What most people call arrowheads, archaeologists typically call projectile points because stone, wood, bone, antler, copper and other raw materials were used to put sharp points on the ends of all kinds of projectiles – not just arrows. The projectile points were used for hunting and warfare.

arrow headsIn the Cave Creek-Carefree area, most projectile points found are fashioned from local stone, like quartz and chert. So, what’s the difference between an arrowhead and a projectile point? Archaeologists believe that ancient people first developed the throwing spear and finally, the bow. Some assume smaller points were used for hunting smaller prey, such as bird and rabbits, while larger beasts, like long-horned sheep or bison, required something larger. However, scientists now think size had to do with how the point was used – was it thrown, flung or projected?

Most scientists believe the larger, finely made points are older and called spear points, used as the working ends of spears. The middle sized, fairly thick points are called dart points; these are in-between arrows and spear points. Tiny points are the most recent, used at the ends of arrows shot with bows. So, they rightly can be called arrowheads.