Shaped from the clays of the Amazon estuary, the elaborately decorated red, white, and black ceramics of the Marajó culture are a highlight of the Marvelous Mud exhibition at the Denver Art Museum (until 18 September 2011). They are the work of an ancient Amazonian culture largely unknown to all but a handful of specialists, who occupied the Brazilian island of Marajó from AD 400 to 1300. Located at the mouth of the Amazon River, Marajó is about the size of the Netherlands, and is flooded for half the year. Marajó people survived by building large artificial mounds to support their dwellings, ceremonial spaces, and cemeteries, and they lived by fishing and aquaculture.
This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 48. Click here to subscribe