Native hunters used stone projectile points 16,000 years ago on what is now Nez Perce land in Idaho. The points resemble points found in Japan. How cool is this?
CORVALLIS, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon State University archaeologists have uncovered projectile points in Idaho that are thousands of years older than any previously found in the Americas, helping to fill in the history of how early humans crafted and used stone weapons.
The 13 full and fragmentary projectile points, razor sharp and ranging from about half an inch to 2 inches long, are from roughly 15,700 years ago, according to carbon-14 dating. That’s about 3,000 years older than the Clovis fluted points found throughout North America, and 2,300 years older than the points previously found at the same Cooper’s Ferry site along the Salmon River in present-day Idaho….
“From a scientific point of view, these discoveries add very important details about what the archaeological record of the earliest peoples of the Americas looks like,” said Loren Davis, an anthropology professor at OSU and head of the group that found the points. “It’s one thing to say, ‘We think that people were here in the Americas 16,000 years ago;’ it’s another thing to measure it by finding well-made artifacts they left behind.”
…The points are revelatory not just in their age, but in their similarity to projectile points found in Hokkaido, Japan, dating to 16,000-20,000 years ago, Davis said. Their presence in Idaho adds more detail to the hypothesis that there are early genetic and cultural connections between the ice age peoples of Northeast Asia and North America.
My sojourn in the 17th century meant I inevitably encountered the wheellock. There was a wheellock rifle on the Mayflower, a rifled carbine believed to have been owned by John Alden of the Plymouth Colony. Known as The Mayflower Gun, it is in the NRA’s National Firearms Museum.
I have an affection for the wheellock, because it was a signature weapon of my favorite fictional early modern Frontier Partisan Mattias Tannhauser (The Religion, Twelve Children of Paris).
The wheellock should not be thought of as an evolutionary step between the matchlock and the flintlock. It was actually a superior mechanism to the flintlock in terms of speed and reliability of ignition — it was just too complicated and expensive to manufacture to become a soldier-proof standard ignition system for longarms. The requirement of a key to wind the lock is also a battlefield detriment.
You can see the speed of ignition in the video below, where a historian of 17th Century Eastern European military history puts a cavalry carbine through its paces. It’s a smoothbore (note that it nevertheless boasts a rear sight). Loaded with a tight patch, it is capable of quite respectable accuracy at cavalry combat ranges. Loaded with a loose ball, it would still be effective enough in the hurly burly.
The arrowheads are interesting. I don’t doubt links between the tribes of North America and Asia, but couldn’t it be that one of the reason that the arrowheads are a like be the utility of the design.
I read a manga called Golden Kamuy set in Hokkaido in the early 20th century. The Ainu, the native inhabitants of Japan, are similar in a lot of ways to the Native Americans. I’m not sure I’d recommend the manga. It’s really long and the story could use some tightening. There’s also a bit what I call Japanese weirdness. That said, the good parts are really good.
The thing about the wheel lock is interesting. I know sniper rifles have to be made more rugged than high end hunting rifles. So the latter shoots better, but the former is preferred in actual combat. That the wheel lock is superior to other guns doesn’t not surprise me. It seems technology is not quite the linear advance people think it is.
You are right re: technology not necessarily being linear.
A modern military sniper rifle is going to be more accurate than a hunting rifle. A sniper rifle can carry a heavy bull barrel that a hunter is not going to want due to weight. Barrel thickness and stiffness are important to accuracy. Craig Rullman’s sniper rifle weighs 12 pounds, which is pounds heavier than optimal hunting weight. Larger, more powerful and heavier optics are also a necessity on sniper rifles.
That said, there has been a trend in recent years toward “long range precision rifles” in the hunting field, so the two disciplines and their technology are intersecting there.
I stand corrected about sniper rifles.
Quixotic Mainer says
I watched the trooper’s carbine video whilst rummaging through paperwork this morning, great stuff! Personally, I’ve always had more attraction to carbines, jagers, and the like. The handiness I think really befits anyone poking into the unknown, whether afoot or horseback.
Even sans rifling, smoothbores do gain combative advantage with the presence of a rear sight. It becomes even more evident when guys switch to pumpkin chucking instead of buckshot. I hope for a range day later this week, my Hawken is cooling it’s heels charged after passing on the last deer I saw.