This course is the third in a series of research seminars devoted to the study of ancient territorial or regional systems of settlement, and the spatial patterns of civilization in the Americas. In this iteration we review the literature on a series of complex societies (heterarchies, chiefdoms, regional polities) located within the biome we describe as Amazonia, without neglecting the cultural links of its ancient and current peoples with the Andean, Pacific, Atlantic, and Caribbean realms. Modern Amazonian archaeology is going through one of its most interesting chapters and offers a kaleidoscopic lens through which to examine ancient territorial cities in the tropics. Their rich past can fertilize current imaginaries of the urban and what it means to be urban in a tropical rainforest. It can also contribute to acknowledge the rich cultural heritage of Amazonian First Nations, whose sophisticated systems of inhabitation are being dismantled in the name of development and by systems of national planning which often fail to acknowledge their value and existence. We engage with the growing literature on Amazonian archaeology and interpret the regional agroecological constellations of its deep past through drawings and texts. Research is structured temporarily and geographically. Each student selects and studies in depth and longitudinally one archaeological site/system in the region. The drawings produced until mid-term are shared with a group of Waorani artists who then interpret them through their own lens by embroidering their visions of past living territories in yanchama (Amazonian papyrus), using naturally colored threads of chambira.

All Semesters

Spring 2023
Agroecological Urban Constellations of Pre-Columbian Amazonia
Ana María Durán Calisto