Print version ISSN 0104-9313
GASPAR NETO, Verlan Valle and SANTOS, Ricardo Ventura. The colour of the bones: scientific narratives and cultural appropriations of 'Luzia', a prehistoric skull from Brazil. Mana [online]. 2010, vol.5Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 0104-9313.
Over the last decade the skull of a woman excavated in Lagoa Santa, Minas Gerais, has turned into a scientific and cultural icon in Brazil. Luzia is taken to be one of the earliest human bone remains from the Americas, dating from approximately 11,500 years ago. In this work the authors analyze discourses and representations about and surrounding this prehistoric find. Situated between the domains of nature and culture, the specimen was transubstantiated into an individual possessing her own personal characteristics, while simultaneously being inserted into the debates on the biological and cultural ancestry of the Brazilian people. The work also explores the sociocultural appropriations of Luzia, prompting questions about the scientific disputes surrounding the primacies and temporalities involved in the occupation of the American continent and representations of prehistory, as well as the interfaces between race, science and society in contemporary Brazil.
Keywords : Anthropology of Science; Palaeoanthropology; Science and the Media; Identities; Colour/Race; Brazil.