Spear Points (14,000 – 8000 B.C.)
Spear points, also called projectile points and arrowheads, are pointed objects normally made from chipped stone that were attached to the end of a spear or an arrow. Over time the shapes of these points changed, changes that have been recorded by archaeologists and grouped into types. By finding projectile points in association with other artifacts that can be dated, archaeologists are able to attribute rough dates to the different projectile point types. Combining this information together, archaeologists have constructed a timeline, or chronology, for North Carolina projectile point styles. While the dates for any particular projectile point last a long time, the durability of stone means that for many older sites these may be the only dateable artifacts available. Refinement of the available chronologies and point typologies is therefore an important and ongoing job for many archaeologists.
The earliest spear point types found in North Carolina date to the Paleoindian period (14,000 – 8000 B.C.) and were used by hunters at the end of the last Ice Age. They are characterized by a lanceolate, or leaf-like, shape, have a concave base, and often have a flake scar, called a flute, on one or both sides that extends upward from the base. This made it easier to attach the point to the spear shaft. Three other types—Hardaway Blade, Hardaway-Dalton, and Hardaway Side-Notched—date to the end of the Paleoindian period. Their shapes reflect a gradual change in shaft attachment (called hafting) from fluting to side notching.