GAR SCALE ARROW POINTS
MISSISSIPPIAN CULTURE
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI
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COPYRIGHT NOVEMBER 30, 2012 PETER A. BOSTROM

     This cache of thirteen gar scales were found by Chuck Adams in 1929. They have all turned yellow with age and are heavily patinated. Gar scales have a natural shape in the form of a point, sharp edges and a stem that is ready made for use as arrow points. It's possible that gar scales were in use as early as A.D. 200 with the beginning of bows and arrows in the Mississippi Valley.  The largest gar scale in this cache measures 1 1/8 inches (2.8 cm) long.
    Gars are freshwater fish that measure up to 10 feet (3m) in length and weigh up to 300 pounds (135k). The scales that cover their bodies are made of a very durable material with an enamel like coating on the surface. These scales were also used for other things besides arrowheads. In 1960 there were 40 fishhooks found with a burial near Memphis, Tennessee that were made of gar scales. Ancient cultures around the world have always utilized whatever they could from their local natural resources and gar scales are just another example.

Cache of 13 gar scale arrow points found in Missouri.

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