M.A. Theses: Daniel Arthur Holmberg, 1994

Arrow Heads and Spear Points an Experimental Study of Projectile Points

Projectile points are found in most cultures and often have distinctive shapes and/or are made of special materials. It is suggested that these differences in form and material will affect the performance of projectile points when used against specific targets, and different points will have different optimal applications.

Points were manufactured from several common materials including different kinds of wood and stone, and in some of the most common forms found in the archaeological record. These were then tested in controlled experiments to ascertain differences in functional effectiveness when shot into targets such as straw bales, the carcass of a small pig, and the chest of a reconstructed moose.

The results of these experiments were then tested statistically, and show far less significant variation than would be expected. This suggest that, within limits, functional effectiveness is not the ruling criteria in the choice of projectile point forms. Alternative possibilities are suggested.