M.A. Theses: Ann de Gruchy Tighe McMurdo, 1973
A Typological Analysis of Barbed Bone and Antler Projectile Points From the Northwest Coast
This thesis is concerned with the typological analysis of barbed bone and antler projectile points from the Pacific Northwest. Four classes of these artifacts are considered in the analysis. The first class consists of one piece harpoon heads which can be defined as "detachable projectiles, usually of bone or horn....equipped for the attachment of a retrieving line" (Drucker 1943: 35-36. Composite and single piece socketed harpoon heads are not considered in this study. The other three classes of barbed bone and antler projectile points can be generally described as fixed points. Barbed fixed points do not have a means for line attachment, and as such are readily distinguishable from harpoons. Barbed bone and antler projectile points in their various forms are recorded as related categories of artifacts developed in the Old World and brought to the New World through both population movements and diffusion.
Specimens in published and unpublished papers, theses, photographs, and specimens contained in collections of various museums and universities, in the Southwestern British Columbia area have been studied and classified. Various classes of barbed fixed points were classified separately from barbed harpoons. The basis of the typology is morphology. However, traits used for differentiating types were considered to be of potential culture-historical relevance, and it is felt that indeed they do. The classification was then tested for functional and cultural validity. On the class level the divisions have functional validity. At the type and sub-type level the distinctions are culturally valid in a sequential or historical sense; that is, certain attributes such as line attachment methods show a developmental sequence while others such as those exhibited in the fixed point classes are connected with various phases of the Southwestern British Columbia cultural sequence. An overall historical view of barbed bone antler projectile points is presented on the basis of the findings.
The aims of this study are threefold. The first is to set up a typology of related artifact classes; the second is to test the classes, types and sub-types against functional and cultural data where possible. The third aim is to formulate hypotheses regarding these artifacts and their place in Northwest Coast prehistory. It is felt that a typology can be more than merely a classifacatory tool if cultural, temporal and special data are taken into consideration. The prime result of this study then, is to provide British Columbia archaeologists with a tool to aid in cross-cultural analysis on an early chronological basis.