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Point Typologies, Cultural Transmission, and the Spread of Bow-and-Arrow Technology in the Prehistoric Great Basin

  • Robert L. Bettinger (a1) and Jelmer Eerkens (a2)

Abstract

Decrease in projectile point size around 1350 B.P. is commonly regarded as marking the replacement of the atlatl by the bow and arrow across the Great Basin. The point typology most widely employed in the Great Basin before about 1980 (the Berkeley typology) uses weight to distinguish larger dart points from smaller, but similarly shaped, arrow points. The typology commonly used today (the Monitor typology) uses basal width to distinguish wide-based dart points from narrow-based arrow points. The two typologies are in general agreement except in central Nevada, where some dart points are light, hence incorrectly typed by the Berkeley typology, and in eastern California, where some arrow points are wide-based, hence incorrectly typed by the Monitor typology. Scarce raw materials and resharpening may explain why dart points are sometimes light in central Nevada. That arrow point basal width is more variable in eastern California than central Nevada likely reflects differences in the cultural processes attending the spread and subsequent maintenance of bow-and-arrow technology in these two localities.

Résumé

La disminución en el tamaño de las puntas proyectil hacia 1350 AP se considera generalmente una indicación de la sustitución del atlatl por el arco y flecha en la Gran Cuenca de los Estados Unidos. La tipología común en esta área antes de 1980 (tipología de Berkeley) utilizó el peso para distinguir puntas más grandes de puntas más pequeñas pero de forma parecida. La tipología generalmente empleada hoy (Monitor tipología) utiliza el ancho para distinguir puntas de bases anchas de puntas de bases estrechas. Tipicamente, estos dos sistemas de tipología están de acuerdo con la exceptión de Nevada central donde algunas puntas proyectil ligeras están clasificadas equivocamente en la tipología de Berkeley. Además, en California oriental algunas puntas de proyectil tienen bases anchas y están clasificadas equivocamente en la tipología Monitor. Probablemente, las puntas de Nevada central son ligeras debido a la falta de materia prima y alproceso de reafilación. Hay más variabilidad en el ancho de las puntas en California oriental que en Nevada central y probablamente refleja diferencias en los procesos culturales relacionados a la propagación y mantenimiento suhsiguiente de la tecnología de arco yflecha en estas dos localidades.

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References

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Point Typologies, Cultural Transmission, and the Spread of Bow-and-Arrow Technology in the Prehistoric Great Basin

  • Robert L. Bettinger (a1) and Jelmer Eerkens (a2)

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