Clovis Points Were Likely Knives: An Evaluation of the Evidence

Author(s): David Thulman; Brendan Fenerty

Year: 2019


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

The Clovis projectile point attached to the end of a spear or dart is an iconic symbol of North America’s late Pleistocene hunter, but the point’s use is more assumed than demonstrated. We find evidence for the "point-as-projectile" inference equivocal, because that same evidence also supports "point-as-knife". We present new experimental data that demonstrate that macro-flakes usually ascribed to projectile point impact fractures can be produced simply by dropping a replica Clovis point attached to a handle from waist-height. Additional evidence is reviewed that supports knife-use. Although no firm conclusions are drawn about Clovis point use, this review highlights the need for thoughtful experimental designs that include testing alternative hypotheses.

Cite this Record

Clovis Points Were Likely Knives: An Evaluation of the Evidence. David Thulman, Brendan Fenerty. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450346)

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): 25834