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Date - 11,500 BCE - 1 CE

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3/4 Grooved Axe from Jefferson County

3/4 Grooved Axe from Jefferson County
Date: 7000 BCE-1 CE
This 3/4 grooved axe was collected from a sand bar in Jefferson County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2015. While 3/4 grooved axes are frequently recovered from late Archaic sites, there use is not restricted to that time period. Axes like these are made by pecking a hard stone into a rough shape and then grinding and polishing it into its final state. As the axe was manufactured seven small concavities were revealed in the stone. Axes like this one get their name from the hafting groove the encircles 3/4 of its body.


3/4 Grooved Axes From Doniphan County

3/4 Grooved Axes From Doniphan County
Date: 7000 BCE-1 CE
These four 3/4 grooved axes were collected from the White Cloud, Kansas area by antiquarian Mark E. Zimmerman (1866-1933), who donated them to the Highland Mission (now called the Iowa Sac and Fox Mission). Traces of the collector's marks (yellow paint) and labeling are faintly visible on some of the axes. While 3/4 grooved axes are frequently recovered from late Archaic sites, they are also found from other time periods. Axes like these are made by pecking a hard stone into a rough shape and then grinding and polishing it into its final state. They get their name from the hafting groove the encircles 3/4 of the axe's body. It is unknown if these four axes were found near each other, but they all are quite similar in size, ranging from 12.8cm - 11.2cm in length, 7.7cm - 6.6cm in width, and 4.5cm - 3.6cm thick.


Archaic Projectile Point from 14GR324

Archaic Projectile Point from 14GR324
Date: 8000 BCE - 1 CE
This Archaic period dart point was recovered from 14GR324, a Native American site in Greenwood County. The pinkish color of the chert is a result of the flintknapper heat treating the material to improve the chert's knapping qualities. Dart points would be mounted to the dart foreshaft, which would in turn be connected to the dart shaft. The assembled dart would then be thrown with an atlatl (spearthrower).


Atlatl Weight from Greenwood County

Atlatl Weight from Greenwood County
Date: Unknown
Atlatl weights are more commonly called boatstones from their resemblance to a boat. They served as a weight to increase the throwing power of an atlatl, a stick with an attachment that was used to throw a dart or spear. This weight was found in Greenwood County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1984. Note the incised lines on the top and sides of this fragment.


Boatstone from 14CF416

Boatstone from 14CF416
Date: 7000 BCE-1 CE
This boatstone was recovered from a multicomponent site in Coffey County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2015. The camp site was occupied periodically from the Archaic Period to the Late Ceramic Period. This boatstone would have dated to the earlier time period. Boatstones are thought by archeologists to have been used as atlatl weights. The boatstone would have been tied to the atlatl utilizing the central medial groove along the keel. It would have aided the atlatl in throwing the spear and dart further and faster. The boatstone has decorative radiating lines on each of its sides.


Bone Awls from the Curry Site, 14GR301

Bone Awls from the Curry Site, 14GR301
Date: 500 BCE-1500 CE
These two bone awls were found at different times by different people at the Curry Archeological Site in Greenwood County. The longest awl was a donation to the Kansas Historical Society in 1984 by the site's owner and was reconstructed from three pieces. The shorter awl was recovered in two pieces from excavations in 1966. They were used to make holes in soft materials, like hides, and possibly in basket and pottery manufacturing.


Calf Creek Projectile Point from Greenwood County

Calf Creek Projectile Point from Greenwood County
Date: 4800-4200 BCE
Calf Creek projectile points are defined as having deep parallel-sided basal notches. This one was found in Greenwood County and donated to Kansas Historical Society in 1984. These distinctive dart points are generally found in eastern Kansas and states to the east and south during the late Paleoindian Period.


Celt from 14OS1308

Celt from 14OS1308
Date: 6000 BCE-1500 CE
This celt was recovered from a multicomponent site in Osage County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2014. Archeologists use the word multicomponent to indicate that a site has been occupied intermittently throughout time. This woodworking tool would have been manufactured by grinding or pecking it into a general shape followed by polishing. It would have been hafted onto a handle and required periodic resharpening.


Dart Point from 14GR420

Dart Point from 14GR420
Date: 6000 BCE-1 CE
This contracting stem dart point was recovered from 14GR420 in Greenwood County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2006. The location was a camp or village site that had multiple occupations throughout the Archaic and Early to Late Ceramic periods. Dart points would be mounted to the dart foreshaft, which would in turn be connected to the dart shaft. The assembled dart would then be thrown with an atlatl (spearthrower).


