How To Identify Arrowheads and Points

Many people collect spear tips, arrowheads, and other tools and artifacts scattered around the world. If you are a history enthusiast, then hunting and analyzing points and arrowheads is a very nice challenge for you. Here are some guidelines on how to identify arrowheads and points.

  • Analyze what type of material it is made from. Points and arrowheads are usually crafted from stone (obsidian, chalcedony, and quartzite), bone, ivory, metal or other material.
  • Classify its shape. Typical arrowheads are triangular and pointed in form. Points have a wide variety of shapes. They can be bifacial, which has flakes on either side, or one-faced, which are flaked on one side and smooth on the other. Identify if it is drilled, pointed or scraped.
  • Examine and measure arrow points and dart points through their size and weight. True arrowheads usually have a length of 2 inches. Arrow points are lighter and smaller than dart points. By determining the hafting area’s width, you can determine which is which between the two types of projectiles. The wider it is, the more possibility that it is a dart point rather than an arrow point. The hafting area can give a good clue to how a point was being hafted to a shaft for the creation of weapons.
  • Determine the base of the artifacts. It can be rounded, straight, corner-notched, bifurcated, side-notched, un-notched, stemmed or concave. Generally the larger and finely made projectile points are the oldest, called spear points, and were used as the working ends of spears.
  • Determine the age of the artifacts. Rounded leaf-shaped blades with size 3 to 5 inches long date on Early Adena: 800-300 BC. The Corner-notched arrowheads date on circa AD 900-1100. The Side-notched arrowheads date on circa A.D. 1000-1350, and Circa AD 1350-1750 for the un-notched points. For stemmed base points, they range from Late Archaic circa 4000-1000 BC. Concave artifacts mostly date on Early Paleo-Indian, 9500-8500 BC. Straight base called Hopewell blades date on circa, 100 BC - AD 500. Bifurcated base date on Early Archaic: circa 7000-6500 BC.
  • Research the historical background and the place where you found the artifacts. Determine whether ancient tribes used to live in that region. Arrowheads and projectile points are recognized based on their characteristics of culture and time. The sizes and shapes of the arrowheads changed over time for reasons of function and technology, depending on the ethnic group where they belong.
  • To be certain, try reading books about proper identification of projectile point artifacts.
  • For more pieces of reliable information, try to communicate with your local archeological organization. They will provide you the necessary and specific data regarding arrowheads and points within the vicinity.
  • Upon coming across arrowheads or points, you may want to write about them and share your finds with so many others having the same choice of collection. This is a very effective way to attract possible buyers who are in want of adding fresh collectibles. However, do consult a true expert in the field of archaeology for appraisal and a proper authenticity evaluation before deciding to sell your finds.

Hope you’ve learned a little. Happy hunting!


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