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The coins of Indians: a case study about the meanings of archaeological heritage to the local communities of Vila de Joanes, Marajo Island, Brazil


The paper address the preliminary results of the Public Archaeology project that is being conducted by the author at Joanes, a small fishermen village in Marajo Island, state of Pará, Brazil, considering the ruins of an historic site assigned to a religious mission from the late XVIIth Century. The reflections about the local communities' perceptions of the site highlight the underlying logic of collecting artifacts – a local common practice – and the subsequent organization of small 'domestic collections'. I argue that collecting in these contexts should not be regarded as looting or destruction, but as a singular form of heritage and past appropriation. I believe this discussion will contribute to the understanding of the relationship between small scale communities and the archaeological heritage in Brazilian Amazon.

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