Thursday, September 03, 2015

Sambaqui viz. Sambaquis - The Shell Midden Mounds of Santa Catarina, Brazil in the Jabuticabeira Region Mark the Turtle viz. Tortoise of Heaven as the Stars of Columba at the Bottom of the World

This is a very significant posting for our work on the ancient land survey of Native America by astronomy, a project which is reaching a climax soon. The archaeological site of Jabuticabeira II in Brazil is the main most southerly significant "mound" site known in South America. As such, it will be involved in some astonishingly fantastic original findings in the next few postings.

The name Jabuticabeira is both the name of a tree that bears the fruit Jabuticaba as well as the name of an archaeological location in the Santa Catarina region of southern Brazil, an area which is marked by a number of sambaqui viz. sambaquis (it is unclear to us which form is the correct plural in English) ancient mounds formed by prehistoric peoples using shell middens.

The name Jabuticabeira derives from the Portuguese word "Jabuti" meaning "turtle" or "tortoise". Jabuticaba means "place of the turtle(s)". That name origin will prove to be important.

Jabuticabeira is described as follows by A.C. Colonese, Matthew James Collins, Alexandre Lucquin, Michael Eustace, Y. Hancock, Raquel de Almeida Rocha Ponzoni, Long-Term Resilience of Late Holocene Coastal Subsistence System in Southeastern South America, PLOS ONE,, 13 April 2014, Volume 9, Issue 4, e93854, accessed at Research Gate:
"Jabuticabeira II (Jab-II), at ~7 km from the present day shoreline at Santa Catarina, is one of the best-studied sambaqui sites of Brazil.... The stratigraphic sequence is composed of alternating layers of marine shells and fish bones.... Numerous human burials and the absence of compelling domestic activities point to a ceremonial function of the site from 3,137–2,794 to 1,860–1,524 cal BP."
Pedro Ignacio Schmitz in Prehistoric Hunters and Gatherers of Brazil at the Journal of World Prehistory, Vol. 1, No. 1 (March 1987), pp. 53-126, published by Springer,, writes in the Abstract (here excerpted) as follows with relevance to the sambaqui(s):
"Around 7000 B.P., two new traditions emerged to exploit new habitats. The Humaitá tradition, characterized by large bifacial tools and an absence of stone projectile points, expanded over the broad-leaved forests in the south, leaving the open landscapes dominated by the projectile point-using Umbu tradition. The sambaqui (shell midden) tradition, also emphasizing large bifaces, developed along rugged portions of the southern coast. By 4000 B.P., groups along the coast of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo were using domesticated or semidomesticated plants, perhaps sweet manioc. Maize was being grown in Minas Gerais by about 3500 B.P. Carbon-14 dates from numerous sites indicate, however, that the hunter-gatherer way of life persisted in many places long after the advent of pottery-making horticulturalists." [emphasis added]
A map of the sambaqui in the Jabuticabeira region of Santa Catarina, Brazil (Brasil) was found online in Ximena S. Villagran, Paulo DeBlasis, Paulo C.F. Giannini, Primeros estudios micromorfológicos en sambaquís brasileños (sitio Jabuticabeira II, Estado de Santa Catarina). Intersecciones antropol. [online]. 2009, vol.10, n.2, pp. 359-364. ISSN 1850-373X. Permalink

We redraw that map further below in this posting for decipherment purposes, but we would like to emphasize that maps such as the one cited above are the soul of true archaeological research and we are grateful to the authors for the wonderful work done. Below we present their Resumen and Abstract of the above-cited article in both languages to do honor to their service. Their key finding is their conclusion in the last sentence of the Resumen viz. Abstract that the formation of the sambaqui sites "que transciende antiguas dicotomías funcionales" i.e. "transcends traditional functional dichotomies".


