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Lagoa Santa Revisited: An Overview of the Chronology, Subsistence, and Material Culture of Paleoindian Sites in Eastern Central Brazil

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Lagoa Santa, a karstic area in eastern Central Brazil, has been subject to research on human paleontology and archaeology for 175 years. Almost 300 Paleoindian human skeletons have been found since Danish naturalist Peter Lund's pioneering work. Even so, some critical issues such as the role of rockshelters in settlement systems, and the possible paleoclimatic implications of the peopling of the region have yet to be addressed. We present some results obtained from recent excavations at four rockshelters and two open-air sites, new dates for human Paleoindian skeletons, and a model to explain the cultural patterns observed so far. It is also argued that the Paleoindian subsistence system at Lagoa Santa was similar to other locations in South America: generalized small-game hunting complemented by fruits, seed, and root gathering.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2012

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