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Projectile Point Typologies

Archaeologists build a projectile point typology based on the size and shape of projectile points--from spear points to true arrowheads. Basically, projectile points changed over time, like fins on a Cadillac or cellphone shapes and sizes. These typologies are configured so that you, the user can figure out how old a point is and what its history is, by identifying the characteristics that can be dated.Projectile point typologies are regional, and it is usually best to pick one that is close to you. These are free online sources. Other options would be to contact your friendly local archaeologist, or

Native American Projectile Point Types of Southern New England
Metrics, descriptions, and images of points, sorted by form (side notched, stemmed, corner-notched, lanceolate, and triangular. Form Tara Prindle at NativeTech.

New England Projectile Point Typology
This site includes several small images of each New England projectile point types, sorted by date.

Ripley Bullen Projectile Point Typology (Florida)
The Ripley Bullen typology was built over ten years in the late 1960s-1970s; this page has a description of its history and photographs of each of the main types. From Jerald Milanich and the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Southern Ontario Projectile Points - London Chapter
From the London Chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society; cultural affinities into adjacent regions especially New York State, Michigan and Ohio.

Texas Arrowhead Gallery
No information about dating or cultures here, but there's a nice gallery of images that makes it easy to scan through looking for a point to put a name to. From Texas Arrowheads.com.

What's the Point? Ohio Flint Artifacts
An artifact identification scheme that lets the user decide what kind of point (or other tool) s/he has based on identifying characteristics. My favorite type of online typology, with a click through way to narrow down your possible types.

Diagnostic Artifacts from Maryland
This typology from Maryland has projectile point sorted by period, rather than artifact shape, but cruising through the categories may give you a feel for what points from the different periods look like.

 

Point Guide at University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse
This projectile point typology covers the major point types for the Upper Mississippi River Valley, including the central and central northern United States.

 

Creekside Technologies (New York and Northeastern US)
Jim Fisher's guide illustrates the major point types in the American northeast.

 

Warren Wilson College (Appalachians in North Carolina)
Point descriptions of the types of projectile points found in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina.

 

Society for California Archaeology
Essentially a list of types found in California: not really enough photographs for someone unfamiliar with the typologies, but a good list of types.

 

Unstemmed Points in Texas (Texas Beyond History)
Most typologies focus on the hafting elements or stems: this excellent resource from Texas Beyond History is useful for investigating point types that don't have those elements.

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