Dart Points from Greenwood County

Dart Points from Greenwood County
Date: 1000 BCE-500 CE
These six dart points were collected from Greenwood County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1984. They show some of the different styles of projectile points that were present during the late Archaic to Early Ceramic Periods. Archeologists often identify these points based on the stem type: contracting stemmed, parallel stemmed, expanding stem, corner-notched and side-notched. Dart points would be mounted to the dart foreshaft, which would in turn be connected to the dart shaft. The assembled dart would then be thrown with an atlatl (spearthrower).


Daub from 14LT324

Daub from 14LT324
Date: 6000 BCE-1000 CE
Daub, like these pieces, is the hardened remains of a clay or soil plastered structure. The clay has stick or grass impressions from when it was plastered onto the framework of the structure. Hardened by fire, this type of artifact preserves well and can sometimes be the only archeological clue that a structure was once present. These examples came from an archeological site in Labette County occupied multiple times from the Late Archaic through the Early Ceramic periods.


Fully-Grooved Axes

Fully-Grooved Axes
Date: 3500 BCE-1 CE
These two fully-grooved axes were collected from the White Cloud, Kansas area by antiquarian Mark E. Zimmerman (1866-1933). They were first housed at the Highland Mission (Iowa and Sac and Fox Mission) and came to the Kansas Historical Society in 1980. Axes such as these were made by pecking a hard stone into a rough shape then grinding and polishing it into its final state. The groove that completely (fully) encircles the axe was used to enable hafting the axe onto a handle. Fully-grooved axes often date to the Middle to Late Archaic period.


Hetzel biface

Hetzel biface
Date: Unknown
This large biface was found in Shawnee County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1886. It may have been stored for future use (what Archeologists call a cache), meant for trade, or had some other significance we today do not know. It was broken prior to its donation. It is made from a large slab of Smoky Hill Jasper, which outcrops in north central and northwestern Kansas.


Munkers Creek Axes from the William Young Site, 14MO304

Munkers Creek Axes from the William Young Site, 14MO304
Date: 4000-3800 BCE
The Munkers Creek phase describes a stone tool technology restricted primarily to the Flint Hills. During this time most of North America was in a prolonged drought so severe that Archeologists thought people left the Plains. Munkers Creek artifacts show that people stayed, but they may have chosen their habitats carefully. Munkers Creek axes, like these from the William Young site in Morris County, were used for felling trees and woodworking.


Munkers Creek Bifaces from the William Young Site, 14MO304

Munkers Creek Bifaces from the William Young Site, 14MO304
Date: 4000-3800 BCE
The Munkers Creek phase describes a stone tool technology restricted primarily to the Flint Hills. During this time most of North America was in a prolonged drought so severe that Archeologists thought people left the Plains. Munkers Creek artifacts show that people stayed, but they may have chosen their habitats carefully. Munkers Creek bifaces, like these from the William Young site in Morris County, could have been used as cutting tools, or, with more work, turned into specific tools.


Munkers Creek Ceramic Effigy from the William Young Site, 14MO304

Munkers Creek Ceramic Effigy from the William Young Site, 14MO304
Date: 3550 - 3050 BCE
This ceramic head is Kansas' oldest fired clay artifact. Archeologists discovered the fired clay head in the early 1960s during excavations at the William Young archeological site in Morris County, Kansas, near Council Grove. The head pictured here is on display in the main gallery of the Kansas Museum of History. The effigy was created by people whose way of living and tool complex is called the Munkers Creek phase by archeologists. The Munkers Creek phase lasted for about 500 years from 3550 to 3050 BCE.


Munkers Creek Gouges from the William Young Site, 14MO304

Munkers Creek Gouges from the William Young Site, 14MO304
Date: 4000-3800 BCE
The Munkers Creek phase describes a stone tool technology restricted primarily to the Flint Hills. During this time most of North America was in a prolonged drought so severe that Archeologists thought people left the Plains. Munkers Creek artifacts show that people stayed, but they may have chosen their habitats carefully. Munkers Creek gouges, like these from the William Young site in Morris County, likely were used to modify wood and bone.


