Native American Spears

Early in history, pre-history to be exact, Native Americans used rudimentary spears made from animal bones, long wooden sticks and pieces of rock or flint for spear heads. These were predominantly used in hunting large prey such as mammoth and bison. Spears were made from long straight pieces of wood, generally taken from a live tree to ensure their flexibility. The spear would then be shaved down by using a stone knife or axe blade removing all of the excess branches and twigs. The spear head would be slowly chipped away using a harder rock or by heating the blade and allowing droplets of cold water to crack the stone. The spear head would then be attached using lashings of twine or very fine vines and tree sap for support.

As Native American culture progressed the spear heads shifted to metals such as copper and iron later on in history; extremely sharp bones were used quite often but tended to break after a few uses. The spear was preferred in hunting as it caused maximum damage with a safe throwing distance. While hunting large game like bison, elk, deer, moose, and bear the bow and arrow did not inflict enough damage; hence the spear was employed in hunting large game. A few hunters would lead buffalo into a ravine where other hunters were waiting. As soon as the buffalo were in the ravine, the hiding tribesmen would jump out and literally unleash a rain of spears upon them. These hunting spears were long and meant to be heavy to bring down prey; with the advent of the metal spear head prey could more easily be taken down.

In another similar method a group of animals would be led to a cliff's edge and then surprised by fellow hunters. The spear also had the advantage of being able to be built in a shorter amount of time due to the simplistic nature of the weapon. For this reason the spear was used in warfare as well; it should be noted that in warfare the killing of an enemy was a ceremonial one and very few tribes lost many lives in tribal conflicts. Spears used in warfare were typically shorter and lighter as they would need to be carried and used from horseback; in addition to their target, being a fellow human, and large spears would be unnecessary.

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