Examining the Function of Lithic Crescents as Transverse Projectile Points: An Experimental Approach

Author(s): Kevin Smith

Year: 2015


Flaked-stone crescents are an artifact type unique to the western portion of North America, and based on direct obsidian hydration and associated radiocarbon dates this artifact was used between the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene. Previous studies have attempted to uncover the function of this artifact, associated with the earliest inhabitants of western North America, hypothesizing the use of crescents as sickles, ulus or hide scraping tools, among other uses. Recent studies have demonstrated a high correlation between crescent distributions and seasonal waterfowl migration routes. Following on this research, I test the hypothesis that stone crescents functioned as transverse projectile points by analyzing crescent collections within California Results produced from analysis of lithic-reduction sequences, material-selection strategies, wear and breakage patterns, as well as data derived from replicative and experimental studies (e.g., testing impact fractures, hafting strategies, material performance) appear to support the hypothesis that these artifacts were effective weapons for the acquisition of waterfowl.

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Examining the Function of Lithic Crescents as Transverse Projectile Points: An Experimental Approach. Kevin Smith. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397935)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;