Exploring the Function and Adaptive Context of Paleo-Arctic Projectile Points

Author(s): Joshua Lynch

Year: 2019


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

This paper presents the results of a large-scale experimental archaeology project investigating variability in the projectile point technologies of Upper Paleolithic Siberia and late Pleistocene/early Holocene eastern Beringia. A series of 36 projectile points (12 lanceolate bifaces; 12 composite slotted caribou antler points inset with chert microblades; 12 unslotted caribou bone points) reflective of the morphological variability observed in the Beringian archaeological record were created and tested as components of three weapon systems (atlatl and dart; hand-thrusted spear; bow and arrow) using an actualistic target. The use wear patterns generated by these controlled launches were documented macro- and microscopically, then compared to use wear observed on projectile technologies from archaeological assemblages across Beringia. Examining the range of morphological, technological, and functional variation observed in these projectile technologies tests hypotheses proposed to explain why radically different projectile technologies co-occur in the late Pleistocene/early Holocene Siberian and Alaskan archaeological records. Understanding the functions of these important artifacts can inform on the significance of assemblage variability in Siberia and Alaska, adaptive response to resource fluctuations, and landscape use across the region and through time. Ultimately, these experiments have significant implications regarding the colonization of Beringia and the Americas.

Cite this Record

Exploring the Function and Adaptive Context of Paleo-Arctic Projectile Points. Joshua Lynch. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450236)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.453; min lat: 50.513 ; max long: -49.043; max lat: 72.712 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24449