Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

William H. Isbell


Spearthrower devices held a role around the world as a primary weapon and tool before slowly falling out of favor in certain areas for other projectile weapons. While it is widely accepted that spearthrowers were used by the people of the ancient central Andes, comparatively little research has gone into the role that they had as weapons of war, hunting tools, and objects of ceremonial reverence. In addition, the Andes developed a unique style of spearthrower and have produced many examples of spearthrowers with exceptional craftsmanship, leading me to believe that these tools were given special reverence.

This thesis compiles evidence of who in the Andes was using spearthrowers, and in what contexts, by comparing iconography to existing artifacts. It was determined that they saw the heaviest use among the coastal societies through the Early Intermediate Period and were primarily seen as a symbol in the following years.

Included in

Anthropology Commons