Redating Fell's Cave, Chile and the Chronological Placement of the Fishtail Projectile Point


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January 2015


Fell's Cave lies near the Magellan Straits of South America's Southern Cone. This was the first site to provide evidence of a late Pleistocene occupation of South America, and it is the site where the Fishtail projectile point type was defined. Previous radiocarbon ages from Fell's Cave on charcoal samples from three hearths in the late Pleistocene artifact-bearing levels yielded dates ranging from ca. 11,000 to 10,100 radiocarbon years before present. New radiocarbon dates on curated charcoal samples from these same hearths yield revised ages of ca. 10,800 to 10,400 radiocarbon years before present. These new dates from Fell's Cave agree well with ages from other South American sites in the Southern Cone with Fishtail points and show that the Fishtail projectile point was made from ca. 10,850 to 10,300 radiocarbon years before present or ca. 12,800 to 12,100 calibrated years before present.

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American Antiquity, Vol. 80, no. 2 (2015).