Wood and Hide Working

How did people cut trees, work wood, prepare hides for clothing and shelter, and so forth? The kinds of tools recovered give us some clues.

Some materials were traded very widely, such as copper and marine shells.

Wood Working

Axes and celts were used to cut down and shape the wood for the houses, as well as many other purposes. The oldest axes (Middle Archaic period) have a groove extending all around the axe haft area. More recent axes (Late Archaic period) have a groove that extends one-half to three-quarters of the way around the haft. The youngest celts (Oneota) have no groove and are usually much smaller.

Beaver incisors were cut from the jaw and used as tools, probably for woodworking. Chert artifacts such as knives and drills were also used.

From left to right: Fully-grooved axe, three-quarter grooved axe and celt
Beaver jaw and tooth
Drills and a knife

Hide Working

Clothing was probably made from tanned deer hide, as well as other animal furs. Drills made from stone and bone were used to punch holes in the hide to sew pieces together. Scrapers were hafted to a stick handle and used prepare hides.

Bone awl