ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

New data on archaeofaunal remains from artificial earthen mounds (lomas) in southwestern Amazonia reveal that swamp-eels (Synbranchus spp.) played an important role in pre-Columbian economies. To date, little attention has been paid to synbranchid taxa in the archaeological literature. Furthermore, information on their osteology and ecology is quite scant. In this paper, we use ichthyoarchaeological remains from the Loma Salvatierra site (Llanos de Mojos, Bolivia) in addition to references from the biological and zooarchaeological literature, to summarize and compare the distribution of synbranchid eels through time at pre-Columbian sites in the wetlands of Central and South America. Synbranchid eels are rarely documented as a food resource in present-day Brazil and Bolivia; however, Synbranchus marmoratus consumption has been documented for pre-Columbian and present-day Panama, where the species is called Morena. Although swamp-eels were exploited and appreciated during the colonial period in some regions of South America, their consumption there seems to have been abandoned or greatly reduced during the last century.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Gabriela Prestes-Carneiro
and Philippe B´
New data on archaeofaunal remains from artificial earthen mounds (lomas) in southwestern Amazonia
reveal that swamp-eels (Synbranchus spp.) played an important role in pre-Columbian economies. To date, little
attention has been paid to synbranchid taxa in the archaeological literature. Furthermore, information on their
osteology and ecology is quite scant. In this paper, we use ichthyoarchaeological remains from the Loma
Salvatierra site (Llanos de Mojos, Bolivia) in addition to references from the biological and zooarchaeological
literature, to summarize and compare the distribution of synbranchid eels through time at pre-Columbian sites
in the wetlands of Central and South America. Synbranchid eels are rarely documented as a food resource in
present-day Brazil and Bolivia; however, Synbranchus marmoratus consumption has been documented for
pre-Columbian and present-day Panama, where the species is called morena. Although swamp-eels were
exploited and appreciated during the colonial period in some regions of South America, their consumption there
seems to have been abandoned or greatly reduced during the last century.
Keywords: pre-Columbian fishing, ichthyoarchaeology, Amazonian archaeology, Synbranchus fishing,
southwestern Amazonia
The study of changing food consumption practices is critical to understand-
ing colonial encounters and social transformations; for example, the process of
cross-cultural exchanges is evident in the integration of many Native American
food products into European cuisines after the colonization of the Americas (e.g.,
Dietler 2006). Similarly, the declining use and abandonment of local foods in the
Americas provides insight into the changing social conditions before, during, and
after colonization. However, no single source of evidence covers the entire period
from prehistory to the present. Therefore, zooarchaeological studies must be
combined with ethnohistorical sources to reveal long-term patterns of animal
food consumption. Available zooarchaeological data and ethnohistorical infor-
mation allows us to investigate swamp-eel (Synbranchus spp.) consumption in the
Amazon basin from pre-Columbian to present times to explore the impact of
colonization on long-lasting food practices.
Currently, synbranchid eels (Teleostei, Synbranchiformes, Synbranchidae)—
also known as swamp-eels, mu¸cum, or anguilas de agua dulce and, in Panama,
eozoologie, Arch´
eobotanique: Soci´
es, Pratiques et Environnements (UMR 7209). Sorbonne
es, MNHN, CNRS. Mus´
eum National d’Histoire Naturelle. 55 rue Buffon, 75005, Paris
Universidade Federal do Oeste do Para
´. Programa de Antropologia e Arqueologia. Santar´
Corresponding author (
Journal of Ethnobiology 37(3): 380–397 2017
morenas—are rarely documented as a food resource in Amazonia. Although some
fishers in South America use swamp-eels as bait to catch larger fish (Moraes and
Espinoza 2000), they do not appear to be an important element of present-day
commercial fishing in Amazonia (Ferreira et al. 1998; Santos et al. 2006; Smith 1979).
Due to their cryptic habits, synbranchid eels are difficult to locate and catch, which
might explain why their skeletons were, until recently, rare in reference collections
and, hence, little attention has been paid to their importance in archaeological sites.
In this paper, we examine the ichthyofaunal remains from Loma Salvatierra,
a recently excavated archaeological site in Llanos de Mojos region (Figure 1a). At
Loma Salvatierra, we identified a large proportion of synbranchid fish that
enables us to examine the importance of this species in the past. We compare our
zooarchaeological results with ethnohistorical and ethnographic data from
Llanos de Mojos region and zooarchaeological data from South and Central
American archaeological sites in order to trace swamp-eel uses and evaluate
chronological changes in its consumption over time. Our data indicate that
swamp-eels were exploited during pre-Columbian times, through the colonial
period, and until the second half of the twentieth century, but their consumption
seems to have been abandoned or much reduced in recent times.
The Ecology and Archaeology of Synbranchus
Three species of Synbranchus, distributed in freshwater and estuarine areas of
South and Central America, are recognized today. Synbranchus madeirae is found
Figure 1. Map of archaeological sites that report the presence of Synbranchus eel. (a) The shaded area
represents its current approximate distribution. White circles indicate archaeological sites where the
genus represents more than 15% of the freshwater fish remains. Small black circles indicate sites where
it is reported in low levels. The area of the circles represents the percentage of synbranchid eels
recovered (see % and NISP values in Table 2). (b) S. madeirae (top) and S. marmoratus (bottom) from
Trinidad (Bolivia); scale bar is 1 cm. (c) Artificial lakes near San Pedro community (Beni Department,
Bolivia) where Synbranchus is fished today using fine mesh nets or hooks.
in lowland Bolivia (Figure 1b) and Synbranchus lampreia in northern Brazil. The
marbled swamp-eel, Synbranchus marmoratus, probably comprises more than one
species. Moreover, new species are still undescribed (Tyson Roberts, personal
communication). Synbranchus eels lack pectoral and pelvic fins. Individuals
usually measure about 50 cm in length, but can reach up to 150 cm (Kullander
2003). The morphology of external characteristics in Synbranchus is highly
variable (Favorito et al. 2005). Commonly found in standing waters of lakes,
marshes, and canals, they have developed specific adaptive mechanisms that
allow them to switch from aquatic to aerial breathing and to live in very low
oxygen levels (Bicudo and Johansen 1979). As a result of this particularity,
synbranchids can establish their nests in dry areas by digging a channel gallery
system, sometimes meters away from water supplies and can survive buried up
to three months (Favorito et al. 2005).
Only after the 2000s was swamp-eel documented in archaeological literature
of various regions across Central and South America (Figure 1a). Since then,
synbranchids have been identified at sites occupied over the last 2000 years in the
Pantanal Basin of Brazil (Rosa 2000), in Llanos de Mojos, Bolivia (B´
earez and
Pr ¨
umers 2007), in the Central Amazon (Prestes-Carneiro et al. 2016), and
elsewhere. In Llanos de Mojos sites, preliminary ichthyofaunal studies carried
out by B´
earez and Pr ¨
umers (2007), Von den Driesch and Hutterer (2012), and
Lombardo et al. (2013) revealed that swamp-eels were intensively exploited by
occupants of Loma Mendoza, Loma Salvatierra, and Isla del Tesoro, respectively,
at different periods during the last 8000 years. In Panama, Synbranchus remains
were first recovered in the 1970s at sites in the central Pacific lowlands, but were
not reported until much later (Cooke 2001; Cooke and Ranere 1999). Synbranchus
marmoratus has now been recorded at five prehistoric sites (Cooke and Jim´
2008). Further north in Central America, synbranchids were recovered from
Mayan sites in Belize (Fradkin and Carr 2008) and from Formative sites in
Mexico, such as El Varal (Wake and Steadman 2010).
The Study Area
Llanos de Mojos is one of the largest seasonal swamp savannas in Bolivia,
covering approximately 110,000 km
. This region has recently attracted the
attention of the archaeological community because of the discovery of many
types of monumental anthropic structures, such as earthen platforms (also called
lomas), raised fields, and geoglyphs, demonstrating that pre-Columbian societies
have intensely modified and managed this landscape over the last 2000 years
(Carson et al. 2015; Mann 2008; Watling et al. 2015). While studying first
millennium AD loma-type sites, archaeologists have documented the presence of
hydraulic earthworks, such as channels, drained fields, ditches, and weirs, which
were linked to the management of shallow waters in floodplains (Denevan 1966;
Erickson 2000). Preliminary studies on archaeofaunal remains from loma-type
sites indicate that fish were heavily exploited at these sites, sometimes
EAREZ382 Vol. 37, No. 3
corresponding to 40% of the archaeofaunal assemblage (Von den Driesch and
Hutterer 2012).
One such site is Loma Salvatierra, situated about 50 km to the east of the
e River and the city of Trinidad, capital of the department of Beni (Figure
2). Loma Salvatierra is an earthen platform that extends for 2 hectares, with the
highest point reaching 7 meters. The site is surrounded by a paleo-meander and a
seasonally inundated swamp area. Multiple mounds (residential and funeral),
placed in a ‘‘U’’ form, enclose a central plaza. The site represents five cultural
layers dated between AD 400 and 1400 (Pr ¨
umers 2007). Our current
ichthyoarchaeological analysis of Loma Salvatierra expands on earlier work by
Von den Driesch and Hutterer (2012) by enlarging the number of identified
remains and expanding the analysis to all layers of occupation, whereas previous
work was focused on phases 3 to 5.
