How Chaco Got the Point: Exploring the Technological Transition from Atlatl to Bow During Basketmaker III at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

by Brittany Bankston

Institution: California State University – Northridge
Year: 2016
Keywords: Bow; Dissertations, Academic  – CSUN  – Anthropology.
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2120684
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/159705


Studies of technological changes within cultures is a major focus of archaeological scholarship. In particular, the introduction and diffusion of the bow and arrow have attracted considerable attention. Investigations of how bow technology was introduced into Chaco Canyon, New Mexico during the Basketmaker III time period, however, have previously been overlooked. A study into the transition from atlatl to bow technology at Chaco Canyon, can provide insight into the flow of information between groups, responses to new technology, as well as the historical processes that led to the development of a distinctive Chacoan culture beginning in Pueblo I. For this study, the projectile points from Basketmaker III sites at Chaco Canyon were examined by using the dart-arrow index to identify evidence of the two technologies. A study in variability on the arrow points, through statistics and the identification of point forms, were used to discern how bow technology was introduced into Chaco Canyon through the theoretical perspective of cultural transmission. Comparative projectile point studies from the Four Corners region, including southern Colorado, the Chuska Valley, and Jemez Mountains, were examined to understand the arrow point morphologies observed at Chaco Canyon after the adoption of bow technology within the context of broader, regional, trends. The conclusions established by this research lay the foundations for future studies regarding projectile point technology and the diffusion of information across the Four Corners area of the Southwest. Questions pertaining to the socio-political effects of new technology can be used to further understand the later developments of Chaco Canyon into the regional center for Ancestral Puebloans. Advisors/Committee Members: Snead, James E (advisor), Des Lauriers, Matthew R (committee member).