This Scottsbluff point from southern Texas is made from Georgetown Flint. Scottsbluff points are characteristic of the bison-hunting Cody Complex, which dates to ca. 9,000-11,000 BP.
This point was made by well-controlled percussion flaking followed by invasive pressure flaking that created broad flake scars. Much of the damage to the edges probably occurred after the point was lost or discarded.
The Cody Complex emerged from the transitions in cultural patterns that occurred at the end of the Paleoindian phase in North America. It is one of several variations placed by archaeologists within the Plano period. During this period, hunting continued to focus on bisons, and Cody Complex points are sometimes associated with mass-kill sites where bison have been cornered in traps in gullies and killed, or driven over cliffs. Among the most famous of these is the Olsen-Chubbuck site in Colorado, where 190 bison were killed with spears or darts armed with Scottsbluff points in ca. 10,200 BP.
The Plano period marks a technological change from the fluted points of preceding Paleoindian phase to an emphasis on stemmed points made by well-executed percussion thinning sometimes followed by masterful pressure flaking. The Cody Complex includes Scottsbluff, Eden, Firstview and Alberta points, and the Cody Knife. Tiny versions of Scottsbluff points, and related Hell Gap points, are sometimes found, prompting one archaeologist to propose that they had a ceremonial or symbolic function for these bison hunters.
The pressure flaking methods used on Plano period points included expertly-controlled oblique transverse-parallel techniques as well as right-angle collateral techniques, and, on the best-made examples, the workmanship ranks among the most skilled examples of pressure flaking worldwide. Of particular note is the collateral pressure flake scars on Eden points that terminate precisely at the mid-point of the biface, creating an exceptionally prominent and precise ridge down the centre of both faces and a diamond-shaped cross section. Modern flintknappers achieve this effect by using a slotted block under the biface held in the hand, with each flake removed over the space afforded by the slot. Since the face of the stone is unsupported in that location, the crack ends in a feather termination at the biface’s midline. It is also possible that the Native Americans who made these points used a holding system that did not require a slotted block. For instance, Aboriginal flintknappers in the Kimberley region of Australia achieve a similar effect by holding the point edge-on on an anvil placed in front of them. On other points from the Plano period, such as the Angostura point, the transverse-parallel pressure flakes ‘roll over’ the midline of the biface and terminate near the opposite edge. This implies that the face of the biface was supported in some way.