Projectile Point


Projectile Point

Archaeology / Paleolithic Age / Hokkaido

Place excavated:Found at Shimo-shanafuchi Site, Hokkaidō

Paleolithic period, 18,000 BC




Stone projectile points like this were attached to the tips of spear handles. They were used for stabbing, with larger examples fitted to handles and used to cut like knives. This projectile point was probably attached to a spear handle too. The flat, symmetrical shape resembles a large leaf. The angular, hollowed-out marks on the surface reveal how many times this point was struck in the creation process. It was made from a fist-sized piece of rock, with the finished product less than one-tenth the size of the original piece.

Also known as 'natural glass,' obsidian produces sharp edges when fractured. It would have taken considerable skill to pare this rock down so thinly. Projectile points were produced in volume in areas where obsidian was found in Hokkaido, Kanto, and the Chubu region. The points were then whittled down at the hunting grounds and attached to spear tips. They broke easily and did not have the replaceable parts that later spears had, so they were probably produced in mass at the obsidian sites and then carried to the hunting grounds. These two locations were sometimes hundreds of kilometers apart. Projectile points, such as this on exhibit, speak volumes about the harshness of life and the importance of hunting tools at that time.

Related Works

Search items related to work chosen