Ei valokuvaa Laura Maria Saari

Tutkimustuotoksia vuodessa

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Henkilökohtainen profiili

Tutkimuksen ja opetuksen kuvaus

Centering on themes of landscape and visual archaeology, my research concerns place-, boundary- and way-making, communication, memory and embodied signifying practices, and cartography, territory and power. I am especially interested in threshold spaces, which, for ancient South Americans, included lakes, wetlands and rivers. My PhD project focuses on the fluid frontiers of the Gran Chaco, an enduring source of fascination for generations of Nordic archaeologists, identifying modes and sites of exchange between the highland empires and the tropical lowlands. With reference to biogeography, the anthropology of liminality, the archaeology of Pre-Columbian regional circulations and Fennoscandian studies of dynamic shoreline contexts, I have conceived of this as a hydroliminal landscape

In previous work (2019), I reviewed early 20th century archaeological finds from mortuary contexts along the Paraná basin and the mounds (túmulos) of the Paraná Delta, also with reference to mounds in Mojos. These would have served as landmarks along paths of memory, structuring resource and political geographies. I highlighted that dispersal patterns of Guaraní and Arawak ceramics, in particular funerary urns, along waterways formed an archaeological indicator of greater circulation configurations, connecting the Paraná basin to Amazonia, especially through transit points in Xarayes and Mojos. Early archaeologists themselves pointed to similar burials up into Venezuela, which is consistent with maps and ethnohistorical accounts that, tracing the continent by its rivers, detailed the wanderings of the grande nation of Tupinambas to the Atlantic littoral and the borders of Peru. 

Certainly, the idea of migrations out of Amazonia related to the growth of rivers and forests is not new. However, the integration of the Chaco (and the Andean-Chaco borderlands) into these networks has significant implications for their study as resource circulation spaces. Chaco ethnography is replete with descriptions of seasonal reciprocal strategies, with both goods and riverine iconography travelling to the Andean foothills. Moreover, Guaraní and Arawak ceramics deep in the "virgin" forests of Northwest Argentina and Southern Bolivia provide important clues for the reconstruction of cultural chronologies in relation to climate change. Along with abandoned sites and topography and toponymy indicative of palaeochnnels, as well as evidence of past land and water management techniques associated with seasonally inundated areas, they suggest more humid past conditions. This panorama provides an orientative blueprint for more in-depth studies of past environmental dynamism and mobility, highlighting the possibilities of archaeological-palaeoecological collaborations.

Non-invasive methodologies that depart from mapping organisational principles of landscape and the comparative analysis of historical, archaeological and ethnographic sources, cartography, remote sensing and environmental data present significant advantages for archaeologists working in conditions of difficult access and poor preservation of materials. However, if "maps create the territories they represent", what are the ethical requirements for our reconstructions, especially in view of the increasingly sophisticated technology at our disposal? How do archaeologists operating within power and knowledge regimes account for these in grounded, contextually informed ways? How can we develop representations that reflect the dynamism and complexity of place-making, including affect, which consitute what is sometimes rather clinically referred to as landscape? How can archaeological praxis, from the outset, support sustainable environmental practices and a holistic valorisation of heritage? Seeking collaborative answers to these questions, I welcome guidance from researchers across disciplines, also with reference to truth-telling and reconcialition processes.


Koulutus / tieteellinen pätevyys

Maritime Archaeology, Master of Arts, University of Cádiz

24 lokakuuta 201615 lokakuuta 2019

Myöntöpäivä: 15 lokakuuta 2019

Performance Studies, Master of Arts, University of Seville

26 lokakuuta 20153 marraskuuta 2016

Myöntöpäivä: 3 marraskuuta 2016

Latin American Studies (Anthropology and History), Master of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

20 syyskuuta 201023 heinäkuuta 2011

Myöntöpäivä: 23 heinäkuuta 2011

International Relations and History, First Class Honours, University of Westminster, London

Myöntöpäivä: 4 heinäkuuta 2007


  • 615 Historia ja arkeologia
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