Although Brazil occupies almost half the continent of South America, its archeology attracted little interest until recently from either nationals or foreigners. This is attributable to the characteristics of the remains. There are no buildings of stone, tools and ornaments of metal, or elaborate artifacts of cloth, wood, and bone. Except along the Amazon, pottery is not noted for its aesthetic qualities; even there, complete vessels with well preserved decoration are scarce. Shell middens along the southern coast are spectacular in size but deficient in cultural content. Other sites are predominantly shallow middens containing fragments of pottery, or flakes and minimally shaped tools of stone.