Ichthyofaunal remains from Loma Salvatierra used in this study come from
62 archaeological stratigraphic units from Corte 2, which is a terrace associated
with domestic activities: food preparation, spinning, and manufacturing of bone
Figure 2. Approximate territories of Llanos de Mojos Indigenous communities in the beginning of the
1990s. Map modified from Maldonado and Tonico (2014).
and wooden tools (Jaimes Betancourt 2010). This area was occupied during all
five cultural phases. Samples were recovered from an excavated area measuring
6 m x 8 m and 3 m in depth. All layers and features were dry-screened through 3
mm mesh. Taxonomic identifications were made to genus and species whenever
possible and were based on cranial and post-cranial elements using the reference
collection of present-day Amazonian fishes at the Mus ´
eum National d’Histoire
Naturelle, Paris. Minimum Number of Individuals (MNI) and Number of
Identified Specimens (NISP) were used in this study. Cutmarks and burn damage
were analyzed under a binocular microscope.
To create a basis for discussing pre-Columbian Synbranchus consumption
across the Americas, we reviewed ichthyoarchaeological literature available for
Central and South America and created a list of archaeological records of swamp-
eel fishing in the pre-Columbian period. Concerning the historical periods, we
have focused on Llanos de Mojos region and listed written sources containing
information about fishing practices and habits. About 20 ethnohistorical sources
from missionaries and naturalists (for the colonial period) and 25 ethnographic
reports (for modern and contemporaneous period) were consulted. We faced two
main difficulties during the survey of ethnohistorical information about swamp-
eel consumption: firstly, the lack of species-level information concerning the fish
consumed (especially in documents dating from the seventeenth to nineteenth
centuries) and, secondly, long chronological gaps of information on fishing for
some ethnic groups (e.g., the Chiquitanos). Furthermore, in written sources,
either historical or ethnographic, the term anguila was also used to refer to other
eel-like fishes, such as electric eels (Gymnotiformes) and lungfishes (Lepidosir-
eniformes). Even though mentions of words like mu¸cum,mocim,mu¸cu, or muu are
probably species-specific, the term anguila must be taken with caution.
Zooarchaeological Evidence from Loma Salvatierra
We identified a total of 4862 fish remains from Loma Salvatierra (Table 1).
Synbranchiformes represent 69% of the NISP, followed by catfishes (Siluriformes)
at 20%. Characids (Characiformes) and lungfishes (Lepidosireniformes) are also
present in smaller proportions. The number of synbranchids may be inflated
somewhat because they have many vertebrae (ca. 130–160) that over-represent
their NISP compared to lungfishes, for which no vertebrae are recovered. For this
reason, we also provide MNI calculations of different fish taxa, but MNI is not
reported for most other pre-Columbian sites for comparison.
The presence of fish taxa such as Hoplosternum spp. (Callichthyidae), Hoplias
spp. (Erythrinidae), and lungfishes (Lepidosirenidae), suggests that fishing
strategies focused on shallow waters (Table 1). At least two species of
synbranchid eels, Synbranchus marmoratus and S. madeirae, were identified. In
all stratigraphic layers, however, the former dominates the fish assemblage: S.
marmoratus corresponds to about 45% of the total number of Synbranchiformes
remains, while S. madeirae corresponds to about 2% (Table 1). The presence of
EAREZ384 Vol. 37, No. 3
synbranchids inside residential structures, as well as evidence of cutting and
thermal alteration in about 1% of the bones, confirms that Synbranchus was
processed and consumed by humans. Synbranchiformes represent more than half
of all identified taxa across the different layers, indicating that swamp-eels were
the principally exploited fish during the 900-year occupation at Loma Salvatierra.
Synbranchid Eels at Other Central and South American Archaeological Sites
Although there are still few ichthyoarchaeological studies for Central and
South American pre-Columbian sites, several reports indicate the recovery of
synbranchid eels (Table 2). The presence of Synbranchus was noted in two
additional Middle Holocene sites of southwestern Amazonia: Isla del Tesoro and
Monte Castelo (Prestes-Carneiro, unpublished data). In some cases, swamp-eels
comprise more than 25% of freshwater fish, for example, at Cuello (Belize), El
e (Argentinian Chacos), and in many sites of the Pantanal wetlands. In
´cara do Lea
˜o, a shell-midden located in a seasonally inundated plain 18 km
from the coast in Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), Synbranchus marmoratus corresponds
to 91% of the freshwater fish assemblage, an even greater proportion than those
of the Bolivian sites (Table 2).
A lower intensity of swamp-eel consumption has been attested in the
Madgalena valley and Atlantic side mangroves of Colombia (Monsu site, Alice
Diaz Chauvign´
e, personal communication, 2016; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985), in the
Central Amazon Region, and in the grassland areas of Southern Brazil and
Argentina (Figure 1a). Bearing in mind that the present-day distribution of
synbranchids includes the Atlantic coast and estuarine zones of South America, it
is worth noting that they are not mentioned in the zooarchaeological studies as a
pre-Columbian food source in these regions. Given the frequent small sample
sizes and the lack of continuity in the archaeological record, we cannot evaluate
swamp-eel fishing through prehistoric times. However, we note that the heaviest
exploitation seems to be concentrated in seasonal swamps of the lowlands of
Central and South America.
Ethnohistorical and Ethnographic Information
We identified 34 historical records of fishing practices from 1676 to 2003 in
our review of ethnohistorical and ethnographic documents from Llanos de Mojos
Table 1. Fish taxonomic representation per phase of occupation at Loma Salvatierra.
Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Phase 5
Synbranchidae 864 102 815 126 788 324 689 120 148 34
Callichthyidae 195 7 45 7 199 37 155 7 17 3
Erythrinidae 102 9 8 1 99 8 45 3 4 1
Lepidosirenidae 36 11 33 6 90 26 76 19 21 8
Cichlidae 30 4 0 0 16 1 15 1 0 0
Siluriformes diverse 29 11 56 14 243 57 7 2 6 1
Characiformes diverse 7 5 1 1 1 1 21 2 0 0
Total NISP 1263 149 958 155 1436 454 1008 154 196 47
Table 2. Comparison of freshwater fish remains recovered in Central and South American archaeological sites.
Archaeological site
Fish order
ca. 8654 BC– AD 1550 Isla del Tesoro SM1 (Bolivia)
- - - - - - - (Lombardo et al. 2013)
7480–5300 BC Garivaldino 8 1 9 (Rosa 2009)
6400 BC–AD 1140 Monte Castelo (Brazil)
-- - - -- - (Miller 2009)
6320 BC Lada
´rio (MS-CP-22) (Brazil) 14 536 42 (7%) 38 630
(Rosa 2000)
5050–550 BC Aguadulce (Panama) 274 131 27 40 (8%) 31 503 (Cooke and Jim´
enez 2008)
3350–1940 BC Mons´
u (Colombia)
-- - - -- - (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985)
2550–1050 BC Monagrillo (Panama) 1 1 13 (Cooke and Jim´
enez 2008)
2190 BC Jacadigo (MS-CP-16) (Brazil) 10 215 24 (8%) 69 318
(Rosa 2000)
1250–1000 BC El Varal (Mexico) 313 16 (Wake and Steadman 2010)
ca.1200 BC–AD 400 Cuello (Belize) 1 30 (50%) 28 59 (Fradkin and Carr 2008)
800–400 BC Montalvito (Colombia) 54 4 1 (1%) 59 (Pe˜
on et al. 2007)
ca. 210 BC Ilha do Bem-te-vi (MS-CP-20) (Brazil) 14 144 68 (25%) 5 231
(Rosa 2000)
AD 150–1250 Cerro Jua
ıaz (Panama) 29 1 9 9 (19%) 48 (Cooke and Jim´
enez 2008)
AD 150–450 Sitio Sierra (Panama) 2188 1341 166 119 (4%) 29 3843 (Cooke and Jim´
enez 2008)
AD 190 Cha
´cara do Lea
˜o (Brazil) 20 34 590 (91%) 1 645 (Rosa 2006)
AD 250–1050 El cachap´
e potrero V (Argentina) 57 16 266 141 (30%) 480 (Santini 2012)
AD 220 RS-LC-97 (Brazil) 56 13 31 (20%) 58 158 (Bretano et al. 2006)
AD 260 Sotelo I (Argentina) 23 419 18 (4%) 460 (Santini 2012)
ca. AD 400–1400 Loma Salvatierra (Bolivia) 256 288 952 3304 (68%) 61 4861 Current study
ca. AD 400–1400 Loma Mendoza (Bolivia) 18 92 77 554 (74%) 745 (B´
earez and Pr ¨
umers 2007)
ca. 750–1230 AD Hatahara (Brazil) 620 297 10 (1%) 143 1070 (Prestes-Carneiro et al. 2016)
AD 950–1450 Nata
´(Panama) 1 23 (Cooke and Jim´
enez 2008)
AD 1055–1420 Cerro Aguara
´(Argentina) 180 1616 25811 1485 (5%) 90 29185 (Musali et al. 2013)
AD 1387 RS-LC-81 (Brazil) 31 103 38 (17%) 50 222 (Rosa 2006)
Where applicable, all stratigraphic layers were combined and dates were converted to BC-AD notation but not calibrated.
Fish orders are abbreviated as follows: LEP¼Lepidosireniformes, CHA¼Characiformes, SIL¼Siluriformes, GYM¼Gymnotiformes, SYN¼Synbranchiformes, PER¼Perciformes.
Synbranchiformes percentage values are shown only for sample sizes larger than 45 total NISP.
No available quantitative information.
