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Desert (Side-Notched Series)

Associated Dates: c.1000 - 100 Y.B.P.


General Description: The Desert Side-Notched Series was first defined by Baumhoff and Byrne (1959:37), and encompasses four subtypes: General, Sierra, Delta and Redding (cf. Thomas 1981). Of these, the General and Sierra sub-types are common in the Great Basin cultural area. Desert Side-Notched points are small triangular forms with straight blade margins, markedly flaring or expanding bases, and variable basal margin treatment. Thomas (1981:27) concludes that the subtypes need not be distinguished for the Desert Side-Notched Series to function as a valid temporal type.

“Delta” Subtype:
The primary identifying characteristic of the Desert Delta point is that the sides of the ears curve inwards towards the basal concavity (although, as can be seen in the example below, the degree of curve can be fairly subtle). These small points always have concave bases.


ABOVE: DESSNS01, DESSNS02: Desert Delta Examples

“General” Subtype:

General Subtype Desert Side-notched points are small delicate triangular forms, with straight lateral blade margins, and flaring bases with markedly concave basal margins. There is considerable variation within this general sub-type designation (Baumhoff and Byrne 1959:37).

Type Site: None. Various (Baumhoff and Byrne 1959).

Temporal Distribution: c. 1000-100 B. P.; Late Archaic-Historic.


ABOVE: DESSNS03, DESSNS04, DESSNS05, DESSNS06: Desert General Examples

“Redding” Subtype
No concrete diagnostic image(s) so far. The primary identifier, a blade edge which curves inwards towards the base, is not a useful diagnostic trait given that this shared by the Desert Delta subtype. However, on average the Redding seems to have a thicker, blockier basal area than its Delta cousin.

“Sierra” Subtype:
The Sierra Subtype points are small, delicate triangular forms, with straight lateral margins, and flaring straight-sided bases with concave or straight basal margins exhibiting a deep central notch. These points show less variability in form than the General Subtype (Baumhoff and Byrne 1959:38).

Type Site: Various (Baumhoffand Byrne 1959).

Temporal Distribution: c. 500-100 B. P.; Late Archaic-Historic.


ABOVE: DESSNS07, DESSNS08, DESSNS09, DESSNS10: Desert Sierra Examples

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