This is a well-provenanced BIFACIAL ARROWHEAD from the Pre-Columbian West Mexico Shaft-Tomb Culture. It shows masterful knapping to yield its fine symmetry and well-made tang. It was fashioned out of obsidian and was found in the Lake Sayula Region of Jalisco, Mexico. This projectile point comes from the famous Dr. Allen Heflin Collection, formed from his work in Mexico from 1946 into the 1970's. Obsidian projectile points from Pre-Columbian cultures are rarely preserved in this fine condition and seem to be scarcer than are realized. Even more rare, is the legal, documented provenance of this fine specimen. Original collection label hand-written by Dr. Heflin, is present on one side dating his finding of this piece to the 1950's.
No lithic type is more mesmerizing and flakes as beautifully as obsidian. It was so highly prized by all the Central American Pre-Columbian cultures and for good reason. The sharpest cutting edge of any substance in the world, can only be obtained with obsidian. Obsidian is unique in that it can be flaked down to one molecule in width, hence the popularity with this incredible material in Pre-Columbian weapons and tools. Even today, obsidian scalpels are still used in modern medicine throughout the world. In complete form and perfect preservation, each specimen is with NO REPAIR, RESTORATION OR MODERN MODIFICATION.
The bow and arrow became a popular and extremely common weapon in many Mesoamerican armies during Aztec times. The earliest evidence of the bow’s presence in Mesoamerica coincides with the arrival of the Nahuatl speaking migrants from the north, suggesting that the original Aztec migration was responsible for its spread to the rest of Mexico. The Aztecs’ extensive use of the bow is attested to in many Spanish sources, with Bernal Diaz del Castillo noting that many Spaniards mistook the thousands of arrows that showered their position for swarms of locusts. Another encounter he describes occurred when the Spanish were besieged inside Moctezuma’s palace in Tenochtitlan. Aztec soldiers launched hundreds of arrows, as well as stones and spears, through the palace windows until the spent ammunition covered the entire floor.
The bow complimented the sling and atlatl as a ranged weapon, and was best at medium ranges. Slings could typically be thrown quicker and had greater range, but lacked the accuracy and penetration of an arrow. Atlatls were more powerful, as the projectile was much larger and heavier, but they lacked the range of the bow. In addition, bows were more effective than either of the two when attempting to fire over an obstacle such as a large city wall, building, or pyramid.
The Atlatl or Spear (Dart) Thrower was a weapon used to hurl darts called "tlacochtli" with greater force and from greater range than they could be thrown by hand. This weapon was considered by the Aztecs to be suited only for royalty and the most elite warriors in the army, and was usually depicted as being the weapon of the Gods. Murals at Teotihuacan show warriors using this effective weapon and it is characteristic of the Mesoamerican cultures of central Mexico. Warriors at the front lines of the army would carry the atlatl and about three to five throwing darts which they would launch after waves of arrows and sling projectiles as they advanced into battle before engaging into melee combat. The "darts" launched from an Atlatl were more like big arrows about 5.9 feet long. Tipped with obsidian, chert, bone or copper heads.