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Distinguishing Between Darts and Arrows in the Archaeological Record: Implications for Technological Change in the American West

  • William R. Hildebrandt (a1) and Jerome H. King (a2)


We propose a new method for differentiating archaeological atlatl darts from arrow points. Our dart-arrow index accurately distinguishes known (hafted) archaeological examples of darts and arrows. We find that ethnographic collections of hafted arrows used by previous researchers are problematic, and should not be used as control samples for differentiating darts from arrows. We use the dart-arrow index to reassess the projectile points described by Ames et al. (2010). The analysis shows that Hatwai Eared (4400–2800 B.P.) and Cascade (8500–4500 B.P.) points were darts, not arrows as Ames et al. argue, and that a major revision of the history of bow-and-arrow technology in western North America is unnecessary.


Proponemos un nuevo método para diferenciar los dardos de atlatl de las puntas de flecha. El índice dardo-flecha distingue con precisión entre los ejemplares arqueológicos conocidos (con mango) de dardos y de flechas. En muchos aspectos, las colecciones etnográficas de flechas con mango son problemáticas, y no se deben de utilizar como muestras de testigo para distinguir entre los dardos y las flechas. Utilizamos el índice dardo-flecha en una reevaluación de las puntas de proyectil deseritas por Ames et al. (2010). Sostenemos que las puntas tipo Hatwai Eared (4400–2800 B.P.) y Cascade (8500–4500 B.P.) eran puntas de dardos, y no de flechas como argumentan Ames et al. Como consecuencia, no es necesaria una revisión mayor de la historia de la tecnología del arco y la flecha en el oeste de América del Norte.



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