Values are available as MNI only.
EAREZ386 Vol. 37, No. 3
(summarized in Supplementary Tables 1 and 2). In the following sections, we
describe swamp-eel consumption and fishing practices during four main
historical periods in the region. We include our translations of key excerpts
from these records (some extended accounts are available in Supplementary
Table 3).
The Jesuit Period
After their arrival in Llanos de Mojos around 1668, the Jesuits initiated the
construction of large mission towns (many of them mixing non-related ethnic
groups) and the introduction of new languages, crops, skills, and traditions
(Denevan 1966). Missionaries produced single written sources about native
customs and everyday practices; many of them contain brief comments on local
fishing practices. Jesuit letters and reports of the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, such as those by Jos´
e de Castillo (1906) and Pedro Marban (1701),
affirm that fishing is one of the most important activities of the Mojos Indigenous
groups, although the authors rarely list the species procured. There are several
mentions of swamp-eel fishing from the Jesuit period. One of the first written
sources that specifies eels as a key resource appears in an anonymous work
(1754), probably a Jesuit father who lived among the Movima people, according
to Barnadas and Plaza (2005), which states, ‘‘The most ordinary sustenance of
these Indians is fish, who abound in these rivers and lakes...They used to
fish...eels with a bundle of 10 to 12 rods of sharpened chonta [sticks of palm
tree].’’ A second Jesuit, Francisco Xavier Eder (1985),documented everyday life
in the Mojos missions between 1749 and 1767 and described eels among the
principally consumed fish. Eder (1985 [1791]:227) remarked that Baures
communities in north-east Bolivia used to know where eels burrow during the
summer: ‘‘They take [eels] out in the middle of the savanna, from a depth of 1.6
meters, where there’s not one single drop of water.’’ Eel fishing was also reported
by missionary Julian von Knogler, who lived among Chiquitano groups in south-
eastern Bolivia between 1748 and 1768. ‘‘The eels were fished with wooden
spears of three-meter length’’ (Freyer 2000:38). These records suggest that
swamp-eel fishing was not uncommon among various Indigenous communities
of the Jesuit period.
Post-Jesuit Period
The Jesuit occupation had engendered important changes in labor processes,
establishing the manufacture and trade of native food staples, such as manioc
and dried fish, and introduced products such as rice, coffee, citrus, cacao, cotton,
and sugar cane. According to Denevan (1966), after the Jesuit expulsion in 1764,
much of this economic system was maintained. During the post-Jesuit period (the
end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries), Llanos de Mojos
experienced a succession of instable dictatorial governors, engendering numer-
ous conflicts and revolts that resulted in an abrupt decline of Indigenous
populations (Denevan 1966). The daily practices of Mojos people in this period
were reported by many travelers and explorers, such as D’Orbigny (1839, 1843,
1844) and Keller et al. (1875). Unfortunately, very few authors describe the precise
state of fishing in this period except for Card ´
us (1886). This Franciscan father,
who lived among the Guarayos around 1883, called attention to eel fishing
Every year, as water levels drop, the Guarayos kill large quantities [of
eels], very quickly and very easily. They go to the banks of the lagoon or
along the streams, with water reaching feet or knees, carrying a thin rod
made of chonta, two beams long, inside the mud, and since the eels have
their cave in the mud, they thrust them with the point of the rod (Card ´
Swamp-eel fishing also appears in several ethnohistorical accounts by
naturalists and explorers who traveled across South America from the sixteenth
to eighteenth centuries. One of the first explorer accounts of swamp-eel
consumption appears in 1587 in Bahia State (Brazil), when Gabriel Soares de
Sousa (1974 [1587]:295) reported that eels are ‘‘present in these rivers [of Bahia]
that grow under the rocks, and the Indians call them mocim, and they have the
same appearance and taste as those of Portugal.’’ Synbranchid eel consumption
was also mentioned in documents written throughout the entire seventeenth
century in various parts of Brazil (Lisboa 1967 [1631], Marcgrave 1942 [1648]) and
Surinam (Bloch 1797). Like Sousa, these authors all praise the high quality of
swamp-eel flesh and some compare it with that of European eels.
The First Half of the Twentieth Century
In the beginning of the twentieth century, Llanos de Mojos emerged in a new
economic cycle called the ‘‘rubber boom.’’ Thousands of Indigenous people left
their territories to work in rubber plantations. Many isolated groups established
their first contact with Europeans at this time, but groups that were under Jesuit
influence for over 70 years were in a different political, social, and cultural
situation (Vallv´
e 2010). During the rubber boom, thousands of Indigenous people
died, e.g., Chiquitanos and Mojos, and many other groups were assimilated into
Benian peasant society (Riester 1975). In the first half of the twentieth century,
fishing was an important economic activity among a majority of the Llanos de
Mojos communities, but authors rarely indicate which species were procured.
One of the exceptions concerns the Guarayos, who practiced eel fishing
old 2003). Their principal method for catching eel was with baskets
(Figure 3). M´
etraux (1942) described, ‘‘Eels were killed with spears, used in pairs,
or they were driven into big oval baskets by men who struck the bottom of the
Figure 3. Baskets used for eel fishing by the Guarayos in the beginning of the twentieth century. Sketch
from Nordenski¨
old (2001).
EAREZ388 Vol. 37, No. 3
stream with sticks.’’ In other parts of South America, the traveler Raimundo
Morais (1931) reports that, until the beginning of the twentieth century, swamp-
eel meat was widely appreciated in the Amazon region
European influence was evident in the changing fishing techniques from the
beginning of the twentieth century. Our literature review indicated a progressive
replacement of bow and arrow with fish hooks, gill nets, cast nets, and trotlines, a
phenomenon observed among various groups (Supplementary Table 1). People
continued to use traditional fishing gears such as barbasco, which is the use of
poisonous plants (e.g., Hura crepitans, Tephrosia toxicaria, Serjania lethalis, or
Paullinia pinnata) in lakes and streams, fish weirs of wooden sticks, baskets, and
fish traps (Boom 1987; M´
etraux 1942). Nets, shotguns, and even the use of
dynamite were introduced during this period (Guise 1922).
Contemporary Mojos: From 1950 to the Present
From the 1950s onwards, the economy of Llanos de Mojos was greatly
influenced by the power of the ranching industry (Jones 1980). Nowadays, many
Indigenous communities combine cattle farming with native subsistence
activities, such as hunting, fishing, and gathering. Fish consumption varies
considerably among contemporary Indigenous communities. Of the 14 sources
dating to the second half of the twentieth century to the present, which relate to
12 different Indigenous groups (Supplementary Table 1), reports describe eel
consumption among only two communities. A report by CICPA (2013) mentions
eel consumptio n among the Guarayos community of Yaguar ´
u. Ottaviano and
Ottaviano (1979) report eel consumption by the Tacana people at the end of the
1970s, and, thirty years later, a report by the Wildlife Conservation Society
(CIPTA-WCS 2002) no longer lists eels as one of the most consumed species but
instead describes its medical use by the Tacana people. The scarcity of accounts of
swamp-eel fishing, despite the larger number of available historical records,
suggests that swamp-eel consumption reduced considerably in Llanos de Mojos
during this period; however, a systematic anthropological survey of Synbranchus
fishing is necessary to further investigate recent changes in swamp-eel
consumption. In other parts of South America, there are few records of
Synbranchus fishing, such as ethnobiological reports of traditional maroon and
fisher communities in Sa
˜o Paulo (Costa-Neto et al. 2002), Bahia (Fernandes-Pinto
and Marques 2004), and Maranha
˜o (Soares 2005). In these three localities,
swamp-eel fishing is rare but some people still consume it. In parts of the
Paraguay basin, however, large individuals are still consumed (Sven Kullander,
personal communication).
During the past fifty years, commercial fishing started to develop in the
surrounding areas of Llanos de Mojos cities. Synbranchus does not appear on any
of the lists of commercial fish, which are primarily Pseudoplatystoma spp.,
Colossoma macropomum (pac´
u), Cichla spp., and Phractocephalus hemioliopterus
(general) (Paz and Van Damme 2008). Commercial fish intended for urban
markets tend to be large, such as large-sized catfishes and pac ´
u, whereas small
fish species, such as small Cichlids, are consumed by peasants (Jones 1980), and
are often called ‘‘the food of the poor,’’ ‘‘camba food,’’ or even ‘‘Indian food’’
e 2010:214).
Swamp-Eels in Amerindian Mythologies
The swamp-eel not only played a role as an economic resource but also as a
common figure in local Amerindian stories and myths, which is well-
documented in the available literature. Here we highlight only a few examples
from different periods to demonstrate the importance of swamp-eel in
Amerindian mythologies. The Baures people in Beni have a myth called ‘‘the
woman and the eel’’ that tells the story of a woman who used to spin in her home
seated on top of a hole where a swamp-eel used to live (Riedel 2015:350). For the
´, the mussuarana represented the rope that bound prisoners at the
cannibalism ceremony. ‘‘Men used to braid the rope called mussuarana which was
used to tie up the prisoners. This rope was a veritable cult object imbued with
religious respect and its confection was entrusted to the chiefs’’ (M´
etraux 1928;
Figure 4). The mu¸cum was considered to be the totem and guardian of the
freshwater sources and lakes of the northern groups who moved to the Mato
Grosso (Cascudo 1954). For the Waya
˜pi of French Guyana, the swamp-eel was a
penis (cut off by a woman) that fell into the river and sank in the mud
1982). In both Wayana and Tukano mythologies, synbranchid eels adopt the role
of a flute. For the Wayana, the muu is a flute that provided the colors that paint all
kinds of colored birds (Van Velthem 2003), whereas for the Tukano of the Upper
e River, swamp-eels are called mere bue or pu bue and consist of old chips of
sacred flutes that fell into the water and were transformed into a fish (Cabalzar
2005). These examples demonstrate that swamp-eel or mu¸cum—whether it
symbolized a sacred rope, a totem, the sex of a man, or a flute—played a role,
until recently, in mythologies of a large and diverse array of Amerindian groups.
