Thursday, December 29, 2005

Late Archaic Projectile Points

This is cool...
Michael J. Rogers, associate professor of anthropology at Southern Connecticut State University and his student, Nancy Parsons, have found almost 5,000 stone artifacts at the site, including several unfinished points and at least one unbroken dart point.

The discovery reveals the importance of stone ridges to the hunter-gatherers of 3,000 to 4,000 years ago and adds details to the sparse knowledge of the Late Archaic period of North America.”


"Quartz was probably not their first choice" for making stone points, he said. Although very hard, quartz cracks unpredictably and is difficult to work. The hunter-gathers probably selected fist-sized lumps of quartz and broke them into two parts. The ancient craftspeople then used rocks to shape the quartz, Rogers says.

Once the quartz gained a sufficiently triangular shape, pieces of wood or antler were then pressed against the edges to flake off small pieces to shape the final product.

Parsons says she wondered why the site contained so many imperfect points. The answer is probably that the "good" points were used for hunting, while less-than-perfect pieces were discarded, she says.

In case you are wondering the projectile points are of a type known as Squibnocket Triangles which date to the Late Archaic (6,000-3,700 BP)
New England Projectile Point Typology contains an interesting overview of projectile points found in the New England Region as well as pictures illustrating each type.