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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Morphological and Temporal Projectile Point Types: Evidence from Orange County, California


Investigators in southern California often employ Great Basin and Mojave Desert projectile point chronologies to date their prehistoric assemblages. This approach is tested using atlatl darts from five Newport Coast sites. In an attempt to partition the Orange County Middle Holocene into discrete temporal segments, the projectile points are classified, where possible, using Great Basin and Mojave Desert point typologies. The Middle Holocene occurrence of a great variety of forms, a consequence of rejuvenation and other factors, complicates the effort. No clear, precise temporal markers emerged from the study, and the data do not support the atlatl point chronology proposed by Koerper and Drover (1983). On the basis of these results, it is concluded that Great Basin and Mojave Desert atlatl dart types cannot be applied indiscriminately to projectile points for chronological control in coastal southern California.

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