Finally, we point out the possibility that swamp-eel representation in pre-
Columbian iconography is unrecognized. Serpentine images are generally
assumed to represent snakes in prehistorical iconographies of Amazonian
Figure 4. Depiction of Tupinamba
´community holding a rope called mussurana that binds a prisoner.
Painting by Theodor de Bry appearing in the third volume of Grands Voyages (1541). The name of the
rope was probably related to the swamp-eel called mussu (M´
etraux 1928).
EAREZ390 Vol. 37, No. 3
pottery; however, these images may also represent snake-like fishes like swamp-
eels—a hypothesis that researchers rarely take into consideration.
Discussion: Why did Swamp-Eel Fishing Become Less Important Through
Our ichthyoarchaeological analysis at Loma Salvatierra showed that swamp-
eel was a major food resource during the occupation of this site around AD 400–
1400. In fact, the very large numbers of eels recovered at archaeological sites
stand in stark contrast with their very limited present-day importance as an
economic resource in Llanos de Mojos. Our review of historical records indicates
that, among the Indigenous communities of Llanos de Mojos, eel was not
consumed during the second half of the twentieth century (except for the
Guarayos), although it was consumed in earlier periods, which indicates that the
decline of swamp-eel consumption may have occurred at some point during the
last century. Ethnohistorical sources from Llanos de Mojos dating to the
sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries demonstrate that eel fishing
continued during the Colonial period, in some areas, and that many surviving
Indigenous groups incorporated eels into their myths and legends. For the
Tacana community, the abandonment of eel consumption might have happened
in the last 30 years. These results demonstrate the importance of swamp-eels as
past food items and reveal a very recent, at least for the Tacana, decrease in their
consumption. We propose a series of factors that might have contributed to the
decline in swamp-eel consumption.
A starting point for exploring changes in swamp-eel fishing is the availability
of this resource in Llanos de Mojos. Zooarchaeological data recovered in Central
and South America show that synbranchid eels were targeted in pre-Columbian
Neotropical areas in lowland freshwater habitats. Even though no chronological
tendency in Synbranchus exploitation can be observed during prehistoric times,
there appears to be a pattern of exploitation, particularly specialized around
seasonal swamp formations. In 1886, brother Jos ´
e Card ´
us noted their abundance
in the Guarayos Missions: ‘‘Their abundance is barely credible, being mainly in
streams and curiches [swamp areas], in many lakes and in almost every low
point in clay soils’’ (Card ´
us 1886). Today, they are still present in the area, in
natural or artificial pools, ponds, and lakes, where they live and feed in floating
vegetation termed tarope (Yunoki et al. 2012:397–398; Figure 1c). They also occur
in residual waters of urban agglomerations. In Trinidad, the local population
reports that during rainfall after a long dry period, swamp-eels come up to the
surface in ditches and channels of the city. Local informants report that eels can
even grasp small mammals and birds when they come to the surface. However,
swamp-eels do not seem to be consumed.
Changes in human dietary customs would have occurred when Europeans
brought their own concepts of what could be eaten or not. Although some
European documents favorably compare the taste of swamp-eel with European
eels (Lisboa 1967
; Morais 1931
; Sousa (1974 [1587])), in other accounts, swamp-
eel is disliked by Europeans. In the French Edition of the description of
Synbranchus marmoratus from Surinam, Bloch (1797:76) mentions that Europeans
were loathe to eat synbranchid eels because of their muddy taste, but that Black
Africans (Bloch uses the term n`
egres) would appreciate eel because it was a fatty
. The distaste for swamp-eel in more recent times may also be related to their
connection with residual waters in urban areas, as noted above.
Changes in the composition of consumed fish might also be related to the
arrival of new fishing tools and methods introduced by Europeans and colonos
and a shift to commercial fishing. The gradual replacement of bows and arrows,
harpoons, and spears with fishhooks, gill nets (malhadeira), and cast nets (tarrafa)
probably modified the types of fishes consumed, from those with solitary
behaviors to others that live in shoals and schools. In the Middle Mamor´
e region,
a large part of fishing production was based on the use of surface gill nets by the
end of the 1980s (Lauzanne et al. 1990).
Another possible cause for changes in fish species preference can be related
to European-influences on both local taboos and practices. Scholars have
discussed the biblical origin of the taboo of eating fishes without scales and
fins (Douglas 1966), a practice that became more commonplace in the Amazon
region with the expansion of Evangelicalism during the last century (Garmany
and Gerhardt 2015). Others have noted that some Amazonian communities reject
piscivorous fishes, such as the barred sorubim (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum)
(Begossi et al. 2004). Yet another widespread Amazonian category of fish taboo is
the peixe reimoso (from the Latin word rheum meaning phlegm), which refers to
the fatty or ‘‘strong’’ property of the meat and the thickness of the animal’s blood.
For example, in various parts of the Amazon, fishes considered to be reimosos are
unsuitable for pregnant women or ill people (i.e., Furtado 1993; Smith 1996).
Furthermore, in the traditional fisherfolk community of Conde, in Bahia State,
swamp-eels are not consumed because they have teeth and allude to the body of
a snake (Costa-Neto 2000). Animal taboos can rarely be detected in archaeological
contexts since the simple absence of a specific taxon does not necessarily imply
its rejection. It is important, therefore, to compare archaeological evidence with
information provided by ethnohistory, iconography, and anthropology, as we
have done in this paper.
Although swamp-eel is not generally eaten today in Llanos de Mojos, the
collection of evidence from archaeological and ethnohistorical sources reveals the
existence of a long-lasting practice of swamp-eel fishing and consumption in
Llanos de Mojos. Furthermore, tracing changes in the consumption of this food
resource over time provides insight into social and technological changes
occurring in Llanos de Mojos from pre-Columbian to present times. Although
European tastes and religious restrictions likely contributed to its decline,
swamp-eel consumption continued during European colonization. Our evidence
suggests that swamp-eel consumption was abandoned in Llanos de Mojos as
recently as the last 30 years, perhaps because of additional factors, including local
taboos and changing fishing technology, among others. In present-day
commercial markets, larger catfish and characins replaced Synbranchus, probably
alongside other small and muddy fish species that used to be consumed. Future
work will continue to refine knowledge of ancient swamp-eel exploitation in
EAREZ392 Vol. 37, No. 3
other regions of South America, particularly in sites that lack ichthyofaunal
An extended excerpt of this account is available in Supplementary Table 3.
The authors thank Richard Cooke, Pierre Grenand, and Fran¸coise Grenand for their
insightful comments on this paper. Zulema Lehm and Franziska Riedel gave us great aid
with the ethnographic literature of Llanos de Mojos. Heiko Pr ¨
umers and Carla Jaimes
Betancourt granted access to the archaeological material for the study. We are also grateful
to the editors and referees for their help with improving the quality of the text. This study
is part of the first author’s doctoral thesis conducted at the Mus´
eum National d’Histoire
Naturelle in Paris. Funding for this research was provided by the Brazilian Research
Agency (CAPES-BEX0910/14-7). The Soci´
e des Amis du Mus´
eum National d’Histoire
Naturelle of Paris and the UMR 7209 ‘‘Arch´
eozoologie, Arch´
eobotanique: pratiques,
es et environnements’’ of the CNRS funded part of the fieldwork in Bolivia.
References Cited
Altamirano, D. F. 1979. Historia de la Misi´
on de los
Mojos. Instituto Boliviano de Cultura, Biblio-
teca Jos´
e Agust´
ın Palacios, Bolivia.
Alvarsson, J. A. 2012. Campear y pescar—La
on s ocio -eco n ´
omica y pol´
ıa Weenhayek 1. Unpublished Doc-
toral Dissertation, University of Uppsala.
Anonymous. 1754. Descripci´
on de los Mojos que
estan a cargo de la Compania de Jesus en la
Provincia del Peru Ano de 1754. Archivo de
Historia de la Provincia de Toledo de la
ıa de Jes ´
us. Leg. Per ´
u-Bolivia, L-3.7.
Arispe, R., and D. I. Rumiz, 2002. Una
on del uso de los recursos silvestres
en la zona del Bosque Chiquitano, Cerrado y
Pantanal de Santa Cruz. Revista Boliviana de
ıa y Conservaci´
on Ambiental 11:17–36.
Barnadas, J. M., and M. Plaza. 2005. Mojos. Seis
relaciones jesu´
ıticas: geograf´
on: 1670-1763. Historia Boliviana, Cocha-
Barrera, S., and J. Sarmiento. 2000. Observa-
ciones preliminares sobre la composici´
on y
on de la ictiofauna de la Estaci´
ogica del Beni, Bolivia. Biodiversidad,
on y manejo en la regi´
on de la reserva
de la biosfera Estaci´
on Biol´
ogica del Beni, Bolivia
earez, P., and H. Pr ¨
umers. 2007. Prehispanic
Fishing at Loma Mendoza, Llanos de Moxos,
Bolivia. In The Role of Fish in Ancient Time.
