Institute of Archaeology

Ancient Societies of Amazonia

This third year course focuses on a critical reassessment of the various competing theories and hypotheses advanced to explain the development and character of ancient (archaeology) and historic (ethnography) societies that inhabit(ed) the tropical lowlands, particularly the Amazon basin.

The course focuses on the fundamental questions of how and in what ways did humans relate to (adaptation, contested 'negotiations') the complex and changing environments/landscapes of the tropical lowlands; and how and why these relations changed over time. Cultural ecological, cultural evolutionary, historical ecological and neo-Darwinian evolutionary approaches are discussed through an examination of the archaeological evidence pertaining to a mosaic of subsistence patterns (from hunter-gatherers to farmers) and modes of socio-political and economic organisation. 

Course information

  • Code: ARCL3060
  • Course unit value: 0.5
  • Coordinators: José Oliver
  • Prerequisite:
  • Handbook: open»

For registered students

  • Moodle page: open»
  • Reading list:


  • Not running in 2017-18

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