of social reproduction, in the attempt of slower times and non-change, such as ways of ordering the landscape, and the time itself of the semiarid region in relation to what was called by Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (1957) as the calling of the sertanejo to the space.

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