Proceedings of the 13th Meeting of the ICAZ
Fish Remains Working Group in October 4th
- 9th, Basel/August 2005, edited by H. H ¨
Plogmann, pp. 3–10. Internationale Arch-
ologie: Arbeitsgemeinschaft, Symposium, Ta-
gung, Kongress, Band 8. Verlag Marie
Begossi, A., N. Hanazaki, and R. M. Ramos.
2004. Food Chain and the Reasons for Fish
Food Taboos among Amazonian and Atlantic
Forest Fishers (Brazil). Ecological Applications
Bicudo, J. E. P. W., and K. Johansen. 1979.
Respiratory Gas Exchange in the Air –
Breathing Fish, Synbranchus marmoratus.En-
vironmental Biology of Fishes 4:55–64.
Bloch, M. ´
E. 1797. Ichtyologie ou histoire naturelle
erale et particuli`
ere des poissons, avec des
figures enlumin´
ees, dessin´
ees d’apr`
es nature. Pt.
Boom, B. M. 1987. Ethnobotany of the Cha
Indians, Beni, Bolivia. Advances in Economic
Botany 4:1–68.
Brentano, C., A. O. Rosa, and P. I. Schmitz. 2006.
Uma abordagem zooarqueol´
ogica do s´
ıtio RS-
LC-97. Pesquisas Antropologia 63:203–218.
Cabalzar, A. 2005. Peixe e gente no Alto Rio Tiqui´
conhecimentos Tukano e Tuyuka: ictiologia, etno-
logia. Instituto Socioambiental, Sa
˜o Paulo.
Camp, E., and M. Liccardi. n.d. Datos acerca de la
cultura cavine˜
na. In stituto Ling ¨
ıstico de
Verano, Bolivia.
us, J. 1886. Las misiones franciscanas entre los
infieles de Bolivia: Descripci´
on del estado de ellas
en 1883 y 1884, con una noticia sobre los caminos
y tribus salvajes, una muestra de varias lenguas,
curiosidades de historia natural, y un mapa para
servir de ilustraci´
on. Librer´
ıa de la Inmaculada
on, Barcelona.
Carson, J. F., J. Watling, F. E. Mayle, B. S.
Whitney, J. Iriarte, H. Pr ¨
umers, and J. D. Soto.
2015. Pre-Columbian Land Use in the Ring-
ditch Region of the Bolivian Amazon. The
Holocene 25:1285–1300. DOI:10.1177/
Cascudo, L. D. C. 1954. Diciona
´rio do folclore
brasileiro. Minist´
erio da Educa¸ca
˜o e Cultura -
Instituto Nacional do Livro, Rio de Janeiro.
Castillo, J. D. 1906. Relaci´
on de la Provincia de
Mojos [1675]; in Documentos para la Historia
ublica de Bolivia Serie
Primeira Epoca Colonial edited by Ballivian,
M.V. Ministerio de Colonizacion y Agricul-
tua, Bolivia.
CIPCA. 2013. Cusiseras en Yaguar´
u: Palmera con
trabajo de mujeres. Centro de Investigaci´
on y
on del Campesinado (CIPCA) Re-
gional Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
CIPTA-WCS. 2002. Estrategia de Desarrollo Sos-
tenible de la TCO-Tacana con base en el manejo de
los recursos naturales 2001-2005. Consejo In-
digena del Pueblo Tacana (CIPTA) and
Wildlife Conservation Society USAID,
Cooke, R. G., 2001. La pesca en estuarios
nos: una visi´
on hist´
orica y cultural
desde la Bah´
ıa de Parita. In Panama
´: Puente
ogico, edited by S. Heckadon-Moreno, pp.
45–53. Smithsonian Tropical Research Insti-
tute, Panama
Cooke, R. G., and M. Jim´
enez. 2008. Pre-
Columbian Use of Freshwater Fish in the
Santa Maria Biogeographical Province, Pana-
ma. Quaternary International 185:46–58.
Cooke, R. G., and A. J. Ranere. 1999. Precolum-
bian Fishing on the Pacific Coast of Panama.
In Pacific Latin America in Prehistory: The
Evolution of Archaic and Formative Cultures,
edited by M. Blake, pp. 103–122. Washington
State University Press, Pullman.
Costa-Neto, E. M. 2000. Restri¸c˜
oes e preferˆ
alimentares em comunidades de pescadores
do munic´
ıpio de Conde, Estado da Bahia,
Brasil. Revista de Nutri¸ca
˜o13:117–126. DOI:10.
Costa-Neto, E. M., C. V. Dias, and M. N. Melo.
2002. O conhecimento ictiol´
ogico tradicional
dos pescadores da cidade de Barra, regia
edio Sa
˜o Francisco, Estado da Bahia, Brasil.
Acta Scientiarum 24:561–572. DOI:10.4025/
Denevan, W. M. 1966. The Aboriginal Cultural
Geography of the Llanos de Mojos of Bolivia.
University of California Press, Berkley and
Los Angeles.
Dietler, M. 2007. ‘‘Culinary Encounters: Food,
Identity, and Colonialism’’ in The Archaeology
of Food and Identity, edited by K. C. Twiss. pp.
218–242. Center for Archaeological Investiga-
tions, Occasional Paper No. 34. Board of
Trustees, Southern Illinois University. ISBN 0-
D’Orbigny, A. 1839. L’homme am´
ericain: De
erique M´
eridionale. Pitois-Levrault, Stras-
bourg, France.
D’Orbigny, A. 1843. Descripci´
on geogra
´fica, hist´
ica y estad´
ıstica de Bolivia. Tomo I. Tree edition,
D’Orbigny, A. D. 1844. Voyage dans l’Am´
eridionale: le Br´
esil, la r´
epublique orientale de
l’Uruguay, la r´
epublique Argentine, la Patagonie,
la r´
epublique du Chili, la republ. de Bolivia, la
epubl. du P´
erou (Tome 1) Partie Historique.
Pitois-Levrault, France.
Douglas, M. 1966. Purity and Danger. Routledge
and Keegan Paul, Ltd., London.
Ducci, Z. 1895. Diario de la visita a todas las
missions existentes en la Republica de Bolivia.
Asis, Santa Maria de los Angeles.
Eder, F. J. 1985. Breve descripci´
on de las reducciones
de Mojos Historia Boliviana, Cochabamba.
Erickson, C. L. 2000. An Artificial Landscape-
scale Fishery in the Bolivian Amazon. Nature
408:190–193. DOI:10.1038/35041555.
˜o. 2005. A New Synbranchus (Tele-
ostei: Synbranchiformes: Synbranchidae)
from Ilha de Maraj´
o, Para
´, Brazil, with Notes
on its Reproductive Biology and Larval
Development. Neotropical Ichthyology 3:319–
328. DOI:10.1590/S1679-62252005000300001.
Fernandes-Pinto, E., and J. G. W. Marques. 2004.
Conhecimento Etnoecol´
ogico de Pescadores
Artesanais de Guaraque¸caba-PR. In Enci-
edia Cai¸cara 1, edited by A. C. S. A.
EAREZ394 Vol. 37, No. 3
Diegues, pp. 163–190, Editora Hucitec, Sa
Ferreira, E. J. G., J. A. S. Zuanon, and G. D.
Santos. 1998. Peixes comerciais do M´
edio Ama-
zonas: regia
˜o de Santar´
em, Para
´. Edi¸c˜
oes IBA-
MA, Bras´
Fradkin, A., and H. S. Carr. 2008. Middle
Formative Fishing at Cuello, Belize. In Actes
des XXVIIIe rencontres internationales d’arch-
ologie et d’histoire d’Antibes, XIVth ICAZ Fish
Remains Working Group Meeting, edited by P.
earez, S. Grouard, and B. Clavel, pp. 151–
160. Editions APDCA, France.
Freyer, B. 2000. Los chiquitanos: Descripci´
on de un
pueblo de las tierras bajas orientales de Bolivia
un fuentes jesu´
ıticas del siglo XVII. Pueblos
ıgenas de las tierras bajas, vol 15. Editor
urgen Reister APCO, Bolivia.
Furtado, L. G. 1993. Pescadores do rio Amazonas
(Um estudo antropol´
ogico da pesca ribeiri-
nha numa a
´rea amazˆ
onica). Museu Paraense
Emilio Goeldi, Bel´
em, Brazil.
Garmany, J., and H. Gerhardt. 2015. Global
Networks and the Emergent Sites of Con-
temporary Evangelicalism in Brazil. In The
Changing World Religion Map, edited by S. D.
Brunn, pp. 2011–2024. Springer, Netherlands.
Grenand, F. 1982. Et l’Homme devint jaguar:
l’univers imaginaire et quotidien des Indiens
˜pi de Guyane. L’Harmattan, Paris.
Guise, A. V. L. 1922. Six Years in Bolivia: The
Adventures of a Mining Engineer. T. Fisher
Unwin Ltd., London, UK.
Heinz, K. E. L. M. 1972. Cha
´cobo 1970. Eine
Restgruppe der S ¨
udost-Pano im Orient Boli-
viens. Tribus 21:129–246.
Herrera-Sarmiento, E. 2015. Los Ese Eja y la pesca:
Adaptacion y continuidad de una actividad
productiva en un pueblo indigena de la Amazonia
peruana-boliviana. Editora Inia, Cochabamba.
