Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Projectile Point Shape and Durability: The Effect of Thickness: Length

  • Joseph Cheshier (a1) and Robert L. Kelly (a2)

We describe an experiment that tests the hypothesis that projectile points with high thickness: length ratios are more durable than points with low thickness: length ratios. Fifty obsidian projectile points were manufactured to specific lengths, widths, and thicknesses. These were then fired into a deer carcass with a bow repeatedly until each point broke. None of the points were resharpened. The hardness of the material struck was a significant predictor of a point's durability. Controlling for this variable, however, we found that points with a high thickness: length ratio (>.121) were slightly albeit significantly more durable than those with a low ratio. No other attribute of size or shape was a significant predictor of durability.

Describimos un experimento diseñado para probar la hipótesis que las puntas de proyectil con cocientes altos espesor:largo son más durables que las puntas con cocientes bajos espesor:largo. Cincuenta puntas de proyectil de obsidiana fueron fabricadas con longitudes, anchos y espesores específicos. Estas fueron luego disparadas reiteradamente contra una carcasa de ciervo con un arco, hasta que cada una de las puntas se fracturó. Ninguna de estas puntas fue reafilada. La dureza del material impactado fue un indicador significativo de la durabilidad de una punta. Controlando esta variable, sin embargo, encontramos que las puntas con un cociente alto de espesor:largo (>.121) eran leve, aunque no significativamente más durables que aquellas con un cociente bajo. Ningún otro atributo de tamaño o de forma fue un indicador significativo de la durabilidad de las puntas.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

James Browne 1940 Projectile Points. American Antiquity 5:209213.

Jelmer. W. Eerkens , and Robert L. Bettinger 2001 Techniques for Assessing Standardization in Artifact Assemblages: Can We Scale Material Variability? American Antiquity 66:493504.

Jeffrey J. Flenniken , and Anan W. Raymond 1986 Morphological Projectile Point Typology: Replication, Experimentation, and Technological Analysis. American Antiquity 51:603614.

George C. Frison 1989 Experimental use of Clovis Weaponry and Tools on African Elephants. American Antiquity 54:766784.

George J. Higgins 1933 The Aerodynamics of an Arrow. Journal of the Franklin Institute 216:91101.

Heidi Knecht 1997 The History and Development of Projectile Technology Research. In Projectile Technology: Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology, edited by Heidi Knecht, pp. 335. Plenum Press, New York.

George H. Odell , and Frank Cowan 1986 Experiments with Spears and Arrows on Animal Targets. Journal of Field Archaeology 13:195212.

Ronald H. Towner , and Miranda Warburton 1990 Projectile Point Rejuvenation: A Technological Analysis. Journal of Field Archaeology 17:311320.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 5 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 75 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 24th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.