SYMMETRY ABOUT THE LONGITUDINAL AXIS

On an original projectile there is symmetry along the longitudinal axis. This statement applies to the proximal end (base) as well as the distal end (tip). In my thesis, where I was only concerned with the distal end, I wrote: ... the lateral edges are symmetrical. Thus, both edges are straight, convex or maybe concave. A resharpened projectile can have asymmetrical lateral edges. (Bradley 1982:196; Frison et al. 1976:46; Wilmsen and Roberts 1984:109). I am not sure why I said that the lateral edges would be concave. I am unaware of any original projectile with concave lateral edges. See the section on lateral edge knees. The following images are examples of the loss of symmetry about the longitudinal axis as a result of refurbishing.

A refurbished side notch which is a classic example of asymmetry about the longitudinal axis. No, this projectile was not built for shooting around corners. :-)



A refurbished Armijo(?) with all the characteristics of refurbishing. It is asymmetrical about the longitudinal axis on the distal end and also on the proximal end (the right lateral edge of the stem in the left view has been altered). The blade is asymmetrical in cross-section (bevelled) with knees where it meets the stem (see "reverse stem" in knees). Finally, a change in workmanship can be seen in the right view on the left side at the knee.

This complete projectile is another classic example of the lack of longitudinal symmetry as a result of refurbishing. The outside edge in the views has had more material removed from it than the inner edge. The center line of the stem does not coincide with the center line of the body of the projectile. Finally, a new tip has been created on the distal end at some later time after the lateral edge refurbishing.





A distally refurbished Clovis with the lack of longitudinal symmetry. A change in workmanship is also visible. According to Mike Collins, the typical Clovis initially is around 100 mm in length and is refurbished numerous times until it is discarded at around 50 mm. This projectile represents the far end of Mike's bell curve because it measures 28.1 mm. Since Clovis projectiles were thick and robust, they apparently experience minor damage on impact and could be refurbished a number of times. Was this a design philosophy?

A distally refurbished Bajada. This projectile is made from basalt as is the vast majority of the archaic projectiles (Jay, Bajada, San Jose & Armijo) found in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico. The transistion from Paleoindian to the Archaic in this region saw a change in the selection of lithic material from cryptocrystalline to basalt. For many years, this change has intrigued me and I could not understand why a person would work a material that was as tough as basalt. I now believe it was done with a design philosophy of refurbishing. This belief is supported by the fact that 95%+ of these Archaic points have been refurbished. As I suggested above, Clovis may also have had a refurbishing design philosophy.

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