A Projectile Point Chronology
Since projectile point shapes and sizes changed through time as animal resources changed and new ideas were adopted, archaeologists can use these stone tools to create a timeline of projectile point types. Soil stratigraphy, other artifacts, and radiocarbon dates associated with each type of point help archaeologists assign dates to the point types. Through the years, researchers working in North Carolina have developed a projectile point sequence for the Sandhills. All of the projectile point types describe below have been found on archaeological sites here at Fort Bragg.
Paleoindian Period (12000 BC - 8000 BC)
Clovis, named for the small town in New Mexico where it was found originally, is the earliest projectile point found in North and South America. These spearheads are lanceolate in shape and have a distinctive “flute” removed from the base. Clovis points range in size from 2 to 4 inches and date from 12000 BC to 8000 BC.
Cumberland points are named for the Cumberland River Valley in Tennessee. These projectiles are medium to large lanceolate-shaped points with fluted bases. The body of the point narrows in just above the concave base. They range in size from 1 to almost 3 inches. Cumberland points date from 8000 BC to 9000 BC.
Suwanee points are long, lanceolate-shaped projectile points with a slight narrowing near the base. They are rarely fluted and range in size from 3 to 5 inches. Suwanee points date from 8000 to 9000 BC.
The Quad site for which this point is named is located in Limestone County, Alabama. Quad points are medium-sized, broad, lanceolate-shaped projectiles. They are unfluted and have deeply concave bases. They range in size from 1.5 to 2.5 inches. Quad points date from 8500 BC to 7900 BC
Early Archaic (8000 BC - 6000 BC)
Hardaway Side Notched
Hardaway points are named after the Hardaway site located on a hilltop overlooking Badin Lake in Stanly County, North Carolina. This is a small, broad, triangular-shaped point with a thin blade, notched sides, and a concave base. They range in length from just under 1 inch to 1.5 inches. Hardaway points date from 8000 BC to 7000 BC.
Dalton points also were found at the Hardaway site. This is a broad, thin blade projectile with a deeply concave base and shallow notched sides. Dalton points are 1 to 2 inches in length and date from 8500 to 7900 BC.
The name Palmer was originally given to a point type found at the Hardaway site in North Carolina. These points are small corner-notched projectiles with straight bases and serrated edges. They range in size from ¾ to almost 2 inches. Palmer points date from around 7500 BC to 7000 BC. Numerous Palmer points have been fund at Fort Bragg.
Big Sandy points are long, slender points with small, shallow side notches. The base is usually ground and the edges can be serrated. They range in length from 1 to just under 2 inches and date from 8000 BC to 6000 BC.
Kirk corner-notched points are triangular projectiles with serrated edges, notched corners, and straight bases. These large points range in size from 1 to 3 inches and date from 7500 BC to 6000 BC.
Kirk stemmed points are long broad projectiles with wide corner notches that create a short stem. The edges of the point are usually recurved and can be serrated. The length ranges from 3 to 6 inches and they date from 6900 BC to 6000 BC.
St. Albans is a long, narrow, side notched point with a deeply notched base. They have a triangular shaped blade with straight often serrated sides. These points range in length from ½ to 1½ inches. They date from 6900 BC to 6500 BC.
LeCroy projectile points are small, triangular in shape, and have serrated edges. The base is deeply notched with pointed basal ears. These points have an average length of ½ to 1½ inches. They date from about 6500 BC - 5800 BC.
Middle Archaic (6000 BC – 3500 BC)
Stanly points were named for a type of point found at the Doerschuk site in Montgomery County and the Hardaway site in Stanly County, North Carolina. Stanly points have a Christmas-tree-like shape with a wide triangular blade, a small square stem, and a shallow, notched base. They range in size from 1 to 2.5 inches. Stanly points date from about 6000 BC to 5500 BC.
Morrow Mountain I and II
Morrow Mountain points are named for Morrow Mountain, North Carolina. Morrow Mountain I points appear around 5500 BC and are common until 4500 BC. These points have a small blade with wide shoulders and a short, pointed stem. They range in size from 1 to 2 inches. Morrow Mountain II points have longer blades (up to 2.5 inches) and medium length, rounded stems. The shoulders tend to flare outward.
Guilford points are found throughout the North Carolina Piedmont and around Fort Bragg. These points have long, slender blades with a thick body and straight, rounded, or concave bases. They can range in size from 1.5 to 3.5 inches. These points date from around 4000 BC.
Late Archaic (3500 BC – 1000 BC)
The Late Archaic Savannah River point is the most common projectile point found in East Coast states from Florida to New Hampshire. Savannah River points are large and have a triangular blade and broad stem. The edges of the blade are straight. These points range in size from 2 to 5 inches. These tools may have been used as knives and not as projectiles. They date from 3000 BC to 1000 BC.
Halifax points are named for Halifax County, North Carolina. Generally they have a slender blade and shallow side notches. The notches and base are often ground smooth. Their length ranges from ¾ to 1¾ inches. Halifax points date from approximately 3500 BC.
Woodland (1000 BC - AD 1500)
Gypsy is a small stemmed point. It has a triangular blade, a rectangular stem, and a straight base. It ranges in length from just under 1 inch to 1½ inches and dates from 1000 BC to 200 BC.
Badin are large triangular points with straight sides or sides that curve out slightly. They have straight or concave bases and range in size from 1 to 2 inches. These points date from 500 BC to 300 BC.
Yadkin points are well-made triangular shaped projectiles that range in size from 1 to 2 inches. They have slightly sides and usually have a concave base. These points date from 300 BC to AD 800.
Caraway points are triangular shaped projectiles associated with contact period occupations. The blade edges of these points are straight and may have fine serrations. They have straight or slightly concave bases and are usually about 1 inch long. Caraway points date from AD 1000 to AD 1500.
Pee Dee points are small five-sided pentagonal shaped projectiles. They range in size from ¾ to 1 inch and usually have a thin body and straight or concave base. Pee Dee points date from AD 1000 to AD 1500.