Nukak: Ethnoarchaeology of an Amazonian People

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2009-05-15
  • Publisher: Routledge

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From Gustavo Politis, one of the most renowned South American archaeologists, comes the first in-depth study in English of the last undiscovered” people of the Amazon. His work is groundbreaking and urgent, both because of encroaching guerrilla violence that makes Nukak existence perilously fragile, and because his work with the Nukak represented one of the last opportunities to conduct research with hunger-gatherers using contemporary methodological and the theoretical tools. Through a rich and comprehensive ethno-archaeological portrait of material culture in the making,” this work makes methodological and conceptual advances in the interpretation of hunter-gather societies. Politis’s conclusions, based on years of original research and on comparative analysis, are integrative and contribute to the identification of the multiple factors involved in the formation of hunter-gatherer archaeological assemblages.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 11
Acknowledgmentsp. 13
Illustrationsp. 17
Tablesp. 23
Introductionp. 25
The Nukak and the Makúp. 31
Recent History of the Nukakp. 36
History of Contactp. 38
Previous Studiesp. 43
Environmentp. 47
Physiography and Soils
Plant Physiognomy of the Environments in Nukak Territory
Final Considerationsp. 53
Theory and Methods: Ethics and Techniquesp. 55
On Ethnoarchaeologyp. 58
Ethnoarchaeology in South Americap. 63
Fieldworkp. 66
Data Collection: Methods, Techniques, and Problemsp. 69
Ethicsp. 72
Concluding Remarksp. 74
Sociopolitical Organization and Cosmologyp. 77
Sociopolitical Organizationp. 77
Ideology and Cosmologyp. 84
Final Considerationsp. 92
Shelters and Campsp. 99
Architecture of the Sheltersp. 100
The Residential Campp. 106
The Construction of Residential Campsp. 114
Other Types of Campsp. 119
Transitory Camps
Small Shelters Peripheral to Residential Camps
Small Shelters between Camps
Rectangular Constructions in Chagras, or the "House of the Tapir"
Final Remarksp. 127
The Use of Space and Discard Patternsp. 131
Residential Camp Activity Areasp. 132
Discard Patterns during Residential Camp Occupationp. 137
Abandonment Refusep. 145
The Symbolic and Communicative Dimension of Wastep. 152
Discussionp. 153
Residential and Logistical Mobility: Daily Foraging Tripsp. 161
The Multiple Dimensions of Territoryp. 162
Residential Mobilityp. 165
Logistical Mobilityp. 170
Daily Foraging Tripsp. 171
Final Considerationsp. 179
Traditional Technologyp. 189
The Nukak and the Adoption of Western Technologyp. 193
Traditional Technologyp. 196
Hunting and Fishing Weapons
Other Elements Used in Food Procurement
Plant Product Procurement and Food Preparation Utensils
Furnishings and Accessories
The Social and Ideological Dimensions of Nukak Technologyp. 224
Final Considerationsp. 229
Subsistencep. 237
Nondomesticated Plantsp. 240
Animal Resourcesp. 256
Insect and Insect By-Product Resourcesp. 263
Fish and Aquatic Animalsp. 267
Cultivationp. 275
Food from the Colonosp. 278
The Ideational Aspect of Foodp. 278
The Annual Circle and the Creation of Wild Orchardsp. 281
Discussionp. 285
Conclusionp. 288
Animal Exploitation, Processing, and Discardp. 291
Hunted and Taboo Animalsp. 294
Hunting and Processing Strategiesp. 300
White-Lipped Peccary
Bone-Discard Patternp. 315
Archaeological Visibility of Butchering Patterns and Bone Discardp. 316
Transportp. 319
Conclusionsp. 321
Final Considerationsp. 325
The Nukak as Hunter-Gatherersp. 325
Territory and Mobilityp. 329
The Use of Plantsp. 333
Technologyp. 335
Hunting and Food Taboosp. 337
The Western View of Amazonian Hunter-Gatherersp. 341
Final Wordsp. 343
Sample of Daily Foraging Tripsp. 345
Patterns of Bone Representation and Surface Bone Modification Caused by Nukak Prey Acquisitionp. 357
Material and Methodsp. 358
Sample Analysisp. 362
Discussionp. 366
Conclusionsp. 373
Bibliographyp. 377
Indexp. 407
About the Authorp. 412
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