Serra da Capivara: the surprise of the century details the discovery process of the largest collection of cave paintings in the world

Product of years of research by writer Edna Bugni, the book Serra da Capivara: the surprise of the century, the story of a park addresses the discoveries of the largest open-air collection of cave paintings in the world.


From the first photograph analyzed by the São Paulo archaeologist of French origin Niéde Guidon, in 1963, to the creation of a national park in Piauí, The work covers approx. 60 years of history.

Without deviating from controversies, the author dedicates pages to the international debate on the dating of the remains found in Serra da Capivara – the oldest in the Americas and which propose new theories about the arrival of the first men to the continent.

One of the world's leading experts on prehistoric lithic technology, Frenchman Eric Boëda, states that the chipped stone tools found by Niéde Guidon, at Boqueirão da Pedra Furada (Piauí), were made by humans among 33 and 58 thousand years ago; they are, therefore, the oldest evidence of this occupation.


According to Boëda, “the discovery of paintings in Serra da Capivara was the surprise of the century!”. And this surprise is the raw material for the new book by Edna Bugni, Serra da Capivara: the surprise of the century. In the work launched by Primavera Editorial, The author covers about 60 years of history of the largest collection of paintings in the open world.

Without deviating from controversies, she dedicates pages to the international debate on the dating of these remains found in Piauí – the oldest in the Americas and which propose new theories about the arrival of the first men on the continent. The autograph session will be at 15 March, to 19 hours, in the bookstore Travessa (Rua dos Pinheiros, 513 – São Paulo).

São Paulo doctor, Edna Bugni made her first visit to Serra da Capivara in 2012, like a tourist. Under the impact of the emblematic park, wanted to buy books to better understand the history of a discovery that revolutionized world archeology but, to your surprise, there were few records on the subject.

Dissatisfied with the lack of records, took upon himself the task of gathering and ordering the scientific information, administrative, political and social that make up the historical narrative of the greatest archaeological and cultural heritage in Brazil.

“Upon learning that there was little information available, I understood the depth of ignorance of every Brazilian about one of our most special historical heritage. And, in an outbreak of arrogance, I took a chance and said to myself: I will tell this story! I returned to São Paulo completely taken by the project. I made some contacts with my publisher and, after verifying the theoretical viability of the project, I laid the first stone…”, account Edna.

Three months after the first trip to Piauí, Edna returned to São Raimundo Nonato – the first of a series of visits – for a long journey of research., analyzes, interviews and writing that consumed more than seven years.

“I felt a great joy when I realized that this book is the result of the work of a woman who, without being from the field of humanities, was willing to face the immense challenge of telling the story of one of the greatest natural patrimonies, archaeological and historical sites of Brazil and the world. in your report, the reader feels like crossing the Caatinga, walking its roads, entering the laboratories of the Museum of American Man, immersing yourself in each of the archaeological missions carried out in the region, participating in conversations with the greatest specialists in the field of archeology and meeting some of the residents who are part of the incredible and painful history of the formation of the National Park”, says the master in Social History and pedagogical coordinator at Colégio Santa Cruz, Fernanda Trindade Luciani, in the preface of the work.


Pages 13 and 14

“[…] Serra da Capivara is a unique place in the world. Unique for preserving a biome exclusive to Brazil, Caatinga. Unique for its natural beauty. Unique for holding the largest concentration of cave paintings on the planet. Unique for being a fundamental piece in the puzzle of the process of man's arrival in America. Unique for placing Brazilian archeology in the academic debate and in the international specialized literature. However, this ecological monument, human, cultural and historical had not yet received a study reconstructing the history of its construction. A lack that Edna Bugni's book begins to repair, in the expectation that many others will also be written in the coming years.

What draws attention in the elaboration of the work is the fantastic access to the sources. The author had an enviable breath to go through all the field notebooks of the 22 archaeological missions (written in Portuguese, french and spanish) carried out over decades, to access the accounting documents of the National Park, your meeting minutes, its statutes and its management plans, and to delve into the academic texts resulting from research in the archaeological sites of Capivara. In addition, conducted several interviews with its founders, employees and top researchers via email, meetings on-line or face-to-face meetings in different cities in Brazil and abroad. Bugni conversed with Niéde Guidon, central figure and great creator of this project; Silvia Maranca, researcher who faced the sertão, with Niede, in the first archaeological mission to Serra da Capivara in 1973; Eric Boëda, professor at Paris X University, Niéde's research partner and coordinator of archaeological missions in the National Park; and Fabio Parenti, Brazilian researcher specializing in lithics and professor at the Federal University of Paraná.”

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Page 31

“[…] Months later, Niéde was formally hired by the Center National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) as a researcher. At this time, her career as an archaeologist was consolidated, and Serra da Capivara – with its thought-provoking photos – is once again part of her dreams. On the other side, in North America, Silvia Maranca received an invitation to work at the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, specializing in prehistoric pottery. After a year, went to field research in Mexico, specifically in Oaxaca. It is Silvia's responsibility to interpret the ceramics found in the Serra da Capivara National Park, in addition to the training of technicians from the FUMDHAM ceramics laboratory.”

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Page 54

“[…] Indian things. in this ordinary way, banal and disconnected from reality, people from the southeast of Piauí understood the local rock collection until the 1970. They had a picnic in the gorges during the holidays, because the place was cooler; climbed on the rocks, played hide and seek in the dens, they were in love with the grotons, they raised cattle when there was water, they made fields of beans and corn - and they didn't care about the figures they didn't understand. The hungry hunters didn't care either., the maniçobeiros making bonfires in the shelters, darkening the paintings. Neither the lime makers cared, breaking the stone blocks to burn them in the kilns. nature was there, as always, available to man's extractive saga at an environmental cost never before valued.

With the arrival of the first researchers in the 1970 to Sao Raimundo Nonato, this perception began to change. It wasn't easy for either side."

Title: Serra da Capivara – The Surprise of the Century
Author: Edna Bugni
ISBN-13: 978-85-5578-116-2
Publisher: Editorial Spring
Number of pages: 236
Price: R$ 64,90

ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Edna Bugni from São Paulo joined the literature inspired by the close coexistence with the female universe and the common stories of women of her generation.

Born in 1952, in Capão Bonito (SP), the doctor specializing in gynecology and public health at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC-SP) became a writer to recreate with words the countless stories heard and lived in years of practice.

The debut novel, Summer Solstice, made clear the author's talent in building dense characters, forged in Brazilian daily life. In the book Serra da Capivara: the surprise of the century, Edna exercised her talent as a researcher, resulting in a work that brings together and organizes scientific information, administrative, political and social that make up the historical narrative of the greatest archaeological and cultural heritage in Brazil.

In Pindamonhangaba (SP), where currently resides, Edna Bugni writes, is mosaicist and militates in environmentalist causes. He is also a member of the Board of the Nascentes do Paranapanema State Park..

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER | Primavera Editorial is a publisher that seeks to present intelligent works, instigating and nurturing for women who seek social emancipation and power over their choices.


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