Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Anna Marie Prentiss

Commitee Members

Randall Skelton, David Beck


stemmed projectile points, Paleoindian, mosaic evolution, cultural change, phylogenetic analysis, North America


University of Montana

Subject Categories

American Material Culture | Archaeological Anthropology | Human Geography


In this thesis I analyze the cultural techniques of Paleoindians in North America by examining the diversification and fusion of stemmed projectile point traditions using an evolutionary analysis. The Western Stemmed Point tradition has an extensive regional and temporal distribution throughout the Intermountain West and High Plains during the Paleoindian period. In an effort to determine how stemmed projectile point technologies relate to each other, I applied a phylogenetic approach to construct heritable patterns of projectile point histories. By measuring the physical traits of those points and using a macro-evolutionary theoretical approach, changes in artifact form can be acquired and heritable processes understood. This process was further complicated by our understanding of how culture is learned and shared. Techniques can be learned as individual units or even as sets of units, resulting in the differential persistence of individual traits. This analysis indicated that projectile point traits for blade and haft characteristics evolved in a mosaic fashion creating distinct patterns of vertical and horizontal transmission across space and time. Furthermore, the haft characteristics created important results that support the eastward expansion of stemmed projectile point traditions from the west.



© Copyright 2016 Lindsay D. Scott