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Archaeological Earthen Mound Complex in Patos Lagoon, Southern Brazil: Chronological Model and Freshwater Influence

  • Rafael G Milheira (a1), Kita D Macario (a2), Ingrid S Chanca (a2) and Eduardo Q Alves (a2) (a3)


In the present work, we assess the chronology of archaeological sites known as earthen mounds, commonly found at the Pampas biome, among the lowlands of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. We focused on the Pontal da Barra settlement, which is a testimony of the long-term occupation of indigenous groups in the swamp and wet environment of Patos Lagoon, southern Brazil. A Bayesian chronological model based on the radiocarbon (14C) dating of 17 samples of fish otolith, 5 charcoal fragments, and 2 bones (human and dog) allowed determination of the beginning of the occupation as well as the occupational synchronism of the different mounds. The nature of the samples allows us to study the local 14C reservoir effect through the comparison between the group of marine and terrestrial samples, deriving a reservoir offset value of 63±53 14C yr for this particular area, indicating a strong freshwater influence in the lagoon system. We estimate the start of human intervention in the landscapes of southern Patos Lagoon to be around 2200 cal BP, with the most intense activity between 1800 and 1200 cal BP.


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