Morpho-metric variability of Early Gravettian tanged “Font-Robert” points, and functional implications

Annemieke Milks*, Rob Dinnis, Matthew Pope

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Citations (Scopus)


Early Gravettian Font-Robert points – tanged tools created on blades – were initially defined as weapon armatures, and this is frequently referred to as their function. However, Font-Robert points have been described as a morphologically variable type, with suggestions that this morphological variability represents a functional variability. Here we discuss this issue with reference to a sample of Early Gravettian tanged artifacts (including Font-Robert points) from Maisières-Canal in Belgium, as well as two similar artifacts from Britain. Although many of the artifacts studied have a morphology and size commensurate with their function as lithic armatures, the majority are apparently unlikely to have functioned within a “complex” projectile technology, which contrasts with measurement data published on Font-Robert points from France. Instead, Font-Robert points from Maisières-Canal and Britain display a notable level of morpho-metric variability. By extension, this suggests a functional variability, a possibility that needs confirmation with use-wear analysis. These Font-Robert points may have served as technologically simpler throwing or thrusting spears, as knives, or as versatile, multi-function tools. Overall, we stress that morpho-metric data complements use-wear studies, when assessing potential projectile function, and can help make an assessment of which artifacts to target for such research techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultidisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Stone Age Weaponry
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-017-7602-8
ISBN (Print)978-94-017-7601-1
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2016

Publication series

NameVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
ISSN (Print)1877-9077


  • Impact fractures
  • Tip cross-sectional area (TCSA)
  • Tool typologies
  • Upper paleolithic
  • Weapon armatures


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