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Stones and Shafts Redux: The Metric Discrimination of Chipped-Stone Dart and Arrow Points

  • Michael J. Shott (a1)

Many of the chipped-stone bifaces so common in the archaeological record functioned as the hafted points of darts or arrows. For archaeologists, these artifacts possess two salient properties: (1) they formed only part of a larger apparatus; but, (2) because perishables decompose, they ordinarily are the only part preserved. Consequently, the identity of that apparatus-i.e., whether dart or arrow-is not readily apparent. For various reasons, we may wish to know if stone bifaces functioned as dart or arrow points. Often we rely on reasonable assumptions, but Thomas's (1978) discriminant analysis is a more reliable way to distinguish the possibilities. This study extends Thomas's approach by increasing the dart sample and the rate of successful classification. Shoulder width is the most important discriminating variable. An independent test on a set of arrows also strengthens confidence in the results.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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