The unique functioning of a pre-Columbian Amazonian floodplain fishery

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Norman Baker

May 3, 2018, 11:51:38 AM5/3/18
to PNW Biochar

This is very interesting. It appears that the Amer-indians were even more advanced and creative than we recognize. The Amer-Indians are not mentioned by name but it is cleat they were probably involved in this kind of fishery.



Archaeology provides few examples of large-scale fisheries at the frontier between catching and
farming of fish. We analysed the spatial organization of earthen embankments to infer the functioning
of a landscape-level pre-Columbian Amazonian fishery that was based on capture of out-migrating
fish after reproduction in seasonal floodplains. Long earthen weirs cross floodplains. We showed that
weirs bear successive V-shaped features (termed ‘Vs’ for the sake of brevity) pointing downstream for
outflowing water and that ponds are associated with Vs, the V often forming the pond’s downstream
wall. How Vs channelled fish into ponds cannot be explained simply by hydraulics, because Vs
surprisingly lack fishways, where, in other weirs, traps capture fish borne by current flowing through
these gaps. We suggest that when water was still high enough to flow over the weir, out-migrating
bottom-hugging fish followed current downstream into Vs. Finding deeper, slower-moving water, they
remained. Receding water further concentrated fish in ponds. The pond served as the trap, and this
function shaped pond design. Weir-fishing and pond-fishing are both practiced in African floodplains
today. In combining the two, this pre-Columbian system appears unique in the world

(2) The unique functioning of a pre-Columbian Amazonian floodplain fishery. Available from: [accessed May 03 2018].
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