Anthropology, Department of


First Advisor

Stephen Glazier

Date of this Version


Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts

Major: Anthropology

Under the supervision of Professor Stephen Glazier

Lincoln, Nebraska, May 2011


Copyright 2011, by Don Arp, Jr.


This work examines a type of war club unique to South America and to the area of the three Guianas. The so-called block war club of the Guianas, often noted in the memoirs of explorers and soldiers in the New World, has received little academic attention. Mining firsthand accounts and what little academic attention has been focused on the clubs, this paper examines a set of clubs from the Heye Foundation Collection now housed in the National Museum of the American Indian. This thesis seeks to classify the block type club as the flared quadrilateral club, which is a more accurate description of this type of implement and distinguishes it from other club types encountered in the Guianas and South America. Given that this club type has not received a full analysis, this thesis examines both forms of the club (bladed and non-bladed), hafting techniques and strategies, and the combat uses and injuries incurred from the club. Additionally, it suggests that a tentative origin of 400 to 600 A.D. can be given to the club based on the current level of knowledge of the Guianas archaeological record.

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