by I. Randolph Daniel, Jr.
University of Alabama Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-0-8173-2086-7 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-9343-4
Library of Congress Classification E78.N74D355 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 975.601

A reconsideration of the seminal projectile point typology
In the 1964 landmark publication The Formative Cultures of the Carolina Piedmont, Joffre Coe established a projectile point typology and chronology that, for the first time, allowed archaeologists to identify the relative age of a site or site deposit based on the point types recovered there. Consistent with the cultural-historical paradigm of the day, the “Coe axiom” stipulated that only one point type was produced at one moment in time in a particular location. Moreover, Coe identified periods of “cultural continuity” and “discontinuity” in the chronology based on perceived similarities and differences in point styles through time.
In Time, Typology, and Point Traditions in North Carolina Archaeology: Formative Cultures Reconsidered, I. Randolph Daniel Jr. reevaluates the Coe typology and sequence, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. Daniel reviews the history of the projectile point type concept in the Southeast and revisits both Coe’s axiom and his notions regarding cultural continuity and change based on point types. In addition, Daniel updates Coe’s typology by clarifying or revising existing types and including types unrecognized in Coe’s monograph. Daniel also adopts a practice-centered approach to interpreting types and organizes them into several technological traditions that trace ancestral-descendent communities of practice that relate to our current understanding of North Carolina prehistory.
Appealing to professional and avocational archaeologists, Daniel provides ample illustrations of points in the book as well as color versions on a dedicated website. Daniel dedicates a final chapter to a discussion of the ethical issues related to professional archaeologists using private artifact collections. He calls for greater collaboration between professional and avocational communities, noting the scientific value of some private collections.

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