Projectile Points - Broad Point Style 004.99.001 & 004.99.263 and Meadowood Type 004.99.1272 & 004.99.1276

Over the millennia that Indigenous populations grew and prospered, their cultures allowed them to adapt to the on-going changes that occurred within their natural and social environments. Exchange with neighbours—many with shared kinship—through marriage, trade, and other social interaction, would have created an invaluable reciprocal support network. This would have reduced risk in the hunter-gatherer economy, since availability of food and other resources might vary considerably from season to season and from year to year.

Access to geographically discrete resources, such as toolstone outcrops, created an opportunity to develop trade commodities. Along the Erie coast of Niagara, outcrops of Onondaga Formation chert presented such an opportunity. Archaeological evidence at the Peace Bridge site in Fort Erie shows that the chert was being quarried and manufactured into tools, such as the Christmas tree-shaped Genesee point shown here, from around 4,500 years ago. Such points were traded throughout the lower Great Lakes area and beyond. Similar so-called “Broad Points” were being made elsewhere in eastern North America around the same time, and the specimen made of Flint Ridge chert from Ohio shown here illustrates the range of the trade networks.

The quality and consistency of projectile point manufacture that had developed by around 3,000 years ago is illustrated by the two well-made and extremely thin Meadowood type points shown here. The Peace Bridge site in Fort Erie was also a major manufacturing centre for these points and caches of nearly identical points has led researchers to suggest that individual skilled knappers may be identifiable in some artifact assemblages. It has also been suggested that craft specialization, whereby skilled artisans were relieved of other duties in the community so they could focus on their trade, may have arisen in some situations.

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