Eighth Millennium Pottery from a Prehistoric Shell Midden in the Brazilian Amazon

Science  13 Dec 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5038, pp. 1621-1624
DOI: 10.1126/science.254.5038.1621


The earliest pottery yet found in the Western Hemisphere has been excavated from a prehistoric shell midden near Santarém in the lower Amazon, Brazil. Calibrated accelerator radiocarbon dates on charcoal, shell, and pottery and a thermoluminescence date on pottery from the site fall from about 8000 to 7000 years before the present. The early fishing village is part of a long prehistoric trajectory that contradicts theories that resource poverty limited cultural evolution in the tropics.