Carla Jaimes Betancourt on "The Ancient Amazon"

Monday, March 22, 2021
9:00 AM EST, online event

Please join us for this classroom visit by Dr Carla Jaimes Betancourt, who will speak on "The ancient Amazon: Pre-Columbian monumental architecture and the origins of complex societies in the Llanos de Mojos, Bolivia".

This presentation will provide an overview of the history of southwestern Amazon, which dates back at least 10,000 years. We will focus on the monumental and cultural achievements of two specific areas of study: (a) the ring ditches in the Northeast or Iténez region and (b) the monumental mounds to the Southeast of the Llanos de Moxos. Their configuration, landscape transformation, regional patterns and internal organization show a long and complex social dynamic that was not exempt from the influence of broader regional processes. From the analysis of different types of archaeological finds from excavations of three monumental mounds and three ringditches, as well as surface material from more than a hundred archaeological sites, we offer a diachronic view of the reasons and timing of the sites’ transformations. This includes an assessment on the nature of monumentality. This presentation reflects on the political, ritual and defensive role of the mounds and ring ditches, and their relationship with the sudden transformations that occurred largely in Amazonia: the first during the first centuries A.D., and the second,at the beginning of the second millennium.

The event is hosted by UVA Professor Sonia Alconini's courses in ancient Archaeology. Log in to the zoom presentation at
(Meeting ID: 974 0993 9357 and Passcode: 031470)


Carla Jaimes Betancourt is since 2016 lecturer at the Department of Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn in Germany, and co-director of the BASA Museum (Collection of the Americas in Bonn). She holds a degree in Archaeology from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia, and has completed her PhD in Anthropology of the Americasat the University of Bonn. Her research focuses on social complexity in the southwestern Amazon, processes of expansion and ethnogenesis in the South American lowland. Her research also promotes collaborative archaeologywith local indigenous populations.She was also co-director of the German-Bolivian project in the Llanosof Mojosfor over a decade, which explored monumental mound construction and ring ditch systems in the tropical lowlands. She is currently part of the Human and Environmental Relations in the Pre-Columbian Amazon (HERCA) project.