Sisk and Shea 2011 IJEB.pdf (681.21 kB)
The African Origin of Complex Projectile Technology?: An Analysis Using Tip Cross-Sectional Area and Perimeter
journal contributionposted on 2014-07-09, 00:00 authored by John J. Shea, Matthew SiskMatthew Sisk
Despite a body of literature focusing on the functionality of modern and stylistically distinct projectile points, comparatively little attention has been paid to quantifying the functionality of the early stages of projectile use. Previous work identified a simple ballistics measure, the Tip Cross-Sectional Area, as a way of determining if a given class of stone points could have served as effective projectile armatures. Here we use this in combination with an alternate measure, the Tip Cross-Sectional Perimeter, a more accurate proxy of the force needed to penetrate a target to a lethal depth. The current study discusses this measure and uses it to analyze a collection of measurements from African Middle Stone Age pointed stone artifacts. Several point types that were rejected in previous studies are statistically indistinguishable from ethnographic projectile points using this new measure. The ramifications of this finding for a Middle Stone Age origin of complex projectile technology is discussed.