Holmberg, A. R. 1969. Nomads of the Long Bow:
The Siriono of Eastern Bolivia.American
Museum of Natural History, New York.
Jaimes Bentancourt, C., 2010. La Ceramica de La
Loma Salvatierra. Unpublished Doctoral Dis-
sertation, Universit¨
at zu Bonn.
Jones, J. C. 1980. Conflict Between Whites and
Indians on the Llanos de Moxos, Beni
Department: A Case Study of the Develop-
ment from the Cattle Regions of the Bolivian
Oriente. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation,
University of Florida.
Keller, J., F. Keller, J. A. Palacios, T. Haenke, L.
Gibbon, Q. Quevedo, and J. W. Barry. 1875.
Explorations Made in the Valley of the River
Madeira, from 1749 to 1868. Bolivian Navi-
gation Company, London.
Kullander, S. O. 2003. Family Synbranchidae
(Swamp-Eels). In Checklist of the Freshwater
Fishes of South and Central America, edited by
R. E. Reis, S. O. Kullander, and C. J. Ferraris,
pp. 594–595. EDIPUCRS, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Lauzanne, L., G. Loubens, and B. Le Guennec.
1990. Pesca y Biolog´
ıa pesquera en el Mamor´
Medio (regi ´
on de Trinidad). In Informe
ıfico Interciˆ
encia, Simposio Internacional
sobre grandes r´
ıos Suramericanos 15:452–460.
Lehm,Z.1991.La Loma Santa: Procesos de
on, Dispersi´
on y Reocupaci´
on del Espacio
de los Ind´
ıgenas Moje˜
nos. Manuscrito (Tesis).
Carrera de Sociologia. Facultad de Ciencias
Sociales. Universidad Mayor de San Andr ´
La Paz, Bolivia.
evi-Strauss, C. 1948. Tribes of the Right Bank of
the Guapor´
e River. In Handbook of the South
American Indians-Volume 3. The Tropical Forest
Tribes, edited by Steward, J. H. pp. 371–379.
Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin, US
Government Printing Office, Washington,
Lisboa, C. 1967 [1631]. Hist ´
oria dos animais e
arvores do Maranha
˜o. Publica¸ca
˜o do Arquivo
Historico Ultramarino e Centro de Estudos
Ultramarinos, Lisboa.
Lombardo, U., K. Szabo, J. M. Capriles, J. H.
May, W. Amelung, R. Hutterer, E. Lehndorff,
A. Plotzki, and H. Veit. 2013. Early and
Middle Holocene Hunter-Gatherer Occupa-
tions in Western Amazonia: The Hidden Shell
Middens. PLoS ONE 8:e72746. [online] URL:
Maldonado, R. M., and J.C. T ´
onico. 2014.
on socio-cultural y econ´
de las naciones ind´
ıgenas de Bolivia. Journal
of Agricultural Science and Technology 3:87–102.
´n, P. 1701. Arte de la lengua Moxa, con su
Vocabulario, y Cathecismo. En la Imprenta Real
de Joseph de Contreras.
Marcgrave, G. 1942 [1648]. Historia Natural do
Brasil. Editora Imprensa Oficial do Estado de
˜o Paulo, Sa
˜o Paulo.
Mann, C. C. 2008. Ancient Earthmovers of the
Amazon. Science 321:1148–1152. DOI:10.1126/
etraux, A. 1928. La religion des Tupinamba et ses
rapports avec celle des autres tribus Tupi-Guarani
(Vol. 45). Editions Leroux, Paris.
etraux, A. 1942. The Native Tribes of Eastern
Bolivia and Western Matto Grosso. Smithsonian
Institution Bureau of American Ethnology,
Bulletin 134. United States Government
Printing Office, Washington, D. C.
Miller. E. T. 2009. Pesquisas Arqueol´
ogicas no
Pantanal do Guapor´
e-RO, Brasil: A Seq ¨
Seriada da Cerˆ
amica da Fase Bacabal. In
Arqueologia interpretativa.Om
etodo quantitati-
vo para estabelecimento de sequˆ
encias cerˆ
estudos de caso, edited by Meggers, pp. 103–
117. B. UNITINS, Porto Nacional, Brazil.
Miller, L. E. 1917. The Yuracar´
e Indians of
Eastern Bolivia. The Geographical Review
Moraes, A. S., and L. W. Espinoza. 2000. Captura
e comercializa¸ca
˜o de iscas vivas em Corum-
´- MS. In III Simp´
osio sobre Recursos Naturais
omicos do Pantanal. Desafios do Novo
enio, pp. 1–23, Corumba
´, Brazil.
Morais, R. 1931. O meu diccionario de cousas da
Amazonia. Editora Alba, Rio de Janeiro.
Musali, J., R. Feuillet, and J. Sartori. 2013.
´lisis comparativo de conjuntos ictioar-
ogicos generados por cazadores-recol-
ectores durante el Holoceno tard´
ıo en la Baja
cuenca del Plata (Argentina). Cuadernos del
Instituto Nacional de Antropolog´
ıa y Pensamien-
to Latinoamericano–Series Especiales 1:211–225.
old, E. 2001. Exploraciones y aventuras
en Sudam´
erica. Editora Apoyo para el Cam-
pesino Ind´
ıgena del Oriente Boliviano (AP-
COB), La Paz, Bolivia.
old, E. 2003. Indios y blancos en el
nordeste de Bolivia. Editora Apoyo para el
Campesino Ind´
ıgena del Oriente Boliviano
(APCOB), La Paz, Bolivia.
Ottaviano, J., and I. Ottaviano. 1979. Notas sobre
la cultura Tacana. Instituto Ling ¨
ıstico de
Verano, Riberalta, Bolivia.
Paz, S., and P. A. Van Damme. 2008.
Caracterizaci ´
on de las pesquer´
ıas en la
ıa boliviana. El manejo de las
ıas en r´
ıos tropicales de Sudam´
Centro Internacional de Investigaciones para
el Desarrollo (IDCR) and Instituto del Bien
Com ´
un (IBC).
on, G. A., A. N. G´
ıa, and H.
opez. 2007. Restos faun´
ısticos en
contextos funerarios prehispa
´nicos del valle
del R´
ıo Magdalena (Espinal, Colombia).
Caldasia 29:1–17.
Prestes-Carneiro, G., P. B´
earez, S. Bailon, A.
Rapp Py-Daniel, and E. G. Neves. 2016.
Subsistence Fishery at Hatahara (750-1230
CE), A Pre-Columbian Central Amazonian
Village. Journal of Archaeological Science: Re-
ports 8:454–462. DOI:10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.10.
Pr ¨
umers, H. 2007. ¿"Charlatanocracia’’ en Mo-
jos? Investigaciones arqueol´
ogicas en la Loma
Salvatierra, Beni, Bolivia. Bolet´
ın de arqueolog´
PUCP 11:103–116.
Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. 1985. Mons ´
u, un sitio
ogico. Biblioteca Banco Popular, Co-
Richter, H. 2008. Caza y pesca con los indios
es del Noreste de Bolivia. In Anota-
ciones sobre los Yucarar´
Paniagua. Comisi ´
on de Pastoral Ind´
Vicariato Apost´
olico del Beni, Trinidad.
Riedel, F. 2015. Von Geistern, Steinen und anderen
Leuten: das Weltbild der Baure im Bolivianischen
Tiefland. LIT Verlag, Berlin.
Riester, J. 1975. Indians of Eastern Bolivia: Aspects
of Their Present Situation. IWGIA Document
No. 18, Copenhagen.
Ringhofer, L. 2009. Fishing, Foraging and Farming
in the Bolivian Amazon: On a Local Society in
Transition. Springer Science & Business Me-
dia, London.
Rosa, A. O. 2000. Zooarqueologia de alguns
ıtios do Pantanal Sul-Matogrossense. Clio
Rosa, A. O. 2006. Ca¸cadores de cerv´
ıdeos no
Litoral Central: o s´
ıtio RS-LC-96. Pesquisas.
Antropologia 63:223–248.
Rosa, A. O. 2009. Ana
´lise zooarqueol´
ogica do
ıtio Garivaldino (RS-TQ-58), munic´
ıpio de
Montenegro, RS. Pesquisas antropologia
Ryden, S. 1942. Notes on the Mor´
e Indians, Rio
e, Bolivia: To the Memory of Dr.
Heinrich Snethlage. Journal of Anthropology
Santini, M. 2012. Ana
´lisis de los conjuntos
ogicos recuperados en sitios del
Chaco H ´
umedo argentino. Revista del Museo
de Antropolog´
ıa 5:195–202.
Santini, M., and G. Lamenza. 2015. Estudios de
subsistencia en el Chaco h ´
umedo argentino.
In En el coraz´
on de Am ´
eric a del Sur 3
(Arqueologia de las tieras bajas de Bolivia),
edited by S. Alconini, and C. J. Betancourt,
pp. 175–193. Imprenta, Bolivia.
Santos, G. M., E. J. G. Ferreira, and J. A. S.
Zuanon. 2006. Peixes comerciais de Manaus.
Editora IBAMA/ProVa
´rzea-AM, Manaus.
Smith, N. 1979. A pesca no Rio Amazonas. Editora
INPA/CNPq, Manaus.
Smith, N. J. 1996. The Enchanted Amazon Rain
Forest: Stories from a Vanishing World. Univer-
sity Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Soares, E. C. 2005. Peixes do Mearim. Instituto
Geia, Sa
ıs, Brazil.
