SYMMETRY IN CROSS-SECTION

The above is a portion of a figure I had in my thesis. I wrote, "On an original projectile, the distal and proximal end cross-sections are identical in shape. A resharpened projectile can have a different cross-section in the area of resharpening (Bradley 1982:196; Frison et al. 1976:43; Wheat 1975:13)." This statement is correct, but tends to be misleading. It implies that original projectiles were created with cross-sections similar to #2 or #3. They were not! The vast majority were created with a cross-section, from proximal (base) to distal end (tip), similar to #1. A few projectile types (e.g. Belen) tended to have a plano-convex cross-section, but in no way could it be confused with the bevelling depicted in #2 or #3. Therefore, a simple and accurate indicator of refurbishing is the presence of bevelling on the distal end and none on the proximal end.

Bevelling is interesting from another aspect. The archaeological record shows left edge bevelling occurred 70% of the time, regardless of projectile type. (Left edge bevelling is defined as visible bevelling on the left edge, with the distal end positioned up.) My explanation for this fact is that these projectiles were refurbished while still in the haft. The holding of the shaft during refurbishing would have been different for right and left handed individuals, and therefore different edges would have been bevelled. Ironically, the left hand bevelling probably was done by right handed people if the right hand was dominant in prehistorical populations. I would appreciate an email message if someone has a different idea on the predominance of the left handed bevelling.

The following five (5) images have been arranged by bevelling. The first three (3) are left handed bevel and the last two (2) are right handed bevel.


Left Handed Bevel

This projectile has been refurbished numerous times. It probably was two or three times larger in its original form. In the right view note the change in workmanship at the interface of the bevelling and the face of the blade. The work on the face is some of the original flaking. Also, note several knees in the lateral edges of the blade.


This projectile is a refurbished Jay. (Most Jays were made from Basalt.) It originally was more than twice as long as it is here and there is no way to determine how many times it was refurbished to get it to this state. Note the lack of of longitudinal symmetry.


This projectile is an extremely refurbished Bajada made from an opaque obsidian. The left hand bevel is difficult to see in the image and it is even somewhat difficult to see on the real artifact. The method I use to determine bevelling is to look at the projectile from the tip down the longitudinal axis. If there is a clockwise rotation of the lateral edges as they move toward the tip, then it is left handed bevel. This projectile definitely has that rotation. Note the lack of longitudinal symmetry and knees in the blade.


Right Handed Bevel

This projectile has been refurbished (created) from a midsection of a larger point. The proximal edge on the proximal end is the edge where the original point snapped. The proximal end retains most of the original workmanship while it has almost been obliterated on the distal end. Based on thickness (current distal end is thicker), it is believed the ends were reversed on the original point.


This projectile is believed to be a strongely refurbished Breckenridge. The cross-section of the blade is almost a rhombus. In both views the outer lateral edge of the proximal end has been refurbished. Plus, the ear on that side is missing.


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