Northern Side-notched

Northern Side-notched point, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Click the image to open the Northern Side-notched gallery.

Archaeological Culture: Early Archaic

Geographical Range: Widely distributed throughout the western states; in the Southwest, found on the Colorado Plateau and the New Mexico Rockies.

Date Range: 8000 – 6000 B.P.

Size: Average: 32.9 mm long, 21.9 mm wide, and 5.6 mm thick (Des Planques 2001:Table 3, for points from Colorado).

Shape: Lanceolate to triangular, with slightly convex margins, a pronounced basal concavity, and parallel side notches.

Cross-section: Thin, biconvex.

Base: Usually concave to eared; sometimes straight; basal thinning is typical.

Flaking: Usually collateral; can be random, chevron, or oblique.

Grinding: Rare on the basal edge.

Notching: Moderate to deep, placed relatively low on the lateral margins above the corner; typically U-shaped and horizontal, but sometimes with an upward angle. Breaks through the neck between the notches are common.

Materials: Chert, quartzite, basalt, rhyolite, obsidian, and other materials.

Other Names: Bitterroot Side-notched, Large Side-notched.

Comparisons: Differentiated from Sudden Side-notched points by basal morphology: Northern Side-notched points have concave bases and Sudden Side-notched points have contracting to well-rounded bases. The notches on Sudden Side-notched points are typically set higher on the point margins, as well. Diagonally notched Northern Side-notched points can be confused with Elko series points, although the ears on Northern Side-notched tend to be squared when present.

Compiled from the following sources:
Des Planques, Scott A. (2001) Early and Middle Archaic Projectile Point Technologies in the Closed Basin Area of the San Luis Valley, Colorado. M.A. thesis, University of Montana. Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers. Paper 2124.

Justice, Noel D. (2002) Stone Age Spear and Arrow Points of the Southwestern United States. Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Lyndon, Michael G. (2005) Projectile Points as Indicators of Preceramic Occupation of the Coconino Plateau. M.A. thesis, Department of Anthropology, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff.

Compiled by:
Meghann M. Vance, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories