INFORMATION ABOUT PROJECTILE REFURBISHING

My data indicate that approximately 80% of the prehistoric projectiles were refurbished. I could go into a long discussion on whether this percentage reflects reality or only the archaeological record, but I will not. I will just say that the vast majority of projectiles were refurbished and this statement applies to all projectile types. However, the frequency of refurbishing did vary between projectile types. I assume this variance existed because the durability of projectile types varied. Some types (e.g. Folsom) were very fragile and impact damage tended to snap them at the haft and render them un-repairable. Other types were thick and robust (e.g. Bajada) and impact damage most often only nicked the tip.

The original projectile in its undamaged, non-refurbished state was symmetrical in morphology and workmanship. Refurbishment of a damaged projectile did not restore the original symmetry, but instead generally created asymmetry. This asymmetry is one of the two characteristics one can use to recognize a refurbished projectile. Listed below are three types of symmetry and the absence of one or more of these (usually there is more than one) is enough to classify a point as refurbished. Click on the colored text for images of the asymmetry that results from refurbishing. Click on the thumbnail size images for larger images.

  • Symmetry about the longitudinal axis. (5 images).
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  • Symmetry in cross-section. (5 images).
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  • Symmetry is workmanship (4 images).
  • The second characteristic that permits one to identify a refurbished projectile is the presence of a knee (discontinuity) in the lateral edges of the blade. An original projectile did not have any knees and their presence is enough for one to classify a projectile as having being refurbished. Proceed to images and discussion of Lateral Edge Knees. (5 images).

    
    
  • References Cited

  • Comments on the Document

    The information presented in this refurbishing section of Tony'ís HomePage is founded on two assumptions. The first is that a single group of people made one and only one type of projectile that conformed to a mental template. This is called typology. This assumption is widely accepted by most archaeologists; however, there are a few who have difficulty with it. The second is that projectiles were refurbished in an expedient manner without an attempt to conform to a mental template. This assumption means that refurbishing destroyed type: and, if enough of the projectile was refurbished, then its type has been obliterated. Fortunately, the proximal end (base) contains most of the type diagnostics, while the distal end (tip) was the target of most of the refurbishing. Therefore, if the original proximal end of a projectile is present then type can generally be determined.

    The information presented here has been developed over 30 some years of personal observation and study. Although some of it comes from reading, most of it comes from personal communication with many individuals that I could not begin to cite. The one single individual that I can cite is my father, Ele M. Baker, who taught me the most.

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