The Tupiguarani

The Chiriguanos (Chiriguana or Chirihuana) were a branch of the Guarani in the south Andean foothills and adjacent tropical savannas (Figure 3.2). Whereas Tupinamba populations were more common in the north of Brazil, reaching the littoral of Sao Paulo, the Guarani spread farther to the south into what is today Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina (Julien 2005, 2007; Neves 1998; Silva Noelli 2004, 2008) (Figure 3.2). Using linguistic data, their origins can be traced back to Central Amazonia, although this location is debatable. What is clear is the extensive Guarani expansion. Despite this pan-regional dispersion, many scholars still ponder the difficulty of assessing their origins or patterns of migration using linguistic data, with archaeology only as a supplementary line of evidence (Bro- chado Proenza 1973, 1984; Lathrap 1970; Meggers 1995; Silva Noelli 2004, 2008; Susnik 1975). Four aspects have triggered this debate. First, these groups were relatively mobile, a feature manifested in the abandonment and later reoccupation of fertile territories in fluvial and interfluvial areas. Second, because their cultural materials (particularly ceramics) did not change substantially over time, it is difficult to develop detailed regional chronologies for comparative ends (Brochado Proenza 1973:32; Silva Noelli 2004). Third, little is known about the kinds of relations that the Tupiguarani maintained with neighboring linguistic groups in terms of exchange, conquest, or assimilation, or the effects of these processes in the production of cultural materials (Alves Correa and Gomes Samia 2008; Hornborg 2005; Neves 1998, 2008; Silva Noelli 2004, 2008). Fourth, considering that a substantial period of time has elapsed, archaeologists

Tupiguarani expansion in the eastern tropics. To the north are the Tupinamba, and to the south, the Guarani. Map based on Silva 2004, 2008; Brochado 1973, 1984; Alconini 2015

Figure 3.2. Tupiguarani expansion in the eastern tropics. To the north are the Tupinamba, and to the south, the Guarani. Map based on Silva 2004, 2008; Brochado 1973, 1984; Alconini 2015.

still debate whether there is a spatial relationship between the distribution of ancient Tupiguarani ceramics and the more recent Tupi-Guarani speakers (Heckenberger 2008).

Nevertheless, there is consensus in considering that the Tupiguarani ceramic tradition was formed by at least two main sub traditions. The first was the polychrome Tupinamba tradition that appeared by 1000 B.C. and even earlier, somewhere in Central Amazonia. From this point, it spread south along the Brazilian littoral until Sao Paulo. For Brochado Proenza (1984), this painted assemblage related to the Tupinamba linguistic group, although this association remains to be proven (see also Neves 2011; Heckenberger 2002, 2008; Heckenberger et al. 1998). The second subtradition, the Guarani, emphasized plastic decoration—although some were painted. These wares were tempered with ground shell and had corrugated surfaces with plastic decoration including fingernail incisions, fingerprints, stamps, and punctuations. This ceramic subtradition appeared around A.D. 1000, and encompassed the southern portion of Brazil and the riparian areas of the Parana, La Plata, and Uruguay Rivers. Later Guarani variants during the historic period had heavily brushed surfaces (Brochado Proenza 1973; Brochado Proenza et al. 1969; La Salvia and Brochado 1989).

In southeastern Bolivia, no systematic archaeological research was conducted to assess the extension and timing of the Guarani presence. Most Guarani sites are relatively late and date around A.D. 1400-1500 (Al- conini 2015). Nevertheless, a handful of sites suggest an earlier presence, like the Guarani funerary site discovered in San Pedro in the Cordillera dating approximately to A.D. 200-400 (Parssinen and Siiriainen 2003). These findings pose the question of the antiquity of the earliest Guarani intrusions into the Andean foothills.

 
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