The Atlantic Expansion and the Portuguese Material Culture in the Early Modern Age: An Archaeological Approach

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The Early Modern Age was a moment of extraordinary increase of worldwide communications. If, on the one hand, Europe enforced socioeconomic exploitation systems, models of political organisation, and sets of values and beliefs over vast regions bordering the Atlantic, on the other hand, it underwent profound changes as a result from this very contact. Archaeology has yet to give a significant contribution to the understanding of the dissemination of goods, species, habits, and knowledge from America and Africa in Portugal. There is general information about the trade and cultural life, especially in the court and the more favored strata, but lacks elements to characterize these impacts in time and space, but mostly at a social level. In this text, we analyze the available data about the presence of this exogenous material culture in the Portuguese archaeological contexts, regarding elements such as sugar, tobacco, timber, vegetables, animals, cotton, ivory, and slaves. Rather than a comprehensive study, this text is foremost an exploratory work, setting up guidelines for future research on this subject.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchaeology of Culture Contact and Colonialism in Spanish and Portuguese America
EditorsPedro Paulo A. Funari, Maria Ximena Senatore
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-08068-0
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Portuguese expansion
  • Material culture
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Brazil
  • Early Modern Age
  • Archaeology

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