Munkers Creek Knives, Gouges and Bone Awl from the William Young Site, 14MO304

Munkers Creek Knives, Gouges and Bone Awl from the William Young Site, 14MO304
Date: 4000-3800 BCE
The Munkers Creek phase describes a stone tool technology restricted primarily to the Flint Hills. During this time most of North America was in a prolonged drought so severe that Archeologists thought people left the Plains. Munkers Creek artifacts show that people stayed, but they may have chosen their habitats carefully. Munkers Creek knives, like these from the William Young site (14MO304) in Morris County, are interesting in that many have a clearly visible gloss along one side that comes from grass stems. They may have been used to cut grass to thatch houses or for other purposes. Gouges were likely used to modify wood and bone. Bone awls were used to make holes in soft material or perhaps in basket manufacturing.


Munkers Creek Knives from the William Young Site, 14MO304

Munkers Creek Knives from the William Young Site, 14MO304
Date: 4000-3800 BCE
The Munkers Creek phase describes a stone tool technology restricted primarily to the Flint Hills. During this time most of North America was in a prolonged drought so severe that Archeologists thought people left the Plains. Munkers Creek artifacts show that people stayed, but they may have chosen their habitats carefully. Munkers Creek knives, like these from the William Young site in Morris County, are interesting in that many have a clearly visible gloss along one side. This gloss is silica from grass stems. People may have used these knives to cut grass to thatch houses of for other purposes.


Munkers Creek Projectile Points and Drill, 14MO304

Munkers Creek Projectile Points and Drill, 14MO304
Date: 4000-3800 BCE
The Munkers Creek phase describes a stone tool technology restricted primarily to the Flint Hills. During this time most of North America was in a prolonged drought so severe that Archeologists thought people left the Plains. Munkers Creek artifacts show that people stayed, but they may have chosen their habitats carefully. Munkers Creek projectile points, like these from the William Young site (14MO304) in Morris County, were launched using a spear thrower. Munkers Creek drills likely were used to modify shell, hides, wood, bone or soft stone.


Munkers Creek Projectile Points from the William Young Site, 14MO304

Munkers Creek Projectile Points from the William Young Site, 14MO304
Date: 4000E-3800 BCE
The Munkers Creek phase describes a stone tool technology restricted primarily to the Flint Hills. During this time most of North America was in a prolonged drought so severe that Archeologists thought people left the Plains. Munkers Creek artifacts show that people stayed, but they may have chosen their habitats carefully. Munkers Creek projectile points, like these illustrated from the William Young site in Morris County, were launched using a spear thrower.


Munkers Creek Projectile Points from the William Young Site, 14MO304

Munkers Creek Projectile Points from the William Young Site, 14MO304
Date: 4000-3800 BCE
The Munkers Creek phase describes a stone tool technology restricted primarily to the Flint Hills. During this time most of North America was in a prolonged drought so severe that Archeologists thought people left the Plains. Munkers Creek artifacts show that people stayed, but they may have chosen their habitats carefully. Munkers Creek projectile points, like these from the William Young site in Morris County, were launched using a spear thrower.


Paleoindian Projectile Point

Paleoindian Projectile Point
Date: 11000-7000 BCE
This Late Paleoindian point is called a Dalton and functioned as a spear tip. It was found in Allen County at a camp site that was occupied periodically during the Archaic and Early Ceramic Periods. The point was donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2015. Paleoindian people traveled in small groups, hunting large game, including now extinct bison. Stone tools help reveal how these people lived, traveled, and differed from other groups. Late Paleoindian points are typically long, thin, and narrow, and carefully made.


Paleoindian Projectile Point

Paleoindian Projectile Point
Date: 11000-7000 BCE
This Late Paleoindian point is called a Dalton and functioned as a spear tip. It was found in Atchison County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1976. Late Paleoindian people traveled in small groups, hunting large game, including now extinct bison. Stone tools help reveal how these people lived, traveled, and differed from other groups. Late Paleoindian points are typically long, thin, and narrow, and carefully made. Points with minor damage were often resharpened, altering their original shape.


Paleoindian Projectile Point from 14PO2

Paleoindian Projectile Point from 14PO2
Date: 11500 - 9000 BCE
This broken Early Paleoindian point functioned as a spear tip. It was recovered from archeological site 14PO2 in Pottawatomie County. Early Paleoindian people are thought to have been highly mobile, small bands that hunted large game, including some now extinct species. Stone tools help reveal how these people lived, traveled, and differed from other groups. Early Paleoindian points are often long, thin, and narrow, and have one or more short flakes called flutes removed from one or both sides of the point base.


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