Points

Points were chipped on both sides with a very sharp (unused) cutting edge.  Points were sorted based on
the key proposed by Greg White (White 1984:125) during his work at LAK-510 in the Anderson Marsh
State Historic Park.  Samples of each recognized style were submitted for hydration analysis.  All but
three of the points were of Borax Lake obsidian, 2 were Konocti obsidian and one was Napa obsidian.
The points are listed here in order of their hydration readings (most recent to oldest). There were 32
points recovered during project monitoring.  

All obsidian chipped stone tools that appeared to have diagnostic shapes were submitted for hydration
analysis.  Hydration readings were converted to approximate years B.P. (Before Present) using Thomas
Origer's (1993) rate for Napa obsidian and the Borax Lake/Napa obsidian conversion factor developed by
Kim Tremaine and Dave Fredrickson (1988).
Site maintained as a public service by Archaeological Research, PO Box 1353, Lucerne, CA 95458.
Contact: dr.john@wolfcreekarcheology.com
Elem Points
History and Prehistory of Lake County
and Beyond
Non-diagnostic Fragments
(12)

Broken tips (3),
mid-sections (2), and
other pieces (8) were
recovered from LAK-76.  
Both of the Konocti
obsidian pieces were in
this category.
 
Rattlesnake
Corner-notched (2) [300
B.P.]

These are small points,
most likely for arrows,
and the most recent of the
styles of points recovered
(0-158, 266).  They had
mean hydration readings
of 1.9 and 2 microns
respectively indicating
manufacture around 300
years B.P.
Excelsior Serrated (2)
[900-1,300 B.P.]

These points had rounded
contracting stems and
often serrated edges.  
Points 0-22 and 0-129 had
mean hydration readings
of 3.2 and 3.7, indicating
manufacture ~900 and
1,300 B.P.
Mendocino Contracting
Stem (1) [1,800 B.P.]

These contracting stem
and sometimes flat-based
points have a slight
shoulder just below the
cutting edge.  Point H6-50
had a mean hydration
reading of 4.4 microns
indicating manufacture
~1,800 B.P.
Willow Leaf (2)
[2,000-2,300 B.P.]

These are often thick
knife-like points (0-26,
227).  Point 0-26 had a
hydration mean of 4.9 and
0-227 had a hydration
mean of 4.6 indicating
manufacture ~2,300 and
2,000 years B.P.
Houx Serrated (5) [2,500/
2,800/2,900 B.P.]

These long
contracting-stem points
are often serrated and
sometimes have ears or
tangs at the shoulder.  
Point 0-151 had a mean
hydration reading of 5.2
microns indicating
manufacture ~2,500 B.P.  
Item 0-112 had two bands
suggesting the reuse of an
older tool.  One band was
8.7 microns indicating
manufacture ~7,200 B.P.
and one was 5.5 microns
indicating secondary use
~2,900 B.P.  Item 0-237
had a reading of 5.4
indicating manufacture
~2,800 B.P
Flat Base (1) [2,700 B.P.]

The base of this point was
squared off by pressure
flaking to create a thin,
flat base.  Its hydration
reading was 5.4 microns
indicating manufacture
~2,700 B.P.
Unidentifiable Style (1)
[3,900 B.P.]

Point 0-175 resembled a
Mendocino side-notched
point and had a single
hydration rim of 6.4
microns indicating
manufacture ~3,900 B.P.
Concave Base (1) [4,600
B.P.]

This long point (0-392)
had a shallow concave
base and a mean hydration
reading of 7 microns
indicating manufacture
~4,600 B.P.
Borax Lake Notched
Widestem (1) [4,700 B.P.]

When discovered, it was
thought that this would be
the oldest point recovered
during the project.  The 7
micron reading from this
point suggests
manufacture ~4,700 B.P.
Flat-Base Dart (1) [5,100
B.P.]

This point resembled the
small excelsior style dart
point described by many
base is flattened and
thinned.  The thin base
profile more closely
resembles a Mostin point.  
The hydration reading also
resembles a Mostin point
with a mean micron
reading of 7.3 indicating
manufacture ~5,100 B.P.
Mendocino Corner-
notched (1) [7,000 B.P.]

These flat-based square
and expending-stemmed
points (0-309) sometimes
have pronounced corner
notches but often don’t.  
This one had a hydration
mean of 8.6 microns
indicating manufacture
around 7,000 B.P.
Mendocino Side-notched
(1) [14,200 B.P.]

Point 0-107 appears to
have been serrated, side
notched, and may be the
result of several periods
of use and reuse.  Three
hydration bands were
observed on this
specimen.  The widest rim
had a mean of 12.2
microns indicating
original manufacture
around 14,200 B.P.  The
next rim had a mean of 8.2
microns indicating
additional work around
6,400 B.P.  The smallest
rim had a reading of 4.6
microns indicating
further work around 2,000
B.P.  Other serrated point
forms (see Houx Serrated
listed above) are in the
2,000-year  range.
Flat-base Widestem (1)
[14,200 B.P.]

This point (0-108) was a
barely-worked flake that
resembled a Borax Lake
widestem.  It had a single
hydration band with a
mean of 12.2 microns
indicating manufacture
around 14,200 B.P.
Thrusting Spears (14,000 to 900 B.P.)

The largest points were most likely the tips of long
thrusting spears.  Hydration data suggest that these
types of spears were in use from 14,000 B.P. through
900 B.P.

Throughout this extensive period of time, changes in
form and style are evident.  A range of different base
and notch styles can be found until about 4,000 B.P.  
These included square bases, concave bases, notched
bases, and side notching.  None of these styles included
serrated edges.

Beginning about 4,000 B.P. serrated edges are found
among many point styles and most point bases are
rounded or contracting in shape.

Dart and Atlatl (5,000 B.P. and later)

As with most changes in technology, the addition of a
new technology adds to, rather than replaces, a previous
technology.  The small thin-based dart point with a
hydration date of 5,100 B.P. most likely tipped a short
spear or dart.  This short spear or dart would have been
launched at prey with the help of a throwing stick
(atlatl).  This new hunting technology did not replace
the thrusting spear, but was used alongside it.  Point
sizes indicate that both technologies were likely in use
from 5,000 B.P. till the time of European arrival.








Bow and Arrow (300 B.P. and later)

The small points used to tip arrows are evidence of the
most recent hunting technology.  The arrow points
recovered had hydration dates of 300 B.P.

Many people assume that the development and use of
new technologies provide a population with additional
food resources or make resource procurement easier.  
Mark Cohen and others are more inclined to view the
introduction of new technologies as a “means of
approximating as closely as possible the old status quo
in the face of our ever-increasing (population)
numbers.” (Cohen 1977:285)
hydration means suggests a major increase in the
number of points in the 2,000 to 4,000 B.P. time
period (5 and 6 micron range) as well as a possible
increase in the 6,400 to 7,000 B.P. period (9 micron
range).  It is known that the most recent volcanic
eruption in the Lake Basin occurred ~3,200 B.P.  The
stresses this event had on food resources may have
required an intensification of hunting, which would
explain the increase in points during this period.