Spear Points (3000 B.C. – A.D. 500)
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 four spear point categories below date to the Late Archaic (3000 – 1000 B.C.), Early Woodland (1000 – 500 B.C.), and Middle Woodland (500 B.C. – A.D. 500) periods. Savannah River Stemmed points usually are larger than earlier spear points and have squared stems for hafting. Many archaeologists think that the largest points probably were used exclusively as knives. Both the Badin and Yadkin types have triangular shapes similar to later arrow points; however, their significantly larger size indicates they likely were used to tip spears rather than arrows. The Randolph Stemmed type is similar in general shape to the much earlier Morrow Mountain II Stemmed type, but it is more crudely made. While initially believed to be an historic arrow point dating to the 1700s, Randolph Stemmed points have been found in association with Middle Woodland pottery and are now thought to date to that period.