A Folsom projectile point
are a distinct form of chipped stone
the Folsom Tradition
of North America
. The style of toolmaking was named after
Mexico where the first sample was found within the bone
structure of a bison in 1927.
The points are bifacially
worked and have a
symmetrical, leaf-like shape with a concave base and wide, shallow
grooves running almost the entire length of the point. The edges
are finely worked. The characteristic groove, known as fluting
, may have served to aid hafting
to a wooden spear shaft or dart or perhaps
to improve penetration of the target. The fluting may also have
been a stylistic element or have had some symbolic purpose. The
fluting required great technical ability to effect, and it took
archaeologists many years of experimentation to replicate it.
Age and cultural affiliations
Folsom points are found widely across North America and are dated
to the period between 9500 BC and 8000 BC. The discovery of these
artifacts in the early 20th century raised questions about when the
first humans arrived in North America. The prevailing idea of a
time depth of about 3,000 years was clearly mistaken. In 1932, an
even earlier style of projectile point was found, Clovis
, dating back to 13,500 years ago.
Clovis points have been found in situ
in association with
Plains area, Folsom points were replaced over time by
Plano points of the various Plano cultures.