Written Paper

Landscape and firewood selection in the Santa Elina rock shelter (Mato Grosso, Brazil) during the Holocene  [2017]

Bachelet, Caroline Rita Scheel-Ybert

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Santa Elina rock shelter, in Central Brazil, is renowned for its astounding rock art, rare preservation of plant remains, and long-lasting occupation. Different groups of hunter–gatherers dwelt in this place since the Late Pleistocene until Late Holocene, leaving many vestiges of their passage. Charcoal samples from its upper archaeological assemblage, at Sector West of the site (dated c. 2000–3500 BP), and from its intermediate archaeological assemblage, at Sector East (dated c. 9000–10000 BP), were analyzed according to standard anthracological methods. Samples of dispersed charcoal from four archaeological levels were analyzed in the former, and from eight combustion structures in the latter. Despite the heterogeneity in the assemblages, interesting palaeoenvironmental and palaeoethnobotanical results were produced. During the late Holocene the shelter was surrounded by a semideciduous forest similar to the present one, under similar climate. Similar conditions might have occurred in the early Holocene, or the vegetation could have been a more open cerrado physiognomy, thus under a drier climate. Firewood gathering strategies in both periods involved the opportunistic collection of dead wood. Evidence of firewood selection is presented for bamboo in the late Holocene and for Anadenanthera in the early and in late Holocene.

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Quaternary International

ISSN : 1040-6182