Jê Landscapes of Southern Brazil: Ecology, History and Power in a Transitional Landscape During the Late Holocene


Professor José Iriarte

This project, funded by AHRC-FAPESP investigates the creation and transformation of southern Jê landscapes and their relationship with the emergence of social complexity during the past two millennia across the ecological gradient of the mid-South Atlantic territory. By closely integrating archaeology, ethnography and palaeoecology, the project will address the following questions:

(i) How were the southern Jê groups organised at a regional scale across the different ecological zones of their territory?

(ii) What role did land use by the southern proto-Jê vs climate play in the rapid expansion of Parana pine forest at the turn of the second millennium AD?

(iii) Are there southern Jê common underlying principles of social and spatial organisation?

The project has been conceived by an international, interdisciplinary team at Exeter, Reading and São Paulo Universities integrating archaeological, ethnographical and palaeoecological data sources to investigate the creation and transformation of southern Jê landscapes in relation to the emergence of social complexity.

The project builds up on 8 years of archaeological investigations in the southern Brazilian highlands funded by National Geographic Society, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the University of Exeter Exploratory Fund, the Municipality of ElDorado, and the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. Read more about José's previous research on Monumental burials and memorial feasting (Antiquity 2008) The expansion of Araucaria forest during the Late Holocene (Environmental Archaeology 2007) and news about his research at National Geographic News.


Project website

For more information please see the project website.