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Arrowheads and Spear Points in the Prehistoric Southeast

Arrowheads and Spear Points in the Prehistoric Southeast: A Guide to Understanding Cultural Artifacts

Linda Crawford Culberson
Illustrated by Jim Culberson
Copyright Date: 1993
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  • Book Info
    Arrowheads and Spear Points in the Prehistoric Southeast
    Book Description:

    The Native American tribes of what is now the Southeastern United States left intriguing relics of their ancient cultural life. Arrowheads, spearpoints, stone tools, and other artifacts are found in newly plowed fields, on hillsides after a fresh rain, or in washed-out creekbeds. These are tangible clues to the anthropology of the Paleo-Indians, and the highly developed Mississippian peoples.

    This indispensable guide to identifying and understanding such finds is for conscientious amateur archeologists who make their discoveries in surface terrain. Many are eager to understand the culture that produced the artifact, what kind of people created it, how it was made, how old it is, and what its purpose was.

    Here is a handbook that seeks identification through the clues of cultural history. In discussing materials used, the process of manufacture, and the relationship between the artifacts and the environments, it reveals ancient discoveries to be not merely interesting trinkets but by-products from the once vital societies in areas that are now Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, the Carolinas, as well as in southeastern Texas, southern Missouri, southern Illinois, and southern Indiana.

    The text is documented by more than a hundred drawings in the actual size of the artifacts, as well as by a glossary of archeological terms and a helpful list of state and regional archeological societies.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-485-0
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. 7-10)
  4. Preface
    (pp. 11-12)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 13-16)
  6. 1 Some Basic Principles of Archaeology
    (pp. 17-29)

    Any discussion begins with certain basic assumptions, the most basic being that the participants will be speaking the same language. Much of the literature available on the prehistory of the southeastern United States was written by archaeologists for other archaeologists or for college students specializing in archaeology. It was written in their jargon. Although the words are English, and may have more commonly used definitions, they have been assigned meanings that are specific to archaeology.

    When referring to an object made by a people being studied, scientists use the word “artifact.” Basically an artifact is any item that has been...

  7. 2 The First Immigrants
    (pp. 30-39)

    Man did not originate in the New World, or at least there is no scientific evidence to support such a theory. All of the skeletal remains of people found in the Americas are decidedlyHomo sapiens sapiens,modern man. There are noHomo erectusor Neanderthal remains found here, for example. It naturally follows then, that they had to come from somewhere else.

    The modern Native Americans are morphologically most like the peoples of Asia, although there are numerous differences which are attributed to the length of time they have been separated from their ancestral cultures. Traits that the populations...

  8. 3 The Paleo-Indians
    (pp. 40-47)

    The Paleolithic period gets its name from the Greek words,paleo,meaning ancient, andlithic,meaning stone. The compound word, Paleo—Indian, simply means the ancient native Americans who are said to have lived during the Paleolithic period.

    The beginning of the Paleolithic in the New World begins with the first settlers there. As we have seen, the actual time period is the subject of much scientific discussion, and a consensus has yet to be reached. Those archaeologists who support the validity of the radiocarbon dates of such sites as Meadowcroft in Pennsylvania, which has been dated at 12,800 b.p....

  9. 4 The Archaic Stage
    (pp. 48-61)

    As the Pleistocene ended and the Holocene, or recent epoch, began about 10,000 to 11,000 years ago, many of the megafauna had become or were becoming, extinct, primarily because of a change in the climate as the earth warmed. The glacial ice began to retreat further northward, and correspondingly, the sea levels rose as the melting waters flowed into them.

    The Hypsithermal, as the interval between 7000 and 3000 b.c. is known, was a period when the continental United States was particularly warm and dry, although some scientists now feel that the climatic changes were less uniform than previously thought....

  10. 5 The Woodland Stage
    (pp. 62-70)

    The transition between the Archaic and the woodland stages is generally tied to the introduction of pottery, and because pottery appeared in different areas at different times, the date of the end of the Archaic and the beginning of the Woodland also varies. The earliest pottery in the Southeast was found in the Stallings Island culture, located in Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Florida. Dated to approximately 2500 b.c., these artifacts would designate an end to the Archaic that was much earlier than the 1000–500 b.c. date assigned in other areas of the Southeast. In general, the Woodland...

  11. 6 The Mississippian Stage
    (pp. 71-76)

    The Mississippian stage began about 700–800 a.d. in the central Mississippi Valley. Dan and Phyllis Morse write (1983) that it was “a new way of life and embraced kinds of technology and a new relationship to the environment. It was undoubtedly the closest that the prehistoric Central Valley came to a cultural revolution, as contrasted with the more gradual evolution experienced before about a.d. 700. Although there was continuity from Baytown to Mississippian, the transition was rapid and the consequences enormous.”

    The new way of life involved a change from the earlier tribal societies to chiefdoms. These larger population...

  12. Glossary
    (pp. 77-80)
  13. Appendix A Additional Projectile Points
    (pp. 81-82)
  14. Appendix B State Archaeologists in the Southeast
    (pp. 83-86)
  15. Appendix C Museums with Southeastern Archaeological Collections
    (pp. 87-102)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 103-112)
  17. Index
    (pp. 113-117)