NEW LIGHT ON PALAEOLITHIC, MESOLITHIC
AND NEOLITHIC PROJECTILE WEAPON ELEMENTS
Jean-Marc PÉTILLON, Marie-Hélène DIAS-MEIRINHO, Pierre CATTELAIN, Matthieu HONEGGER, Christian NORMAND, Nicolas VALDEYRON
Stone or bone, transverse heads or points, barbs, foreshafts, harpoon heads… Projectile weapon elements are found in many forms in prehistoric sites, at least from the beginning of the Upper Palaeolithic. These artefacts first attract archaeologists with their great numbers, often dominating proportions in tool assemblages, but they are also interesting due to their clearly dynamic role in prehistoric material culture: the morphology and/or technical characteristics of many of them vary significantly through time and space, thus constituting a useful tool for archaeologists in the construction of chronologies and the definition of cultures. Researchers often integrate these variations with other types of transformations—such as ecological or economic ones—to build interpretative models of the evolution of societies.