Excavations of stratified peat sites, carried out by the author on the Upper Volga during recent years, yielded a large number of varied bone projectile heads. Among these, arrowheads are most numerous. Half-finished artifacts of this group were also found together with lithic tools used for boneworking. Traceological studies enabled the author to identify various features left by lithic tools on the surface of the bone artifacts. A programme of experiments helped in the understanding of the operational chain during their manufacture, and what tools were used for each stage.
Long tubular bones were used to make the majority of the arrowheads. They were either broken into long pieces with a hammerstone or use was made of the ‘groove and splinter’ technique. Direct percussion with hammerstones was used for other bones. Secondary treatment included more accurate flaking and retouch, cutting, planing, scraping, sawing with the help of stone tools, usually flint burins, knives, scrapers and saws. Abrasive slabs were used for grinding, while fine polishing was achieved with the help of leather, sometimes, with fine dust-like abrasive agents.
The operational chain for the manufacture of arrowheads was the following: (1) obtaining a splinter of bone; (2) removal of unnecessary mass of bone with the help of burin and scraper to create a pre-form; (3) cutting of slots for inserts (for composite arrowheads); (4) planing of the surface with a knife, carving of details and, engraving of ornamentation. Many arrowheads were then polished, except for their bases. Specific variants of secondary treatment were observed on some arrowheads. The study showed a high degree of development of boneworking, with standardization of designs and technological operations, especially during Boreal times. Later, many arrowheads were crudely made, though wear traces and resin at their bases indicate that these are finished tools which were used.