EAREZ396 Vol. 37, No. 3
Sousa, G. S. D. 1974 [1587]. Not´
ıcia do Brasil
(Vol. 16). Comentario e notas de Varnhagen,
Piraja da Silva e Edelweiss. Edi¸ca
˜o patroci-
nada pelo Departamento de Assuntos Cul-
turais do MEC, Sa
˜o Paulo, Brazil.
Surkin, J. B. 2002. Caracterizaci´
on T´
ecnica de
Aspectos Hist´
oricos, Culturales, Socioecon´
Organizativos y de Gesti´
on del Territorio
ıgena Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure (TIP-
NIS). Proyecto MAPZA.
e, F. 2010. The Impact of the Rubber Boom
on the Bolivian Lowlands (1850-1920). Un-
published Doctoral Dissertation, Georgetown
Van Velthem, L. H. 2003. O belo e a fera : a est´
da produ¸ca
˜o e da preda¸ca
˜o entre os Wayana.
˜o Coisas de ´
ındios, Museu Nacional
de Etnologia, Lisboa.
Von den Driesch, A., and R. Hutterer. 2012.
Mazamas, patos criollos y anguillas de lodo.
Restos de subsistencia del asentamiento
precolombino ‘‘Loma Salvatierra’’. Llanos de
Mojos, Bolivia. Z. Arch. Aubereurop¨
Kult. 4:314–367.
Wake, T. A., and D. W. Steadman. 2010. Fishing
in the Mangroves at Formative Period El
Var a l . In Settlement and Subsistence in Early
Formative Soconusco: El Varal and the Problem
of Inter-Site Assemblage Variation, edited by
R. G. Lesure. Cotsen Institute of Archaeol-
ogy Press, University of California, Los
Watling, J., S. Saunaluoma, M. P¨
arssinen, and D.
Schaan. 2015. Subsistence Practices Among
Earthwork Builders: Phytolith Evidence from
Archaeological Sites in the Southwest Ama-
zonian Interfluves. Journal of Archaeological
Science: Reports 4:541–551. DOI:10.1016/j.
Winter, K. A. 2002. Subsistence Use of Terrestrial
and Aquatic Animal Resources in the Tierra
Comunitaria de Origen Itonama of Lowland
Bolivia. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation,
University of Georgia.
Yunoki, T., B. R. Cholima, and R. J. P. Moreno.
2012. Prospectiva de recolectar los peces
con el control hidra
´ulica en la llanura de
Moxos (Amazon´
ıa Boliviana): Efectos de
conectividad y cobertura vegetal sobre la
biomasa y la estructura de comunidades
ıcolas en las pozas artificiales. Medio
´tico 3:1–9.
... ej.,Godoy et al. 2005, Reyes-García et al. 2003, 2006.13 Es importante subrayar que, pese a que la antropología cultural boliviana tuvo un acercamiento tardío a la etnobiología, existen acercamientos desde otras disciplinas de las ciencias sociales como la arqueología(Langlie et al. 2011, Prestes-Carneiro & Béarez 2017, la ecología histórica(Denevan 1966, Erickson 2011, o la geografía(Sarmiento 2010). Por ejemplo, entre los estudios clásicos en los que confluyen la arqueología y la ecología histórica destaca el trabajo en los Llanos de Moxos(Denevan 1966, Erickson 2011. ...
Ethnobiology is the study of the relationships that different societies establish with nature, through the anlysis of knowledge, uses and perceptions. Bolivia is a country with great biological and cultural diversity. In the last two decades, Bolivia has initiated a political process in view to defend indigenous identity and governance, which includes the revaluation of local ecological knowledge. This situation provides an excellent opportunity for the development and consolidation of ethnobiological research in the country. In this article, we document the biological and anthropological precursors of Bolivian ethnobiology and we analyze its evolution through three emblematic case studies: the first two show the confluence of a biological and an anthropological project towards ethnobiology, and the third one illustrates the benefits of the participatory approach. The last section addresses some of the major challenges posed by ethnobiology in Bolivia, focusing on four aspects that are necessary to lay a strong foundation for the development of the discipline: i) identification of documentary gaps and creation of a baseline; ii) methodological development with a focus on interdisciplinarity, iii) internationalization; and iv) generalization of participatory research, which helps initiate a dialogue between various types of knowledge. Ethnobiology can contribute to the resolution of contemporary environmental issues, but this potential cannot be realized without a greater inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
... Si bien esta información no está presente en la documentación analizada, sí está referida para otros contextos de tierras bajas. Este es el caso del Delta del Paraná donde Luis Ramírez observa el uso de redes, arco y flecha de acuerdo a las crecidas del río (Maura 2007) o la pesca indígena de anguilas de agua dulce en la Amazonia (Prestes & Béarez 2017). Por lo pronto, esta primera aproximación nos permite avanzar en un camino de investigación en torno a la problemática de las relaciones entre grupos indígenas y animales. ...
Full-text available
Las tierras bajas de la Laguna Merín han sido objeto de renovado interés arqueológico en las últimas décadas en Uruguay. Diversos abordajes en el sector sur de la cuenca han colocado a la manifestación arqueológica cerritos de indios (~5000-250 años 14C AP), en el marco de problemáticas que buscan superar los modelos tradicionales que asocian tierras bajas a áreas culturales marginales. En esa línea, el estudio de la fauna arqueológica ha generado modelos interpretativos que colocan la caza especializada como actividad principal de los grupos indígenas de la región. Nuevos datos sobre conjuntos de ictiofauna sugieren un rol relevante de estos animales entre los constructores de cerritos y abren nuevas preguntas sobre el registro arqueológico regional. El objetivo de este trabajo es aportar una nueva línea de evidencia a esa problemática a partir de información etnohistórica para la región. Para ello se realizó una revisión y sistematización de fuentes etnohistóricas donde se informa sobre la relación de los grupos indígenas y los peces, desde los primeros contactos con los europeos en el siglo XVI hasta el siglo XVIII. Los resultados obtenidos contribuyen a la discusión sobre el registro arqueológico regional en términos de historia indígena de larga duración.
... Like the other species noted above, these eels survive the dry season in moist soils. Put into a fishing context, they become the next logical resource as ponds dry up and fish die (Prestes-Carneiro et al. 2017). A more recent study in Loma Salvatierra used sclerochronology (season of capture) to investigate when the marbled swamp eel (Synbranchus marmoratus) was harvested by pre-Columbian inhabitants (Prestes-Carneiro et al. 2021). ...
Full-text available
This study employed a GIS-based use-analysis on a network of recently mapped pre-Columbian earthworks lying on the west side of a Bolivian floodplain. This wetland region, called Llanos de Mojos, is home to many different types of artificial mounds that served different roles for the ancient communities who constructed them thousands of years ago. This new set of features, which was mapped by volunteers of the Proyecto Sistemas Informaticas Geograficas y Arqueologicas del Beni (ProSIGAB) was purported to be a network of fish weirs, linear earthworks built in rivers or floodplains that are designed to trap fish by exploiting seasonal floodwaters. This identification was based on their similarities with the Baures Hydraulic Complex on the east side of Mojos (Erickson 2000; McKey et al. 2016; Blatrix et al. 2018). Classification procedures made use of the features’ physical attributes and relationships with other landscape features to identify them not just as fish weirs, but multi-use structures that connected infrastructure, impounded water, and trapped fish. When understood together with nearby forest island settlements, neighborhoods of agricultural fields, and drainage features, it is argued these earthworks played a substantial role in the lives of past inhabitants, demonstrating their ingenuity by fulfilling multiple functions in a complex anthropogenic landscape.
Full-text available
José Celestino Mutis, mostly known for his contributions in the botanical field, however; made significant, if little known, scientific additions in fields from mathematics to zoology. In this paper, I present to the public, for the first time, Mutis’ work on ichthyology in the Viceroyalty of New Granada, the colonial Spanish denomination for the northern part of South America that includes the present-day countries of Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, work that, as Linnaeus himself stated, will immortalize Mutis for future generations.
The lowlands of the Merín lagoon have been the subject of renewed archaeological interest in recent decades in Uruguay. Various approaches in the southern sector of the basin have placed the archaeological Hills-Cerritos de Indios, hills of Indigenous- (~ 5000-250 years 14C BP) within the framework of a set of problems that seek to overcome traditional models that associate lowlands with marginal cultural areas. In this light, the study of archaeological fauna has generated interpretive models that place specialized hunting as the main activity of Indigenous groups in the region. New data on ichthyofauna assemblages suggest a relevant role of these animals among the builders of hills and open new questions about the regional archaeological record. This study aims to provide a new line of evidence to this problem based on ethnohistorical information for the region. To that end, a review of ethnohistoric sources was carried out, where information on the relationship between indigenous groups and fish, from the first contact with Europeans in the 16th century to the 18th century, is provided. The obtained results contribute to the regional archaeological record in terms of long-term indigenous history.
