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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Brazilian zooarchaeology originated and primarily developed through the study of coastal sites. Shell-mounds were among the first archaeological sites to be identified in Brazil due to their visibility, aided by their size, prominent locations, and proximity to the coast. Since the seventeenth century, religious missionaries, travellers, naturalists, and researchers proposed explanations for the origins and significance of these shell concentrations. This chapter reviews theoretical and methodological changes in perspective regarding shell-mounds and presents recent developments focusing on the ritual aspect of these sites in Brazil. Site formation analysis based upon faunal remains has proven to be advantageous to discussions on shell-mound construction, function, and performance of feasts.

Keywords: shell-mounds, feasts, formation processes, ritual, Brazil

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