The similarities between projectile point types can be striking and the differences subtle. I have seen two identical projectile points made with the same technology with similar age called different point types just because they were found in adjoining regions of the country. This is precisely why I do not get hung up on a name. In my opinion, we have gone way overboard on naming projectile point types. It appears to me that naming a new projectile point has become a feather in the cap for some people and that those people have gone out of their way in finding differences in projectile points, and not the similarities to an already existing projectile point type.
Figure Two - The Texas Panhandle point on the left is
called Plainview while the northern Colorado point
on the right is called Goshen. Can you tell the difference?
I can't. Longest point is 2.4 inches.
John Branney Collection.
For this article, I am staying out of the politics of proposing a new projectile point. It is almost impossible for an amateur archaeologist to have a new projectile point named and recognized. Professionals have a forum for naming and documenting new projectile point types and there is still a lot of politics. It can work the other way as well, i.e. denying the existence of an existing projectile point type. Texas archaeologists have denied the existence of Agate Basin points in Texas as if a future border stopped the Agate Basin people from entering future Texas. I have found and seen Agate Basin points in Texas, but since professional archaeologists have not found them, they do not exist. I digressed to the very topic I wrote I would avoid. ;).
Imagine that you and I discovered a new prehistoric site while surface hunting. We are finding a different style of projectile point that we have never seen. Since these are surface finds, we do not know the age or the prehistoric culture they come from. These projectile points look kind of like an existing projectile point type, but they are not a complete match. Our projectile points have a couple of features that make them different to the existing projectile point type. We wonder if we have found a new projectile point type.
Bottom line is; IT IS ONLY A NAME. You might even disagree with what I called the projectile points above. I have no problem with that. The critical item in projectile point identification is doing the homework required to identify your Paleoindian projectile point to the best of your ability.
In case you missed "Part I", CLICK the LINK, and if you want to join my Folsom People adventures CLICK the LINK under my book covers. You will be glad you did.
CROW and the CAVE - WHO DUN IT? - PART I