Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Tupi-Guarani Archaeology in Brazil

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2487


Tupi-Guarani archaeology is one of the most studied themes in Brazil and South America, mainly because Tupi-Guarani-speaking peoples, living along the Atlantic coast, were among the first contacted by Europeans around 1500 CE. As a result of this early historical contact, a massive written record has been created about these Indigenous peoples. Ethnohistorical and ethnographic records provide a picture of the Tupi-Guarani as living in large villages organized in regional chiefdoms commanded by political leaders (caciques) and shamans (pajés). Their economy was heavily based on slash-and-burn agriculture (maize, manioc, beans, and squash, among many other crops), but hunting and collecting has always remained vital. The practice of war and anthropophagy has decisive social significance as a means of acquiring status and power as well as expanding territories through conquering, establishing political alliances, and, mainly after contact, enslaving other peoples.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Research in Archaeology (LEPAARQ)Federal University of Pelotas, Institute of Human SciencesPelotasBrazil
  2. 2.Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE)Universidade de São Paulo (USP)São PauloBrazil