Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Controlled Archery Experiment to Determine the Presence of the Bow Technology in Prehistoric North America
by Howe, David Ian, M.A., University of Wyoming, 2017, 68; 10685673
Abstract (Summary)

Projectile points decrease in size over time in North America, with a significant decline in size about 1000 BP. Most archaeologists today posit that this sudden change links to the invention or adoption of bow and arrow technology; however, without a large dated sample of preserved wooden bows, arrows, darts, and atlatls it is difficult to know if this is correct. Via a controlled archery experiment, projectile point performance and function is tested to determine if there is a point at which large projectile points render a bow less functional. Through use of a precisely mounted traditional bow, modern arrows, high-speed cameras, and ballistics gel, these performance characteristics were tested. The results of the experiment support the hypothesis that there is a size threshold. However, points of relatively large sizes, comparable in weight to that of Paleoindian lanceolate points, prove to be functional and mostly accurate when fired from a bow. The implications of these results are far reaching, as they may change our perception of projectile point functions based on size, and could suggest an earlier appearance of the bow in the Americas.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Surovell, Todd, Kelly, Robert
Commitee: Kelly, Robert, Surovell, Todd, Walrath, David
School: University of Wyoming
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Wyoming
Source: MAI 58/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Atlatl, Bow, Experimental, Hunter-gatherer, Paleoindian, Projectile point
Publication Number: 10685673
ISBN: 9780438592728
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