Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Douglas B. Bamforth

Second Advisor

Catherine M. Cameron

Third Advisor

Payson Sheets


One of the cultural markers of the Central Plains Tradition (CPT; A.D. 1050-1400) is the side-notched arrow point. These projectile points replaced the previous corner-notched points as the arrow tip of choice for the CPT people. This pattern of change is well established in the archaeological literature; however, little has been done to explore why this change occurred. In this thesis I argue that the spread of side notched projectile points onto the Great Plains during the CPT was influenced by point styles associated with the Mississippian mound center of Cahokia. This research looks at arrow points from Woodland, Central and Southern Plains sites in comparison to points from Mississippian sites at and around Cahokia to better understand the spread of point types and likely associations among the adoption of a new technology and co-occurring changes in cultural influence during the CPT.