Spears, Darts, and Arrows: Late Woodland Hunting Techniques in the Upper Ohio Valley

Author(s): Michael J Shott

Year: 1993


J. Whittaker: Shift from notched or stemmed to generally smaller triangular bifaces in eastern N. America between 1500 and 1200 B.P. often interpreted as introduction of bow and arrow. Numerous theories of cultural change discussed: increased hunting and warfare efficiency, fall of the Hopewell, population dispersals, etc.

Test with data from two late Woodland sites. Childers site, 1295 B.P. wide range native domesticates and wild plants, mostly late notched point forms e.g. Chesser and Lowe. Woods site 950-1150 B.P., sharp increase in maize, mostly late triangular points like Levanna, Madison, Hamilton. Some overlap, but neither has small side-notched forms. Uses Thomas 1978 discriminant function to classify points as either arrow or dart. Discusses problems with this method. All of the triangular, and most of the notched points, especially from later Woods site, are classed as arrow points. Alternatives: at introduction of bow (somewhat earlier than believed), stemmed/notched points diverged into two uses, or Thomas model misclassifies some dart points as arrows (because based on small sample of darts), and because larger notched forms more likely to be reduced in size by damage and resharpening.

Ethnographic data questions assumption that bow and arrow is more efficient than spear hunting – more likely complementary. Hard to judge from experiments whether bow more efficient or effective than atlatl.

Cite this Record

Spears, Darts, and Arrows: Late Woodland Hunting Techniques in the Upper Ohio Valley. Michael J Shott. American Antiquity. 58 (3): 425-443. 1993 ( tDAR id: 423327)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Atlatl Hunting Weapon

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): EXARC Experimental Archaeology Collection Manager

Record Identifiers

ExArc Id(s): 10138


Rights & Attribution: The information in this record was originally compiled by Dr. Roeland Paardekooper, EXARC Director.