An in press article by Rots and Plisson in Journal of Archaeological Science addresses the recent evidence for the earliest/oldest use of projectile points in the archaeological record. The paper approaches the topic from a lithic microwear perspective particularly with reference to Diagnostic Impact Points (DIP) and specific use wear at the base of the point from hafting. The authors require the use of a specific methodology, used and developed by them, and discuss methodological issues related to current experimental protocols. The authors are, in particular, dismissive of experiments that do not utilise the traditional calibrate crossbow to shoot experimental projectiles into targets (Iovita, 2013). In addition, the authors suggest that all experiments should be undertaken using fresh carcasses rather than replica materials. The authors suggest that searching for DIP might be futile as the breakage of a lithic tipped point is dependent on numerous factors including: hafting mechanism, energy, strike position on an animal to name but a few. Whilst the paper is interesting and raises some good points the authors provide a limit amount of additional experimental data to illustrate these points.
Complete Reference: Rots, V., Plissom, H. 2013. Projectiles and the abuse of the use-wear method in a search for impact. Journal of Archaeological Science