Upper Mississippi Valley projectile points

Minneapolis lies within the Upper Mississippi Valley where stone “projectile points” (spear, dart and arrowheads) are among the oldest of human artifacts found in North America. The center of our logo is the artist’s rendering of a Clovis point; hafting is conjectured to have been animal sinew. These Llano-type (early) fluted points from the “Paleo-Indian” period (ca. 12,000-8,000 yrs bp) have been found in association with mammoth and mastodon bones. They are thought to have been made by small, highly mobile groups which followed the herds through the cool, moist grassland and coniferous forest that grew as the glaciers retreated. The Osceola point, left, is associated with tools made of Great Lakes native copper (the “Old Copper Complex”). It dates from the Middle Archaic (ca. 7,000-5,000 yrs bp) when prairie grasslands expanded in the warmer, drier climate. Right is a side-notched Cahokia point of the Mississippian culture (1,100-550 years bp), a widespread, agriculture-intense economy whose urban center was east of St. Louis.

Projectile points were mainly used in hunting, presumably, but were also weapons of aggression. Points have been found in association with, and embedded in, human remains. One of the oldest North American skeletal remains, 9,000 year old “Kenniwick man” from the Pacific Northwest, had stone fragments embedded in his ileum pre-mortem which have been identified as the tip of a leaf-shaped Cascade point.

Design by Mike Potegal, Artwork by David Mottet