The introduction of the bow and arrow in the Argentine Andes (29–34º S): A preliminary metric approximation
The study size patterns in projectile points (n=39) from six sites in the Argentine Andes (29–34°S) associated with 17 radiocarbon dates with medians spanning 3080–470 cal BP. This is the region’s first attempt to metrically distinguish arrows and darts, which is based on shoulder or maximum width, following Shott. The northern part of the study area (29°S) includes the earliest arrow point, slightly after 3080 cal BP. This suggests a rapid spread of this technology from the central Andes 16–26°S, where early arrows are dated ~3500–3000 cal BP. However, at 32 and 34°S, arrows are not clearly present until 1280 cal BP. For 1280–400 cal BP (European contact), 96% of points were identified as arrows, suggesting the bow and arrow replaced spear-based weapon systems. A single late dart from 34°S may reflect a late use of this space by hunter-gatherers. The predominance of arrows beginning at 1280 cal BP is associated with broader changes such as demographic growth, reduced mobility, low-level food production, and herding economies, following similar trends in other regions.
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