20225402(en)/4 - Trees for Marine Hunting. Forest Procurement and Wood Technology for Harpoon Manufacture in the Antofagasta Littoral, Northern Chile
TREES FOR MARINE HUNTING. FOREST PROCUREMENT AND WOOD TECHNOLOGY FOR HARPOON MANUFACTURE IN THE ANTOFAGASTA LITTORAL, NORTHERN CHILE
ÁRBOLES PARA LA CAZA MARINA. APROVISIONAMIENTO FORESTAL Y TECNOLOGÍA DE LA MADERA EN LOS ARPONES DEL LITORAL DE ANTOFAGASTA, NORTE DE CHILE
Daniela Grimberg, María José Figueroa, Benjamín Ballester y Valentina Varas
Sometimes, objects are designed in an apparently irrational way, however, they are merely the result of other rationalities different from our own. The case of the pre-Columbian wooden harpoons for marine hunting from the coast of Antofagasta provides an excellent example of this, because, although it was a key technology for their way of life, they designed it using materials almost entirely absent from the littoral, substantially increasing their production costs. We address this problem through a taxonomic and technological analysis of a sample of 38 wooden harpoon heads from sites dating from 6500 cal. BP to European contact. This will serve as input for discussing the strategies used in the procurement of forest resources and the logic of wood management in the coastal communities of Antofagasta. We propose that cultural, symbolic, political, and social factors predominated in the decision to use wood in the world’s most arid desert.