A point in time: An analysis of the atlatl-bow transition in the Maritime Peninsula during the Maritime Woodland Period

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University of New Brunswick


There are competing perceptions of settlement and subsistence in the Maritime Peninsula during the Maritime Woodland or Ceramic period (3150 – 350 BP), especially during what some archaeologists refer to as the Middle Maritime Woodland (2200 – 1350 BP) to Late Maritime Woodland period (1350 – 550 BP) transition. The shift from the atlatl to the bow has been inferred but not yet quantified within this transitionary period. Analysing projectile points found around the Maritime Peninsula using projectile point morphology and discriminant analysis functions, I determine that a transition towards the dominance of bow and arrow usage was occurring in the Middle-Late Maritime Woodland period, that the bow and arrow was likely used before this period shift, and that atlatl use was maintained into the Late Maritime Woodland period. These findings are discussed in the broader context of the Maritime Woodland period.