Discussing early societies Fishtail points and early social practices seen from the Southern Cone

Author(s): Nora Flegenheimer; Roxana Cattaneo

Year: 2017


The early peopling of South America is related to great environmental and material variability. Discussions must deal with early archaeological records including a variety of lithic assemblages in tropical lands, the Pacific coast, the Andes and the extensive southern plains and plateaus. In this context, fishtails are the most widespread point type exhibiting a dispersed pattern throughout most of South America during terminal Pleistocene times. They are therefore useful to think about with respect to situated social practices of the people who made and used them.

Some practices related to these early settlers were identified throughout the southern cone including a very selective choice of raw materials and of landscapes. Point manufacture is described as sequential both in the Pampas and Patagonia reinforcing the existence of similarities in distant regions. Through the detailed study of manufacturing reduction events and of flakes we propose that some production choices conform a corpus shared in a very large area and are independent of local environmental circumstances. This situation is adequate to assess how these shared practices could have constituted traditional memories which were socially incorporated and transmitted, providing a sense of meaning among dispersed groups settling into a mostly empty landscape.

Cite this Record

Discussing early societies Fishtail points and early social practices seen from the Southern Cone. Nora Flegenheimer, Roxana Cattaneo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429715)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15201