Full-text available
Resumo: Este estudo visa apresentar os resultados estratigráficos e zooarqueológicos do sítio arqueológico RS-158: Alberto Talayer, localizado no município de Santa Vitória do Palmar, Rio Grande do Sul. O objetivo é revisar as informações estratigráficas das campanhas de escavação dos anos 1970 e apresentar novos resultados zooarqueológicos e estratigráficos da escavação realizada em 2014. Os dados estratigráficos indicam que as ocupações desse sítio possuem uma sequência com mais de 2 metros de profundidade, com cinco camadas e indícios de diferentes níveis de ocupação (níveis arqueológicos IIa e IIIa), marcadas por períodos pré-cerâmico e cerâmico (tradição Vieira). Nos dois montículos que compõem o sítio arqueológico RS-158, a caça de mamíferos teria sido a principal atividade econômica, se destacando com a abundância do veado-campeiro. O problema relativo à sobreposição de diferentes níveis arqueológicos em uma estrutura antrópica encontra nesse estudo um contributo direto com o estabelecimento de variados níveis de ocupação e sua correlação entre os diferentes montículos. Assim, o sítio apresenta características específicas do ambiente no qual se localiza, com interações com os ecossistemas pampeanos, como campos sulinos, rios e lagoas. Palavra-chave: Cerritos. Arqueologia pampeana. Zooarqueologia. Estratigrafia. Abstract: This study aims to present the stratigraphic and zooarchaeological results of the RS-158 archeological site Alberto Talayer, located in the municipality of Santa Vitória do Palmar, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The study aims to review the stratigraphic information from the excavation campaigns of the 1970s and to present the new zoo-archaeological and stratigraphic results of the excavation carried out in 2014. The stratigraphic data indicate that the occupations of this site have a sequence of more than 2 meters in depth, with five layers, and evidence of different levels of occupation (archaeological levels IIa and IIIa) marked by pre-ceramic and ceramic periods (Vieira tradition). In the two mounds that make up the RS-158 archaeological site, hunting of mammals would have been the main economic activity, as shown by the abundance of pampas deer. Thus, the site presents specific characteristics of the environment in which it is located, with interactions with Pampa ecosystems such as its southern plains, rivers and lakes.
Full-text available
This study presents a comparison between fishers’ knowledge and fiscal records about the structure of inland fisheries in the Paraná River (Argentina). First of all, we characterized the fishing population according to the main demographic and economic indicators, identifying two different fishing areas: the northern and southern sections in the lower La Plata basin. Secondly, we carried out a comparative analysis of fiscal fishery records (from two commercial sets: 1930–1984 and 2011–2019) and local fishers’ knowledge on inland commercial fisheries (frequency of occurrence and abundance). Finally, we contrasted current fishing regulations (allowed meshes and boats, fishing prohibitions, exports) to fishers’ effective practices. The study area included 52 sites located along the floodplain of the middle and lower sections of the Paraná River, in the province of Santa Fe. Socioeconomic analyses identified two different groups of fishers throughout the river corridor. Results showed that fishers have detailed knowledge on nomenclature, ecology, reproductive strategy, habitat distribution, and usefulness of commercial fish species. By contrasting fishers’ knowledge with fiscal records, we found similar and complementary information about the changes in abundance and frequency of occurrence in fisheries. These results highlight the need of including local knowledge as an outstanding source of information for well-planned management of fishing programs and sustainable policies. Graphical abstract
Sclerochronology is a method used to estimate the season of death (season of capture) of archaeological individuals based on a modern growth model. This method has been increasingly accepted in South America and has mainly been applied to coastal archaeological sites (on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans). This is the first time that this method has been applied to a freshwater species, the marbled swamp eel (Synbranchus marmoratus), in archaeology. Excavations undertaken at Loma Salvatierra, a human-built platform located in the Bolivian Amazon and occupied from 500 until 1400 CE, have yielded 111 zooarchaeological vertebrae of the marbled swamp eel, which is one of the most widely distributed species recovered in South American continental archaeological sites. In order to estimate the fishing season for these archaeological individuals, we developed a modern osteological reference collection, made up of 61 specimens with known capture dates sampled monthly over a one-year period, about 60 km from Loma Salvatierra. The vertebrae present periodic growth patterns with a succession of dark and light bands alternately. Consequently, the vertebrae are a reliable basis for the estimation of the marbled swamp eel fishing season. The analysis of the marginal increments of vertebrae in present-day fish allowed us to elaborate a modern growth model showing that the seasonal growth of the marbled swamp eel is related to the hydrological cycle, whereby the fast growth period coincides with the onset of rainfall in the region. On the basis of this modern-based model, the analysis of zooarchaeological vertebrae demonstrates that fish were captured over several seasons. Demonstrating that human groups occupied villages year-round does not mean that they were not mobile but shows year-round fishing in the savanna. This year-round fishing practice raises questions concerning the generalized idea of fishing as an exclusively dry-season activity. As wild resources are generally seasonal, the evidence of the year-round fishing of swamp eels might suggest year-round fishing at Loma Salvatierra and contributes to the understanding of late-Holocene mobility patterns in pre-Columbian times.
Full-text available
The current capacity of environmental DNA (eDNA) to provide accurate insights into the biodiversity of megadiverse regions (e.g., the Neotropics) requires further evaluation to ensure its reliability for long-term monitoring. In this study, we first evaluated the taxonomic resolution capabilities of a short fragment from the 12S rRNA gene widely used in fish eDNA metabarcoding studies, and then compared eDNA metabarcoding data from water samples with traditional sampling using nets. For the taxonomic discriminatory power analysis, we used a specifically curated reference dataset consisting of 373 sequences from 258 neotropical fish species (including 47 newly generated sequences) to perform a genetic distance-based analysis of the amplicons targeted by the MiFish primer set. We obtained an optimum delimitation threshold value of 0.5% due to lowest cumulative errors. The barcoding gap analysis revealed only a 51.55% success rate in species recovery (133/258), highlighting a poor taxonomic resolution from the targeted amplicon. To evaluate the empirical performance of this amplicon for biomonitoring, we assessed fish biodiversity using eDNA metabarcoding from water samples collected from the Amazon (Adolpho Ducke Forest Reserve and two additional locations outside the Reserve). From a total of 84 identified Molecular Operational Taxonomic Units (MOTUs), only four could be assigned to species level using a fixed threshold. Measures of α-diversity analyses within the Reserve showed similar patterns in each site between the number of MOTUs (eDNA dataset) and species (netting data) found. However, β-diversity revealed contrasting patterns between the methods. We therefore suggest that a new approach is needed, underpinned by sound taxonomic knowledge, and a more thorough evaluation of better molecular identification procedures such as multi-marker metabarcoding approaches and tailor-made (i.e., order-specific) taxonomic delimitation thresholds.
Full-text available
This study identifies terrestrial and aquatic resource management priorities for a proposed indigenous territory, the Tierra Comunitaria de Origen Itonama (TCOI), located in the lowland Amazonian floodplain of Beni, Bolivia. The research focused on extractive activities in the town of Bella Vista, and the objectives were: 1) to determine the species of terrestrial and aquatic fauna that were most frequently harvested for subsistence purposes by human residents, 2) to evaluate preferences and selectivity for particular species of terrestrial prey, 3) to quantify harvest of prey groups (birds, mammals, fish, reptiles) as a proportion of the local diet and economy, 4) to compare hunting, fishing, and production of livestock as sources of animal protein, and 5) to evaluate management of aquatic resources as represented by an indicator species, Colossoma macropomum. Research methods were interdisciplinary, and included interviews with residents of Bella Vista, transect surveys of terrestrial fauna, hunting and fishing activity reports, diet calendars, and collection of selected species. The results of interviews and harvest activity reports indicated that residents sometimes select or avoid certain species of prey according to cognitive preferences, rather than simply abundance or yield per unit of hunting effort, and those preferences may induce over-harvest. Ten species of mammals were identified as the most recognized and actively pursued terrestrial prey for human subsistence in Bella Vista: Agouti paca, Dasypus novemcinctus, Tayassu pecari, Mazama americana, Tayassu tajacu, Blastocerus dichotomus, Tapirus terrestris, Dasyprocta variegata, Mazama gouazoubira, and Priodontes maximus. Management efforts should focus on species that are most frequently exploited, are particular to certain habitats, and/or are vulnerable to depletion. Hunting and fishing activity reports and diet calendars demonstrated the economic and environmental significance of managing fish resources in particular for the subsistence of residents in the TCOI, and of protecting aquatic habitats from degradation due to deforestation and cattle ranching. Fisheries and aquatic resource management is promoted in a case study of Colossoma macropomum, the most important species of fish in the TCOI. Active, participatory, and adaptable management of natural resources in the TCOI will determine the survival of resident populations of fish, wildlife, and humans.
Este trabajo tiene como objetivo presentar y discutir la variabilidad que exhiben los conjuntos ictioarqueológicos recuperados en cinco sitios arqueológicos (“El Cachapé Potrero V”, “El Cachapé Potrero IV A”, “El Cachapé Potrero IV B”, “Sotelo I” y “Puesto Fantin”), todos ellos localizados próximos a cursos de agua de diferente importancia en la región del Chaco Húmedo argentino (pcia. de Chaco). Cronológicamente los sitios se encuentran datados entre los 1700-900 años C14 AP. Para el análisis de los conjuntos ictioarqueológicos, se realizó su identificación y cuantificación, tanto taxonómica como anatómica, además de evaluarse diferentes aspectos tafonómicos que pudieron haber influido tanto en el origen como en la conservación de los mismos. Se valoró la importancia de estos recursos en el marco general de la subsistencia humana para cada uno de los sitios, en particular, y para la región, en general. De los conjuntos analizados se infiere que los peces constituyeron, en todos los casos, un recurso complementario en la dieta, aunque se evidencia una mayor importancia para los sitios “El Cachapé Potrero IV A”, “El Cachapé Potrero IV B” y “Puesto Fantin”.