Simulating Organic Projectile Point Damage on Bison Pelves

Author(s): Charles Speer

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

A Bison latifrons pelvis was discovered eroding out of shoreline sediment at American Falls Reservoir in Idaho in 1953. The ischium section had a unique groove and hole with a depth of 35 mm and 10 mm in diameter. The pelvis was X-rayed in 1961 for indicators of the origin of the damage and this could not be ascertained. An experiment was developed to determine whether a dart fitted with an organic projectile point could re-create the same damage. The experiment consisted of encasing 120 fresh, mature Bison bison pelves (ischium as target point) in ballistics gel to simulate bison musculature and skin. A total of 40 projectile points were manufactured to a similar size and morphology from antler (10), bone (10), ivory (10), and wood (10). The points were mounted on a 2 meter dart of 15 mm ash dowel weighing between 180-200 grams. Each point was used 3 times before being replaced unless damaged. These darts were launched using compressed air to between 38-42 m/s. The speed of each shot was recorded using a ballistics chronograph. The various breakage patterns were analyzed and compared. This research provides new data for taphonomic and archaeological interpretations of bison bone damage.

Cite this Record

Simulating Organic Projectile Point Damage on Bison Pelves. Charles Speer. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450229)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -168.574; min lat: 7.014 ; max long: -54.844; max lat: 74.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23748