The Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of the University of São Paulo (MAE) has and maintains one of the largest collections of Amazonian archaeology in the country, consisting of three main collections: the Harald Shultz Collection, created in the 50s; the Tapajônica Collection, acquired in the 1970s from Ubirajara Bentes, a resident of Santarém; and the Banco Santos Collection, housed in the MAE since 2005 by court order.
Among these objects produced by ancient inhabitants of the Amazonia, two distinct cultures stand out from the fine art expressed on the ceramics they developed: one found in the region of Santarém, another on Marajó Island. They are artifacts whose shapes and images refer to the universe of each culture, in representations that convey something of their ancient myths and rites, habits and values of these past societies.
In 2013, motivated by the idea of revisiting the places of origin of the objects from these collections to produce a documentary, a team formed by Silvio Luiz Cordeiro (archaeologist and documentary filmmaker), Carla Gibertoni Carneiro and Cristina Demartini (both archaeologists), Wagner Souza e Silva (photographer) and Luiz Bargmann (documentary filmmaker) traveled to Pará during the winter and summer on the Lower Amazon region through the landscapes of Belém, Icoaraci, Cachoeira do Arari, Monte Alegre, Santarém and Óbidos.
On these trips, the team recorded sounds and images in urban archaeological sites and in more distant sites, like the cave paintings found in the Serra do Ererê in Monte Alegre. But also documented the impressive technical reserve of the Goeldi Museum in Belém; the artifacts exhibited in the Marajó Museum, gathered by the Jesuit Giovanni Gallo; the archaeological and historical collection of the Integrated Museum of Obidos; as well as a small collection of Tapajônica pieces, gathered by a family from Santarém. However, the most significant part of this audiovisual and photographic collection created by the team on the trips are the stories of the people who, for several reasons, maintain a relationship with places and objects from the world of Amazonian archaeology , giving meanings and values to them today.
In addition to the documentary, the other videos and photographs that show the team during the recording can be seen as documents of the process of constructing a narrative about Amazonian archaeology collections and, in a way, they reflect the rediscovery of cultural landscapes where these ancient objects were found, landscapes inhabited since ancient times, still little known to the general public, landscapes intensely transformed over time, especially in the one in which we live.