Work in Progress Talk: Denise Schaan

Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 3:00pm

Geoglyphs: Geometric Earthworks of Pre-Columbian Western Amazonia

Indigenous groups who lived between 2,000 and 1,300 years ago in Amazonia built impressive geometric earthworks across a region roughly 60,000 kmĀ², that encompasses the western Brazilian state of Acre, south of the state of Amazonas, and northern Bolivia. These enormous earthworks (which reach diameters of up to 380 meters) were only revealed to Western eyes as deforestation advanced across the region.  Denise Schaan has been studying the geometric enclosures with colleagues from Brazil and Finland during the last 5 years, locating more than 250 of such structures, which have impressed scholars working in the region, long thought to be unsuited for permanent settlements.  As a Greenleaf fellow at the Latin American Library, Schaan has been looking for clues on why indigenous groups in that region would have built such structures, and she will discuss new findings.