Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Further Comments on Pinto Points and Their Dating


Volume 9, No. 2, of Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology included two lengthy articles intended to clarify the nature and dating of so-called Pinto points (Jenkins 1987; Vaughan and Warren 1987). These discussions were laudable attempts to define a widespread point type in the Great Basin and to provide a dating for it. They grew out of the reality of Great Basin archaeology, which has few sites with any depth or undisturbed stratigraphy, and except for dry caves consists largely of lithic collections with few distinctive artifacts other than projectile points. The result is that the archaeology of this region is dominated by analysis of points, and to the outsider it looks as if Great Basin archaeology consists primarily of point types (cf. Michels 1965; Warren 1984; an exception is the series of reports on Hidden Cave beginning with Thomas [1985] which incidentally provide considerable data on obsidian dating and its application to Great Basin archaeology). While these point sequences have been variously suggested to equate with climatic changes and ecological variables, the validity of such interpretations is dependent upon a reasonably precise dating of the point types, and the controversy over dating impedes the drawing of general conclusions. Efforts to improve the dating of widespread point types such as Pinto are therefore essential if interpretive efforts are to move forward. I would like, however, to point to some general problems which were not clearly addressed by the articles cited.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View