Akimel O’odham Projectile Point Design and P-MIP Archaeological Research


This presentation summarizes a Gila River Indian Community research program that is designed to provide quantified projectile point data, which are used to address significant research questions for the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project data recovery investigations. In contrast to people from most other regions of the world, the Akimel O’odham continued to extensively employ flaked stone points until the late 1800s. Consequently, considerable ethnographic and ethnohistorical data are available regarding lithic design and use. This information has been used to generate hypotheses regarding point style and function that have been tested through carefully controlled experiments. Specifically, it has been theorized that serration of the point blade margins was largely done for stylistic purposes, and controlled experiments were conducted that tested the effects of this practice on performance. The projectile experiments employed a fixed stand that consistently fired projectiles. Serrated and unserrated points were alternately launched into a variety of target media, and multiple aspects of performance were measured and recorded. The incidence of serration varies dramatically among different locations in southern Arizona, and this practice even varied between some nearby contemporaneous settlements, which supports the suggestion that it was done for stylistic purposes.

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Cite this Record

Akimel O’odham Projectile Point Design and P-MIP Archaeological Research. Chris Loendorf, Shari Tiedens, Brett Coochyouma, R. Scott Plumlee. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397149)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;