En esta nota, se presentan los resultados preliminares del estudio micromorfológico realizado en el depósito ictiológico que recubre al sambaquí Jabuticabeira II, desarrollados en el marco del proyecto temático interdisciplinario Sambaquis e paisagem. El análisis microestratigráfico permitió identificar procesos pre-depositacionales antrópicos que actuaron en la formación de esta estructura, relacionada con la quema y transporte de material mineral (arenas terrígenas) y residuos orgánicos (carbones) e inorgánicos de origen biológico (huesos, fi tolitos, diatomeas, agregados silíceos). Los efectos de las alteraciones post-depositacionales sobre estas partículas pueden observarse a través de trazas de disolución en los huesos y la formación de un material mineral fino de composición fosfática. Esta articulación de evidencias confirma la compleja combinación de actividades y procesos de alteración involucrados en la formación de sitios sambaquís, que transciende antiguas dicotomías funcionales.

Palabras clave: Micromorfología; Sambaquís; Sedimentos arqueológicos; Geoarqueología.


FIRST MICROMORPHOLOGICAL STUDIES OF BRAZILIAN SAMBAQUÍS, JABUTICABIERA II SITE, SANTA CATARINA STATE. In this note, preliminary results from the micromorphological study of the fish mound that covers the Jabuticabeira II sambaquí site, developed within the interdisciplinary research project Sambaquis e paisagem, are presented. Microstratigraphic analyses enabled the identification of anthropic pre-depositional processes that participated in the formation of this large structure, related to the burning and transport of mineral and organic material (terrigenous sand and charcoal) and inorganic residues of biological origin (bones, phytoliths, diatoms and siliceous aggregates). The effects of post-depositional alterations over these particles can be observed through dissolution traces in bone and the formation of a fine mineral material of phosphatic composition. The articulation of the evidence confirms the complex combination of activities and alteration processes involved in the formation of sambaquí sites, which transcends traditional functional dichotomies.

Keywords: Micromorphology; Sambaquís; Archaeological sediments; Geoarchaeology."

In other words, these mounds were not created just by ancient peoples throwing away their garbage viz. shells. Quite the contrary, they go beyond simple function. Something else was at work, and, as we have discovered, that something else was the ancient land survey of Native America by astronomy.

In that ancient land survey, the sambaqui, i.e. the shell midden mounds of Brazil in the Jabuticabeira region, as we have found, mark the stars of "Jabuti" the turtle viz. tortoise of heaven as seen by the ancients in the stars of Columba (see e.g. Palenque, Burgos Municipality, our Y-Axis). The sambaquis view Columba from the astronomical perspective of Northern Hemisphere peoples, i.e. as the "bottom of the world", where the mythology of the ancients of the Old World also placed the turtle, with the world on its back.

This is eminently clear from our decipherment images below. The first image is a combination of two graphic elements. The left side shows the locations of the sambaqui in the Jabuticabeira region of Brazil and the right side shows the corresponding stars of Columba. Click that image to enlarge. The second image shows only the image of the sambaqui locations, while the third image shows only the star correspondences in Columba, with star positions via the software astronomy program Starry Night Pro at http://astronomy. The star magnitude limit was set at 6.5 but we removed a few faint stars to make it easier to see some of the groupings of brighter stars more easily. Note also that the ancients sometimes marked two very near stars as only one star.

We have added numbers 1 to 20 to each group of sambaqui and to the corresponding groupings of stars to make it easier to see and identify the correspondences. Most of the correspondences are eminently clear.

Image 1 (below)
Locations of Sambaqui in Brazil and the Corresponding Columba Stars
(click the graphic to get a larger image on your screen)

Image 2 (below)
The Locations of the Sambaqui in Southern Santa Catarina, Brazil

Image 3 (below)
The Corresponding Stars in Columba via Starry Night Pro
As Deciphered by Andis Kaulins
(not affiliated with any of the cited sources)

In subsequent postings, we shall be referring to Jabuticabeira in the context of the ancient land survey of Native America by astronomy. Some great stuff!

THIS POSTING IS Posting Number 133 of
The Great Mound, Petroglyph and Painted Rock Art Journey of Native America

Sambaqui viz. Sambaquis - The Shell Midden Mounds of Santa Catarina, Brazil in the Jabuticabeira Region Mark the Turtle viz. Tortoise of Heaven as the Stars of Columba at the Bottom of the World

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Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
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    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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