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Sanford Archaeological District – Bone Tool Caches

Bone Caches

Two specialized caches of bones were identified during excavations at the Sanford Archaeological District in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in the early 1990s. One was a collection of six bison scapula hoes stacked in one pit (left). These were scapulas with the prominent ridges removed so they could be hafted as hoes. The other cache contained a pile of five deer mandibles (right), probably being stored for future use as well. The deer mandibles have had the bottom snapped off, leaving a relatively sharp straight edge. They are often called “sickles,” but the wear patterns suggest at least some uses other than cutting, perhaps also scraping.