Language, ritual and historical reconstruction: Towards a linguistic, ethnographical and archaeological account of Upper Xingu Society
In this article we present results from interdisciplinary research among the Kuikuro of the Upper Xingu (Brazil). The project integrates linguistic, ethnographic and archaeological data as a means to reconstruct the processes through which peoples speaking languages of the three largest South American linguistic groupings (Arawak, Carib, and Tupi), as well as a language isolate (Trumai), came to create a unique social system: the Upper Xingu sociocultural complex. We address the following questions: how did this system – spanning from the 9th century AD until the present and formed by peoples with distinct cultures and origins – come into being? Which cultural bases and historical circumstances led to its structuring? What role did language and multilingualism play in this process?