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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.

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3/4 Grooved Axe from 14WY308

3/4 Grooved Axe from 14WY308
Date: 1-1500 CE
This 3/4 grooved axe was collected from a multicomponent site in Wyandotte County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1973. While 3/4 grooved axes are frequently recovered from late Archaic sites, their use is not restricted to that time period. They get their name from the hafting groove that encircles 3/4 of the body of the axe. Axes like these are made by pecking a hard stone into a rough shape and then grinding and polishing it into its final state.


3/4 Grooved Axe from Geary County

3/4 Grooved Axe from Geary County
Date: Unknown
This 3/4 grooved axe was found in Geary County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1963. While 3/4 grooved axes are frequently recovered from late Archaic sites, their 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. They get their name from the hafting groove the encircles 3/4 of its body.


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 Axe from the Collins Site

3/4 Grooved Axe from the Collins Site
Date: Unknown
The 3/4 grooved axe shown here was donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1979. It was collected from a habitation site in Doniphan County with multiple occupations. 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. The groove would have been used to haft the axe to the handle.


3/4 Grooved Axe from the Plowboy Site, 14SH372

3/4 Grooved Axe from the Plowboy Site, 14SH372
Date: 2000 BCE-1850 CE
This 3/4 grooved axe was collected from the Plowboy site in Shawnee County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2017. The Plowboy site was home to the Kansa, the Potawatomi, and Euro-Americans. At various times, the site contained a farm, a trading post, and a post office with nearby military trails, Mormon routes, a railroad and the California-Oregon trail. Before all of this activity, other American Indians also occupied the site and created this groundstone axe. 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 its body.


3/4 Grooved Axe from the Stricker Site, 14DP1319

3/4 Grooved Axe from the Stricker Site, 14DP1319
Date: Unknown
This 3/4 grooved axe was collected from a multicomponent archeological site in Doniphan County and donated in 2018 to the Kansas Historical Society. The site had occupations from the Archaic through the Historic periods. The axe was from one of the older time periods. While 3/4 grooved axes are frequently recovered from late Archaic sites, their use is not restricted to that time period. Axes like this one are made by pecking a hard stone into a rough shape and then grinding and polishing it into its final state and 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.


3/4 Grooved Axes from the Dickerson Site, 14AT346

3/4 Grooved Axes from the Dickerson Site, 14AT346
Date: Unknown
Little is known regarding these 3/4 grooved axes from the Dickerson site in Atchison County. They were donated in 1878 to the Kansas Historical Society. While 3/4 grooved axes are frequently recovered from late Archaic sites, their 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. They get their name from the hafting groove the encircles 3/4 of the body.


3/4 Grooved Axes from the Dickerson Site, 14AT346

3/4 Grooved Axes from the Dickerson Site, 14AT346
Date: Unknown
These 3/4 grooved axes were recovered from the Dickerson site in Atchison County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1878. While 3/4 grooved axes are frequently recovered from late Archaic sites, their use is not restricted to that time period. Axes like these are made by pecking a hard stone, in this case igneous rock, into a rough shape and then grinding and polishing it into its final state. These axes get their name from the hafting groove the encircles 3/4 of its body.


Abrader from the Paint Creek Site, 14MP1

Abrader from the Paint Creek Site, 14MP1
Date: 1500-1800 CE
This Sioux quartzite abrader was excavated at the Paint Creek village in McPherson County. Archeologists call abraders groundstone tools as they are shaped by grinding. This abrader has been used to sharpen another tool, such as a bone needle or awl. The Paint Creek site is what archeologists call part of the Little River Focus of the Great Bend Aspect (ancestral Wichita), whose people practiced fishing, hunting, gathering, and agriculture.


Abraders from 14SA409

Abraders from 14SA409
Date: 1-1500 CE
These three abraders were recovered from the surface of a Saline County camp site and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2017. The site was occupied during the Upper Republican and Smoky Hill phases in the Early and Middle Ceramic periods. Archeologists call these groundstone tools as they are shaped by grinding. The sandstone abraders could be used as pairs, one on each side, to smooth a wood shaft.


Abraders from the Killdeer Site, 14CO501

Abraders from the Killdeer Site, 14CO501
Date: 1500-1750 CE
These two abraders were among the many that were recovered during the 1994 Kansas Archeology Training Program field school at the Killdeer site, since destroyed by construction. Archeologists call these groundstone tools as they are shaped by grinding. The sandstone abraders could sometimes be used as pairs, one on each side, to smooth a wood arrow shaft. The Killdeer site was a Lower Walnut focus Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita) site in Cowley County with numerous pits, basins and post molds.


