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This study presents a historical review of the different types of southern African hunter-gatherer arrows employing a piece of bone situated at or near the tip of the arrow, which I call the apical bone component. The results of an extensive use-trace study of bone points and fragments thereof from twelve archaeological sites spanning the last 18,000 years show that it is possible to identify arrow types based on associated use-trace features. Five possible arrow types are identified from the archaeological sample, all dating to within the last 4000–6000 years. Using use-trace studies it is possible to identify now-missing components of the arrows, such as metal, mastic or stone inserts. Contrary to recent claims, I do not find evidence for bone-tipped arrows evolving along a continuum. Rather, some arrow types may have a much greater antiquity than previously thought.

In: Journal of African Archaeology