Spear Points (6000 – 3000 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.
Spear points that date to the Middle Archaic period (6000 – 3000 B.C.) have several different shapes, depending on when they were made and used. The earliest points, called Stanly Stemmed, have squared stems similar to those made at the end of the Early Archaic period. Later, this stem was chipped to a more tapered, or pointed, shape. Spear points of this shape are classified by archaeologists as either Morrow Mountain I Stemmed or Morrow Mountain II Stemmed. Still later points, called Guilford Lanceolate, are thick, narrow, and long, and they lack a stem for hafting. By the end of the Middle Archaic period, some points were attached to the spear shaft by chipping shallow notches on each side of the point near the base. These spear points are called Halifax Side-Notched and are thick and narrow, but much shorter than points of the preceding Guilford type.