Metal Points

Metal Points

Metal arrowheads are found in Oklahoma although they are much less common than flint projectile points. They are found more frequently in the western half of the state but do occur occasionally at some eastern sites. The metal points are indicators of historic times, for the metal from which they were made was obtained from Europeans. In general, the metal arrow points date after AD 1750 and they were commonly used for perhaps 100 years or more after that date. Although firearms were being obtained by the Indians through trade, the guns were not always serviceable, and gunpowder was expensive and often in short supply.

There is considerable variation in the outline and size of the metal arrow points. The size range tends to fall between 35 mm and 95 mm with most examples measuring around 60 mm. The greatest variation occurs in the stem section for mounting and this is frequently notched or serrated to provide a more secure mount on the arrow shaft (Figure 49g). Some of the early metal points associated with proto-historic Wichita sites in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas are almost diamond-shaped in outline with a poorly defined stem section. The stem portion, however, soon became more clearly defined by

 

 

concave sides and a reduction of stem length (Figure 49a-b). Both of these styles are known as Benton points. In later times, the stems became even more distinct and were frequently modified by notches and serrations.

Many of the metal points were made out of scrap pieces of metal that were cut and shaped by the Indians. They are commonly of iron or steel although scraps of brass from gun parts were sometimes used. The metal iron hoops from barrels were especially useful for making points as they were thin and required less effort in their manufacture. In later times, metal arrow points were being manufactured and sold by Indian traders.

Our information about metal points is limited as only a small number have been found in excavations. They occur on proto-historic Wichita sites, especially along Red River and appear to have replaced flint points during the latter half of the 18th century. Some examples have also been found at historic Creek Indian sites in eastern Oklahoma. Most of the metal points that are found, however, appear to be isolated finds, and probably these points were lost during hunting or by accident.

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