Early Archaic human skeletal remains found in a burial context in Lapa do Santo in
east-central Brazil provide a rare glimpse into the lives of hunter-gatherer
communities in South America, including their rituals for dealing with the dead.
These included the reduction of the body by means of mutilation, defleshing, tooth
removal, exposure to fire and possibly cannibalism, followed by the secondary burial
of the remains according to strict rules. In a later period, pits were filled with
disarticulated bones of a single individual without signs of body manipulation,
demonstrating that the region was inhabited by dynamic groups in constant
transformation over a period of centuries.