Myths about the Tropical Rainforest Hunter-Gatherers: A reappraisal from South America

Author(s): Gustavo Politis

Year: 2015


Twenty years ago the Foraging Spectrum highlighted the variability in forager behavior around the world and generated several models to reconstruct the lifeways of these kind of societies in the past. However, contemporary tropical rainforest hunter-gatherers of South America are still underrepresented in the current debate and they are rarely used as a source of analogy to interpret prehistoric foragers. This is partially due to the existence of several myths about them that still persist in the archaeological scenario. These myths are: a) most contemporary hunter-gatherers from the Southamerican tropical rainforest were horticulturists in the past. Therefore, they are the result of a sort of cultural "regression ", b) edible resources in the tropical rainforest are scarce and difficult to obtain, and c) related to this, viable hunter-gatherers populations in tropical rainforests are extremely difficult to maintain without the contribution of domesticated plants. In this presentation these myths will be challenged with the information obtained among contemporary hunter-gatherers from this kind of forest (nukak, hoti, awá, etc) and their potential for interpreting prehistoric hunter-gatherers will be discussed.

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Cite this Record

Myths about the Tropical Rainforest Hunter-Gatherers: A reappraisal from South America. Gustavo Politis. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394817)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;