Keywords

Diatoms, Environmental Reconstruction, Bolivia, Amazonian Archaeology

Abstract

The Llanos de Mojos is a tropical savanna in the Bolivian Amazon with strong seasonality. Abundant earthworks and anthropogenically shaped landscapes suggest that precolumbian inhabitants had a much larger impact on the region than previously believed. This study examines changes in the hydrological landscapes of the savanna as a proxy for precolumbian land-use practices over time in West Central Mojos. A sediment core from the Quinato Wetland was sampled for diatom analysis. Although diatoms were poorly preserved, they were present and had changing species compositions at different depths. Comparison to other diatom assemblages reported in the Quinato Wetland suggests that the diatom taxa present in individual sediment cores are distinctly shaped by the hydrological conditions at that location rather than the larger scale conditions of the entire wetland. Further diatom analysis could help identify location specific changes in water levels over time to reconstruct the timing of earthwork construction and maintenance. The application of diatom analysis methods to archaeological questions about land-use practices in West Central Mojos has the potential to demonstrate how large-scale human settlements in parts of the Amazon were made possible through the management of landscapes once thought of as untouched by human influence.

Completion Date

2024

Semester

Spring

Committee Chair

Zavodny, Emily

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Anthropology

Format

application/pdf

Language

English

Rights

In copyright

Release Date

May 2029

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)

Accessibility Status

Meets minimum standards for ETDs/HUTs

Restricted to the UCF community until May 2029; it will then be open access.

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