Early Fishing on the Atacama Desert Coast of Southern Peru

Author(s): Daniel Sandweiss

Year: 2017


The coastal Atacama Desert in southern Peru has some of the oldest and best documented fishing sites in western South America, including Terminal Pleistocene through Early Holocene components at Quebrada Jaguay and Quebrada Tacahuay and Early to Middle Holocene components at the Ring Site and Quebrada de los Burros. These sites have offered insight into the antiquity and variability of the early fishing tradition, the antiquity and features of coast-highland interaction, and coastal settlement patterns. Focusing in particular on data from Quebrada Jaguay and the Ring Site, I summarize current understanding of early maritime adaptations in the northern Atacama Desert. I conclude by identifying unresolved questions and potential approaches to solving them, such as: use of terrestrial resources by fishing groups in light of differential preservation of floral and faunal remains; did objects move between coast and highlands via trade or group mobility; and what is missing from the archaeological record—especially in the water and resource rich coastal valleys where no early sites have been recovered—and what that may mean for understanding early population dynamics.

Cite this Record

Early Fishing on the Atacama Desert Coast of Southern Peru. Daniel Sandweiss. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431024)


Atacama Fishing Peru

Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17333