Date of Award
Anthropology & Sociology
Dr. Jennifer Schlegel
Dr. Gregory Hanson
For decades, archaeologists have used replicative studies to develop a better understanding of prehistoric technology. Many replicative studies have focused on the manufacture and use of stone projectiles, resulting in a detailed understanding of the design of hunting weapons in relation to various features of the environment and, in turn, elegant explanations for technological change over time. Yet if ethnographic accounts are any indication, lithic technology was only one (perhaps minor) part of many prehistoric technological systems. It is likely, then, that the technological changes archaeologists commonly document through their morphometric analysis of stone projectile points occurred against a backdrop of perishable technologies often not represented in the archaeological record. Here, I report on a replicative experiment designed to investigate whether archaeologists and "see" perishable projectiles in the archaeological record based on the damage they inflict on animal bones. Specifically, I examine if wood-tipped, fire-hardened, and stone-tipped arrows produce distinctive damage signatures. I use the results of my study to re-examine explanations offered to account for the transition from the dart to the bow and arrow in eastern North America.
Wingert, Sara R., "Missing the Point: Identifying Perishable Projectiles in the Archaeological Record from Bone Damage" (2018). Honors Student Research. 1.