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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Study Re-creates 8,000-Year-Old Projectiles

Monday, February 05, 2018

wound ballisticsFAIRBANKS, ALASKA—According to a report in The Times of London, researchers in Alaska have reconstructed weapons used by Stone Age hunters some 8,000 years ago. Taking cues from projectile points found by archaeologists, graduate student Janice Wood and her colleague Ben Fitzhugh have recreated various kinds of arrowheads from carved caribou antler and obsidian. Wood, who tested the tips by firing them into blocks of ballistic gelatin, a substance used to simulate flesh in firearms tests, speculates that each point may have been designed specifically for particular prey, and suggests these ancient barbs were likely even more effective than the broadhead arrows used by modern hunters. To read more about prehistoric hunters in the Americas, go to “Where the Ice Age Caribou Ranged.”

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