Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bird points with no birds?

San Pedro point from excavations at Mule Creek, NM

While, yeah, I do have a major crush on San Pedro points (such a dreamboat) they're probably not the best for all uses.  Bow and arrow? maybe a scaled down version.  These things are usually pretty large, about the length of your pinky finger and would make an arrow take a digger before if got anywhere.  Soooooo...let's play!  I have a few smaller points made on different materials to see how it all comes together.  This will be a bit of an endeavor so multiple posts will be made to detail the steps.  I'll finish up the project by going on a hunt with them out in East TX.

there are a few things I need to consider, and my approach will affect the morphology of the items I carry with me.  We could take this back a few hundred years ago (actually about A.D. 400 in N. America) and think of how raw material availability, target species, arrow weight and culturally learned behaviors may have had an affect on each arrow.  The strange thing I end up chatting with other traditional hunters about is the fact that we are exposed to a much, much larger pool of potential projectile point shapes than prehistoric peoples.  Not to say independent innovations and form exploration didn't take place, cause it did.  But! we have books of point forms and our ancestors did not, just sayin'.  This just means that I have a larger bag of tricks to pull from, unfortunately you still have to be good at hunting for any of these silly flaked stones to work.  The odds really aren't in my favor on this one, books or no.

Here's what I propose:
 As with the rest of this blog, this is my lithic tradition and is completely biased towards my own personal cost:benefit judgements (but it still has to look cool...imperative)

-Weigh points by themselves then on completed arrow to see if there's a happy weight for my bow
-See if I have a preference in hafting element between side notched, no notch and corner notched points.
 -Which appear more robust? was any breakage just bad luck?  What lessons should we remember for the next gear-up and hunt.

Hopefully this will culminate in a productive romp in the woods with a few lessons learned and a few rabbits or gnomes in the freezer   

The points don't need to be big, seems folks have been calling small points "bird points" because they feel they are only big enough to shoot birds.  Weird, why then do we have tons of deer bones, broken small points, barely any bird bones and no large point frags at sites where bows would have been the primary tool for hunting?  I'm of the opinion that small points are quite capable of taking game as large as deer, check it out, little morbid but gets the point across well. 

Deer remains from a trash deposit in a room block, Fornholdt site, NM

Here are a few points we've come across during work at Tularosa Phase pueblo sites in southwest NM.  You're looking at Pueblo Side Notched points (PSN) and Tularosa Corner Notched (TCN) ca. 1250-1300 A.D.


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