The History of the Research of Amazonian Dark Earths in Brazil

  • Lilian RebellatoEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_3033-1

Introduction

Many of the archaeological sites in Amazonia contain Amazonian Dark Earth (ADE). Characterized by anthropogenic melanization because of the accumulation of organic materials, especially charcoal, coupled with a host of nutrients, these soils also contain a high quantity of archaeological material, mainly ceramics and some lithics, moreover, all sorts of animal and human bones, feces, and house/garden waste (Woods and McCann 1999). Through their habitation activities, these past people unintentionally put nutrients into the soil, bringing micro- and macronutrients from food, fuel, and building material to the sites of their habitations, where their use and disposal contributed to change the soil’s properties.

The ADEs are found in different types of soils, including Latosols, Podsols, Podzolic, and Plinthosols (Smith 1980; Kern et al. 2004), and generally found in the Pleistocene terraces. They are well-known for their high fertility and resilience, with almost neutral pH,...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Costa, M., and D. Kern. 1999. Geochemical signatures of tropical soils with archaeological black earth in the Amazon. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 66: 369–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Denevan, W.M. 1996. A bluff model of riverine settlement in prehistoric Amazonia. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 86: 654–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Eden, M.J., W. Bray, L. Herrera, and C. McEwan. 1984. Terra preta soils and their archaeological context in the caquet basin of Southeast Colombia. American Antiquity 49: 125–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Falesi, I.C. 1974. Soils of the Brazilian Amazon. In Man in the Amazon, 201–229. Gainesville: University Presses of Florida.Google Scholar
  5. Glaser, B., G. Guggenberger, L. Haumaier, and W. Zech. 2001. Persistence of soil organic matter in archaeological soils (Terra Preta) of the Brazilian Amazon region. In Sustainable management of soil organic matter, 190–194. Wallingford: CABI Publishing.Google Scholar
  6. Hartt, C.F. 1885. Contribuições para a Ethologia do Valle do Amazonas. Arquivos do Museu Nacional 6: 1.Google Scholar
  7. Heckenberger, M.J., J.B. Petersen, and E.G. Neves. 1999. Village size and permanence in Amazonia: Two archaeological examples from Brazil. Latin American Antiquity 10: 353–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kämpf, N., W.I. Woods, D.C. Kern, and T.J. Cunha. 2009. Classificação das Terras Pretas de Índio e Outros Solos Antrópicos Antigos. In As Terras Pretas de Índio da Amazônia: sua caracterização e uso deste conhecimento na criação de novas áreas, ed. W.G. Teixeira, D.C. Kern, B.E. Madari, H.N. Lima, and W.I. Woods. Manaus: Embrapa Amazônia Ocidental.Google Scholar
  9. Katzer, F. 1903. Grundzuge der Geologie des untern Amazonasgebietes (des Staates Pará in Brasilien). Leipzig: Verlag von Max Weg.Google Scholar
  10. Kern, D., G. D’aquino, T. Rodrigues, F. Frazao, W. Sombroek, T. Myers, and E. Neves. 2004. Distribution of Amazonian dark earths in the Brazilian Amazon. In Amazonian dark earths, ed. W.I. Woods, W. Teixeira, J. Lehmann, C. Steiner, A. Winklerprins, and L. Rebellato, 51–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lehmann, J., J. Pereira da Silva, C. Steiner, T. Nehls, W. Zech, and B. Glaser. 2003. Nutrient availability and leaching in an archaeological Anthrosol and a Ferralsol of the Central Amazon basin: Fertilizer, manure and charcoal amendments. Plant and Soil 249: 343–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Meggers, B.J. 1954. Environmental limitation on the development of culture. American Anthropologist 56: 801–824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mora, S., L. Herrera, I. Cavalier, and C. Rodrigues. 1991. Cultivars, anthropic soils and stability: A preliminary report of archaeological research in Araracuara colombian Amazonia. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University.Google Scholar
  14. Nimuendajú, C. 1953. Os Tapajó. Revista de Antropologia 1: 53–61.Google Scholar
  15. Orton, J. 1875. The Andes and the Amazon; or, across the continent of South America. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  16. Pabst, E. 1991. Critérios de distinção entre terra preta e latossolo na região de Belterra e os seus significados para a discussão pedogenética. Boletin do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Série Antropologia 7: 5–19.Google Scholar
  17. Rebellato, L., W.I. Woods, and E. Neves. 2009. Pre-Columbian settlement dynamics in the Central Amazon. In Amazonian dark earths: Wim Sombroek’s vision, ed. W.I. Woods, W. Teixeira, J. Lehman, C. Steiner, A. Winklerprins, and L. Rebellato, 15–31. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Smith, N.J.H. 1980. Anthrosols ad human carrying capacity in Amazonia. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 70: 553–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sombroek, W.G. 1966. Amazon soils: A reconaissance of the soils of the Brazilian Amazon region. Wageningen: Center for Agricultural Publications and Documentation.Google Scholar
  20. Stenborg, P., D.P. Schaan, and C.G. Figueiredo. 2018. Contours of the past: Lidar data expands the limits of late pre-columbian human settlement in the santarém region, lower amazon. Journal of Field Archaeology 43 (1): 44–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Woods, W.I. 1995. Comments on the Black Earth of Amazônia. Applied Geography Conference 18: 159–165.Google Scholar
  22. Woods, W.I., and W.M. Denevan. 2009. Amazonian dark earths: The first century of reports. In Amazonian dark earths: Wim Sombroek’s vision, ed. W.I. Woods, W. Teixeira, J. Lehman, C. Steiner, A. Winklerprins, and L. Rebellato, 1–14. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Woods, W.I., and J.M. McCann. 1999. The anthropogenic origin and persistence of Amazonian dark earths. In Conference of Latin Americanist geographers, ed. C. Caviedes, 7–14. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  24. Zech, W., L. Haumaier, R. Hempfling & P. MacCarthy. 1990. Ecological aspects of soil organic matter in tropical land use, 187–202. Madison: American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Soil Science Society of America, Inc.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ArchaeologyUniversity of Western of ParaSantaremBrazil

Section editors and affiliations

  • Dorian Q. Fuller
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK