The northern fluted point complex: technological and morphological evidence of adaptation and risk in the late Pleistocene-early Holocene Arctic

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12520-016-0335-y

Cite this article as:
Smith, H.L. & DeWitt, T.J. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2016). doi:10.1007/s12520-016-0335-y


Analyses of fluted point technology and Paleoindian technological risk have contributed to our understanding of human adaptation across North America in the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. However, poor chronological control has dissuaded similar studies of fluted points found in Alaska and northern Yukon and our understanding of their adaptive role in early arctic adaptations remains unclear. Two new archeological sites have provided reliable radiocarbon data and for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of northern fluted points is possible. Here, technological and morphological analyses of northern fluted points are presented, including variables statistically evaluated and compared to a collection of fluted Folsom artifacts serving as a reference. Variation in tool shape was measured using geometric morphometrics, and a new approach to landmark placement designed to characterize basal morphology and allow the analysis to include tool fragments is presented. Results confirm that northern fluted points represent a cohesive technological strategy and are used to formulate hypotheses suggesting its service as a risk-management system promoting ease-of-replacement-after-failure to offset transport costs and reduce risk during long-distance travel.


Fluted projectile points Late Paleoindian Geometric morphometrics Arctic archeology Technological risk 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Study of the First Americans, Department of AnthropologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Department of Wildlife and Fisheries SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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