Nine Points on a Finger

The Aniakchak villager's made some small points. Archaeologists often assume that these miniature arrowheads were used as toys. Given their abundance at the site, however, I believe these were used for other purposes. Either that, or this village was some kind of day care camp, because the majority of our hafted biface assemblage was of points under 2 cm in length. This photo was taken by my lab assistants, Forest and Adam.

  • 4-S-Treegirl (Kelly) 5y

    Maybe for some crafting?....what do you think? Excellent photo.
  • Brian Hoffman 5y

    Yes - evidence of craft production is a big part of the site's artifact assemblage. We found tons of tools and manufacturing waste. These artifacts, however, do not exhibit any use wear that would indicate they functioned in craft production. Instead they have a design and breakage pattern that is typical of projectile points.
  • Gil DeHuff 5y

    What about arrowheads for hunting birds?
  • Brian Hoffman 5y

    PhotosByGil - Good suggestion. It's actually one of the hypotheses we consider probable. There are two issues with the 'bird hunting hypothesis'. First is the ethnohistoric record (early historic accounts and oral history) which do not indicate bird hunting with stone-tipped arrows as a regular practice. Instead birds were hunted with a variety of nets and snares. Arrows were used in some cases - but were either tipped with blunt arrowheads (that stunned the birds) or multi-pronged tips (that essentially ensnared the bird). Obviously it is possible that hunting practices differed between the 'ethnohistoric period' - AD 1700/1800s - and the time Aniakchak was occupied - so we need to be wary of the 'tyranny of the ethnographic record'. But this still leads to the second issue with the bird hunting hypothesis, which is that we have no evidence to support it. None of the bird bones we have examined have exhibited damage that could have been caused by a stone-tipped projectile. We recognize that this damage would be minimal in many cases - or hard to identify. May be someday we could look for blood residue on the points to analyze. Perhaps then we could find the evidence we need to resolve this little mystery.
  • Minnesota Historical Society 4y

    That's a fine looking finger! Complements to your hand model.
  • Mike Beauregard 4y

    tiny dart-sized points and very, very neat
    any other microlithic evidence?

    thx for your fav's my way
  • Richard Fernandez 4y

    Awesome micro relics.
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Taken on August 23, 2010
  • 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5
  • ƒ/22.0
  • 71.3 mm
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  • 200
  • Flash (off, did not fire)
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