How Small is Too Small? Dorset Culture "Miniature" Harpoon Heads

  • Park R
  • Mousseau P
 et al. 
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Abstract

Archaeologists investigating Dorset culture harpoon heads have observed that some specimens are noticeably smaller than all the rest. These "miniature harpoon heads" have been identified variously as toys, as art, and as the paraphernalia of shamans. The excavation of two Dorset sites in 2001 produced assemblages of harpoon heads of varying sizes. In order to correctly classify those harpoon heads, and to determine if "miniature harpoon heads*' represented a separate conceptual category for the Dorset, the authors studied harpoon heads from a wide range of sites and determined that there is no justification for considering small harpoon heads as a separate category based solely on metrics. There is evidence that some of the smallest harpoon heads were mounted on proportionately much larger harpoons, indicating that they may have been used in hunting small species

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Authors

  • Robert W Park

  • Pauline M Mousseau

  • Robert W Park

  • Pauline M Mousseau

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