Arrow Foreshafts- Southern AZ

Arrow Foreshafts- Southern AZ
Photographed by R. J. Sliva / Desert Archaeology

Foreshafts were components of projectiles that could be split or slotted to hold points. Foreshafts were often made of wood, bone, ivory, antler and secured with organic materials such as string or sinew. In archaeological contexts, the size of the shaft determines if the device was used as an atlatl, dart or arrow. The foreshafts pictured above were recovered from a dry cave in Southern Arizona. Based on the size, adhesive type and trace of paint, these artifacts were determined to be examples of historic bow and arrow technology.


  • Blitz, John H. “Adoption of the bow in prehistoric North America.” North American Archaeologist 9.2 (1988): 123-145.
  • Thomas, David Hurst. “Arrowheads and Atlatl Darts: How the Stones Got the Shaft.” American Antiquity, vol. 43, no. 3, 1978, pp. 461–472.