dating flint arrowheads

Roberta Ball, 37 years old


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Flint knapping is the age-old art of making arrowheads and other edged stone tools. Hunter-gatherers relied upon this key wilderness survival skill to create important tools and hunting implements. Many people continue to practice the skill today, including traditional bowyers, experimental dating flint arrowheads, and primitive skills enthusiasts. At its most basic level, flint knapping consists of: breaking open a piece of parent material called a core ; striking flakes off of that core; and then shaping those flakes into the intended tool. Because flint knapping includes breaking apart rocks with force, where sharp flakes can fly off in any direction, it is very important to wear safety glasses. Gloves, shoes, and sturdy pants are also highly recommended.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons. There are various kinds of arrowheads designed by the Native Americans. Around 1, types have been recorded to date. The identification of these arrowheads would let you learn more about the history and way of life of the people who made and used them, which could have dated back thousands of years ago.
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How to Date Indian Arrowheads. There are several methods of dating Indian arrowheads. Obsidian arrowheads are often dated using the hydration method. Dating an arrowhead this way requires cutting a piece of it off and measuring how much water it has absorbed. Archaeologists often excavate areas where arrowheads have been found and conduct Carbon 14 testing to date arrowheads. These methods are beyond the dating flint arrowheads and resources of the average Indian arrowhead enthusiast. However, there are some things any Indian arrowhead collector can do to date Indian arrowheads. Difficulty:ModerateInstructions Find Indian arrowheads. Consider looking in newly plowed fields, construction or excavation sites, riverbanks, gullies, creeks.

Native Americans designed many different arrowheads — about 1, types are on record — and much can be determined about an arrowhead if you have simple information like the material it's made of, where you found it and its shape and design. When you've properly identified the arrowhead, a world of culture and history will open up to you. Though the object itself was only used by one individual, most likely a man, for hunting and fishing, it is the gateway to a culture that existed possibly thousands of years dating flint arrowheads, on the same soil you stood on when you found it. Identify the location where the arrowhead was found. If you know the state or region where the arrowhead is from, that will narrow the list of possible projectile points from 1, to a couple of hundred options. Identify the material the arrowhead is made out of if you don't know the region it came from. Chert, for example, is native to the Illinois and Missouri area. Determine the overall shape of the arrowhead. For example, is it stemmed, stemless or notched? If it's stemmed, note the shape of the stem; stemless, whether it's fluted or not; notched, whether it's notched in the side or from the corner.

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