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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Introduction of the Bow and Arrow and Lithic Resource Use at Rose Spring (CA-INY-372)


One objective of the most recent re-excavation of the Rose Spring site in eastern California was to evaluate the impact of the introduction of the bow and arrow on local obsidian exploitation. Part of the strategy of the study involved the collection and analysis of a large sample of lithic reduction/production waste produced over the 5,500-year occupation of the site. A change was anticipated in the use of bifacial cores with the adaptation of a new hunting technology requiring less lithic material. A model of change was posited and then tested by using the data generated from the study. The results of the analysis indicate the possibility that certain changes in the reduction strategies practiced by the inhabitants of Rose Spring did not become manifest until nearly 1,000 years after the appearance of the bow, suggesting persistence of the use of the dart and atlatl until about A.D. 1500. An alternative interpretation based on obsidian hydration data is also discussed. Depositional mixing late in time coupled with change in site tool production activities late in time could account for the apparent appearance of continuity of earlier dart point reduction strategies during the long-term use of the site.

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