Articles
Organic Projectile Points

Many, if not even most, of us have spent countless hours walking plowed fields with the hope of finding whole or even broken stone projectile points.  The ancient Americans, who have been in this continent for at least twelve thousand years, were adept at taking flint or chert or quartz and making sharp and usable knives, scrapers, drills and spear/arrow points.  These were used in slaying and butchering animals for food and shelter/clothing materials.  But that left out some of the usable parts of the critters – these parts were the animal bones and with the members of the ungulate family of deer, the antlers.  These were used for making many tools, especially as tips for spears and arrows  - they are the organic  projectile points.
It is difficult to find animal bone and antler tools because they tend to disintegrate while buried in the earth.  But many of us have discovered a small tapered and almost ice-cream-cone shaped antler or bone projectile point or at least what is left of one.  It is, today, believed that the Paleo Period natives may have made thrusting spear points from the mega-fauna bones and tusks.  And the later Archaic Period people probably used all external and internal parts of the animals that they dispatched and consumed.  But it is the later Woodland Period natives, especially the ones living after AD 500, who left us with the majority of the found antler/bone arrow points and tools for one simple reason - these artifacts, since they have been in the ground for a shorter period of time have not deteriorated to the extreme level of the earlier ones.
These projectile points are usually in the pointed cone shapes but can be found, though much more rarely, as long and slender and almost needle shaped dart or arrow tines.  The ones that were used on arrows are normally small or being in the one to two inch long ranges and will also usually have a hole bored in the large end or base of these spikes.  The hole was there so the arrow shaft could be inserted and secured to the point by using pitch and leather thongs.  A few of these arrow points have a barb-like extension adjacent to the drilled base.  As for the long and often non-cylindrical points, they seem, to have been made from animal leg bones and can be a couple of inches to as much as ten inches in length.  They are often bi-pointed and narrow and the current belief is that they were used on spear thrower darts during the long Archaic Period.  And they are much less common than the smaller conical shaped antler arrow points.  Also the long and narrow bone artifacts you may find could have been used as awl or needles rather than tips for projectiles.  If you are lucky enough to find a antler or bone tool, study it carefully so as to determine if it an awl type implement or if you have discovered a more rare and desirable organic projectile point.
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