cgsperling - Apr 04, 2017

That theory may be correct, but it is not intuitive to me. What IS intuitive, is that it would improve the aerodynamics of the air flow from the arrowhead to the arrow shaft, allowing it to fly further and retain more energy on impact.

ddaye - Apr 04, 2017

I have a trivial invention of very simple technology. (I earn my living from it, it's for a type of tool people have to use which has been widely tested and replicated.) Like the arrow heads it has no moving parts. I now know that it was based on a profoundly simplistic understanding of the phenomena, and furthermore benefited from a coincidence that let the nature of the materials solve certain problems I didn't even realize existed. In the late 20th century we had people around the world making use of a development none of us truly understood. The analysis reported about these weapons is very informative from one perspective but it may not inform us about the way the fluting was discovered and developed.

RealScience - Apr 04, 2017

I always assumed that it was done to make it easier to attach the point securely to the shaft. I am happy to learn of additional reasons.

That theory may be correct, but it is not intuitive to me. What IS intuitive, is that it would improve the aerodynamics of the air flow from the arrowhead to the arrow shaft, allowing it to fly further and retain more energy on impact.


True. And it should also have less 'flesh resistance' as it penetrates the animal, and hence might be deadlier even per retained energy.

Captain Stumpy - Apr 04, 2017

I always assumed that it was done to make it easier to attach the point securely to the shaft. I am happy to learn of additional reasons
@Real
you beat me to it

ditto
same here: taught that it secures to the shaft better

Whydening Gyre - Apr 05, 2017

I always assumed that it was done to make it easier to attach the point securely to the shaft. I am happy to learn of additional reasons.

That theory may be correct, but it is not intuitive to me. What IS intuitive, is that it would improve the aerodynamics of the air flow from the arrowhead to the arrow shaft, allowing it to fly further and retain more energy on impact.


True. And it should also have less 'flesh resistance' as it penetrates the animal, and hence might be deadlier even per retained energy.


Angular momentum transfer....

RealityCheck - Apr 05, 2017

Many very good points (pun not intended) made above. :)

One further consideration may be that some hunters want the arrow/spear to slide easily out so that the wound is not 'plugged' by the arrowhead/spearhead (the quarry would be able to keep running longer because of lower blood loss rate due to the 'plug').

Also, a spear/arrow head with a rear much thicker (than the point and smoothly curved middle section; and the shaft diameter) would be stuck inside the animal for too long and if the animal stumbled/rolled etc it would break the also-valuable shaft. And again, that too would leave the head still inside the wound, acting as a 'plug' slowing blood loss, so a large animal may get up dangerously and run.

In subsistence hunter-gathering, too much energy unnecessarily expended 'chasing' wounded game for longer than necessary may cost lives. Not to mention energy/time/resources wasted if valuable arrow/spear head (and shaft) damaged/lost.

Cheers all. :)

Da Schneib - Apr 05, 2017

Angular momentum transfer....
Not following your reasoning here, @Whyde. Looks linear to me.

Zzzzzzzz - Apr 05, 2017

This has some similarities to placing fullers in dark age and early medieval swords. By varying both the material properties and the temper between the edges and the center of the blade, the blades are less brittle and do not break as easily. There is also a weight reduction component in the sword blades that may not be a factor in stone points. In the stone points, the flutes didn't apparently create flexibility, it sound more like a shock absorbing effect.

Whydening Gyre - Apr 05, 2017

Angular momentum transfer....
Not following your reasoning here, @Whyde. Looks linear to me.

In flight, the maximum momentum (kinetic potential?) is along the center of the entire projectile length. Since the relative flatness of the head was necessary to reduce "rest mass" (as well as flight drag), something else was needed to make the impact more effective than just a pointy stick. At impact, that same "aero envelope" concept creates a wider turbulence zone than the actual spear or arrow head, in the fluidic environment of flesh.
The fluting aids in distributing the kinetic potential to a wider area than just the stone surface area.
Fluid dynamics is like watching angular momentum at a wild party...

Erik - Apr 08, 2017

Previous article made a good argument for the Clovis points being detachable so they would remain in the would while allowing the hunter to jam another fluted point onto his spear shaft.

Also, Clovis tech looks like Solutrean tech from ice age France.

dougc542 - Apr 08, 2017

I feel a little odd correcting a mistake on an archeological page. Clovis people did not use bow and arrow technology, so they had no use for arrows.
The "improved robustness" theory seems misnamed. If the spearhead is designed to crumble and break at the base it is hardly more robust. Better to have a stronger point that doesn't break, like the next 10,000 years of tool making provided. And a crumbling base is not an example of shock absorbing. Shock absorbing prevents damage, it doesn't encourage damage. There are better theories for fluting. I prefer the theory that the point was thinner in the area that the shaft attaches, allowing greater penetration in the large animals being hunted by clovis people.

Pediopal - Apr 09, 2017

No Eric, Clovis tech does not look like Solutrean tech. You have been reading too may fiction books by Dennis Stanford.

Whydening Gyre - Apr 09, 2017

Whoa. My bad.
I misunderstood "fluting to mean the flaked edges, not the grooves at the bottom meant to secure the shaft...
Sorry, all...

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