Artifact dating terminology

You can help with this continual process by recording your finds and letting archaeologists document them through photography and measurements.

Identifying the source of the stone used to manufacture specific points can also be difficult.

Link to information about purchasing a Projectile Point Guide for the Upper Mississippi River Valley.

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Two other recommended print guides that overlap this area are Justice’s Stone Age Spear and Arrow Points of the Midcontinental Eastern United States and Morrow’s Iowa Projectile Points.

Several price guides are also available, but most are based on undocumented collections, and all contribute to the destruction of the archaeological record by inevitably disconnecting the locational context from artifacts through selling. We know that basic stylistic patterns changed through time, and we have a fairly good regional chronology of shapes, but many points do not readily conform to “type” examples.

The Glossary was begun in June 3, 1995, first published on the internet in 1997 and was last updated on February 1, 2009.

For many years archaeologists have shown great concern with projectile typology and a standardization of terms for projectile-point studies has been the focal point of innumerable efforts since the early 1900's.

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The LITHICS-Net Glossary is an ongoing, never-ending, living document in progress.Some characteristics, such as corner-notching, seem to have been popular during more than one period, so we may need to look for more subtle ways to determine the ages of specific points.Dating points is always a problem with surface finds, yet with avocational and professional archaeologists sharing knowledge, we can detect more precise patterns and associations.At the transition from Archaic to Woodland traditions there was a widespread shift to contracting stemmed point types, and toward the end of prehistory virtually every culture adopted unnotched triangular arrow tips.Although many basic point styles were widespread, they often have a variety of regional names.For example, contracting stemmed points are called Waubesa in Wisconsin and the Upper Mississippi Valley, and nearly identical points are called Belknap or Dickson in Illinois and Gary points to the south and east.

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