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Projectile Dysfunction: A Controlled Archery Experiment to Determine the Presence and Replacement of the Bow and Atlatl Technologies in Prehistoric North America

Author(s): David Howe

Year: 2017

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Summary

There is an undeniable trend of a gradual decrease in projectile point size over time in prehistoric North America. About 1000 years ago (1kya), this morphologic decrease seems to plateau at a very small size, until projectile points were no longer used. Most archaeologists today posit that this sudden change has to do with the invention or adoption of the bow and arrow; however, without a large sample of preserved wooden bows, arrows, or darts, it is difficult to say for certain that this notion is correct. Via a controlled archery experiment, projectile point performance and function will be tested to determine if there is a variable threshold at which large projectile points are no longer functional when fired from a bow, or small projectile points are no longer functional when thrown from an atlatl. Or simply: is there a specific point size or weight that can tell the difference between these point types? A simple analysis as to whether large lithic projectile points can be fired efficiently from a bow was also conducted. These performance characteristics will be tested through use of a mounted bow rig, stone-tipped arrows, high-speed cameras, and ballistics gel.


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Projectile Dysfunction: A Controlled Archery Experiment to Determine the Presence and Replacement of the Bow and Atlatl Technologies in Prehistoric North America. David Howe. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429161)


Keywords

General
Atlatl Bow Experimental


Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15450

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America