Friday, May 25, 2012

Pre-Clovis Bone Points and Theories on the Earliest Settlements in the Americas

The earliest migrations into the Americas have been estimated at about 10,000 years ago.  That hypothesis, however, is being revised further and further back as researchers gather data about the first people who trekked across the land from Asia to populate the New World.  Perhaps even more intriguing is evidence that bone points used in spears preceded stone points.  I have wondered if bone points were, in fact, always more commonly used than stone points regardless of the time-frame.  Bone points are easier to make and not as prone towards breakage.  From a practical perspective—especially when considering the logistics surrounding the first settler’s lives—it seems that fashioning points from bone would be less energy consuming and thus preferred.  Of course, bone points (like wooden spears, atlatls, bows and arrows) are subject to decay over time.  As has been suggested by others the availability of stone points presents a skewed picture of what types of piercing implements were most popular.  In fact, one critic suggested that a thousand years from now archaeologists will find more evidence of life between ten and five thousand years past than they will of the current age—thus is the physical persistence of stones.

Below are two articles that you might find interesting regarding research into settlement dates and the use of bone points.