April 23, 2013
Primitive Arrowheads: 'Bird Points' Weren't Used for Hunting Birds
By Phil Bourjaily
Usually we deal with guns only, but every once in a while you come across a video that takes a Gun Nut approach to primitive weapons, and this is one of the best. Were bird arrow points for birds or deer? Only one way to find out...
Years ago when I worked at the University of Iowa’s museum of natural history we had a flintknapper come in and do a demonstration. He spent a long time making a complex Clovis spear point. He was knocking long blades off a round piece of chert then finishing them. He wrecked a couple and finally finished one. Then, to show us flintknapping wasn’t as hard as he had just made it look, he knocked out a perfect, tiny “bird point” in about five minutes.
As this video shows, it turns out Native Americans didn’t use bird points for birds after all (and certainly not for goldfinches). The sharp little points were perfectly capable of killing deer-size game at close range when launched from a 40 pound bow. These four test shots were taken at 10 yards on a freshly killed doe. I know a few people hunt successfully with these points today but I didn’t expect the results you see in this video.