It has been proposed that the Umbu tradition, whose definition is based on the presence of bifacial points, originated in Southeastern Brazil around 10,000 BP, and it could be still observed around 1,500 BP. So far, very few chronological markers have been identified. That, together with its extended chronological frame, has resulted in much controversy about the actual existence of such a tradition. We aim to illuminate questions related to the characterization of that tradition, the possible changes in the size and shape of these bifacial points through time, and the chrono-spatial relationship among point groups. In order to do that, we will analyze the morphological variation of bifacial points from Brazil and neighbour regions through the use of quantitative analysis never used before in Brasil (multivariate statistical analysis applied to categorical data, metric data and shape coordinates from geometric morphometrics). Preliminary results have shown that points from São Paulo are different from the ones from Southern Brazil (Paraná, Santa Catarina e Rio Grande do Sul). It might be a regional identity exclusively shared by the groups from São Paulo (at least on what concerns bifacial points). It is not unlikely that the so called Umbu Tradition could be restricted to a narrower chronological range and regional frame. The existence of prehistoric points from Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso, as well as from Uruguay and Argentina, is well known, but the relation of these points, especially the Brazilian ones, to the Umbu Tradition is not known. Our project aims to work towards a better understanding of the definition of spatial and chronological frames of these points, also contributing to a better definition of the Umbu Tradition and the discussion of possible routs of expansion and culturally boundary areas of hunter-gatherer groups in Brazil.
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