My thesis investigates the socio-cultural and linguistic development of pre-Columbian Amazonia, with a particular focus on the period between 500 BC and AD 1500. In assembling and analyzing data from archaeology, linguistics, ethnohistory, ethnography, and geography in a Geographical Information System (G.I.S.), it synthesizes large amounts of empirical data from several fields to facilitate long-term, macro-scale reconstructions of pre-Columbian socio-cultural processes in the region. These reconstructions focus on identifying the socio-economic and socio-cultural mechanisms underlying processes of cultural and linguistic expansion and subsequent patterns of ethno-linguistic diversity. The thesis thus addresses long-standing debates on the role of migration, ecology, subsistence strategies, trade, language, and ethnicity in such processes, and offers new explanations of the distribution of language families and ethno-linguistic groups in Amazonia.
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