Abraders from the Kohr Site, 14SA414

Abraders from the Kohr Site, 14SA414
Date: 780-860 CE
These abraders were collected in the 1930s from Kohr House No. 1, a large village site in Saline County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1971. Archeologists call these groundstone tools as they are shaped by grinding. The sandstone abraders could be used as pairs, one on each side, to smooth a wood shaft. All four artifacts were manufactured on Dakota sandstone. The two on the bottom row are in the process of manufacture, enabling us to see how they were made. The Kohr site was occupied by Smoky Hill aspect people and had several rectangular houses. Radiocarbon dates on maize indicate it was occupied during the Early Ceramic period.


Abraders from the Lamar Site, 14OT304

Abraders from the Lamar Site, 14OT304
Date: 1000-1400 CE
These three abraders were excavated in 1935 from the Lamar site in Ottawa County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1971. The Smoky Hill phase occupation site had a single, almost square, house and four cache pits. Archeologists call these groundstone tools as they are shaped by grinding. The sandstone abraders could be used as pairs, one on each side, to smooth a wood shaft.


Abraders from the Nulik Site, 14SR305

Abraders from the Nulik Site, 14SR305
Date: 1000-1500 CE
These four abrader fragments were recovered during excavations by Kansas Historical Society archeologists at the Nulik site in Sumner County. Archeologists call these groundstone tools as they are shaped by grinding. The sandstone abraders could be used as pairs, one on each side, to smooth a wood shaft. The excavations revealed a Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita) house and associated midden (refuse heap or mound).


Abraders from the Tobias Site, 14RC8

Abraders from the Tobias Site, 14RC8
Date: 1400-1600 CE
Shown are a few of the many abraders and shaft smoothers recovered from the excavations during the 1977 and 1978 Kansas Archeology Training Program field schools at the Tobias site in Rice County. Archeologists call these groundstone tools as they are shaped by grinding. The sandstone abraders could be used as pairs, one on each side, to smooth a wood shaft or individually to sharpen or smooth items. The Tobias site is a Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita) village that had dense artifact deposits (including chain mail brought to Kansas by sixteenth-century Spanish explorers), house remains and numerous deep trash-filled storage pits. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Abraders from the Wullscheleger Site, 14MH301

Abraders from the Wullscheleger Site, 14MH301
Date: 1-1800 CE
These three Dakota sandstone abraders were collected from the Wullscheleger Site in Marshall County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1961. Archeologists call abraders like these groundstone tools, as they are shaped by grinding. Some of the abraders could be used in pairs, one on each side, to smooth a wood shaft. The village site was occupied periodically from the Early Ceramic to the Late Ceramic periods.


Arapaho Pipe

Arapaho Pipe
Date: Unknown
The records indicate that this pipe was made by someone from the Arapaho tribe on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. It was purchased by two different museums, before finally being purchased by the Kansas Historical Society in 1956. The soft, fine-grained material of the stone enabled the carver to shape and smooth the pipe and drill holes for the bowl and stem. It was likely never smoked as no traces of dottle (tobacco residue) remain within the bowl or on the rim.


Artifact Collection from 14RY1627

Artifact Collection from 14RY1627
Date: Unknown
Shown is the complete collection of surface artifacts from 14RY1627 in Riley County. Other artifacts, not in the Kansas Historical Society's collection, indicate the site had multiple components or occupations including peoples of both the Kansas City Hopewell and Smoky Hill aspects. The spear point pictured here adds a late Paleolithic to early Archaic component. In addition to the projectile point fragment two bifaces and a mano (grinding stone) are shown.


Artifact Collection from the Green Site, 14RY33

Artifact Collection from the Green Site, 14RY33
Date: 1500 BCE-1500 CE
This collection was donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1880 by Governor Nehemiah Green (1837-1890). The artifacts are likely from a site called 14RY33 as the donation records state they are from the Green site and 14RY33 was on property once owned by Governor Green. The small collection includes two vessel rims, two body sherds, and a large piece of daub (clay typically used to coat a structure which retains impressions of surrounding material). A single groundstone abrader, used for smoothing softer material, two scrapers and a knife or biface were also donated. Finally, seven projectile points, ranging in style from large dart points to a small notched arrow point were included. This collection reveals a site that was occupied periodically from the late Archaic to the Middle Ceramic periods. It may have had at least one structure and activities included cooking, hide processing and hunting.


Atlatl Weight from Brown County

Atlatl Weight from Brown County
Date: Unknown
This atlatl weight was found in Brown County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1981. Atlatl weights serve to increase the throwing power of an atlatl, a stick with an attachment that was used to throw a dart and spear.


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.


Axe or Celt from the Trowbridge Site, 14WY1

Axe or Celt from the Trowbridge Site, 14WY1
Date: 1-250 CE
This partial axe or celt was found at the Trowbridge archeological site in Wyandotte County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1973. Trowbridge is a Kansas City Hopewell site from the Early Ceramic Period. During this time archeologists find evidence of houses, cultivated plants, and decorated pottery. Without the poll end of the artifact it is impossible to tell if it was an axe or a celt. Either way, 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.


Bannerstone from Elk County

Bannerstone from Elk County
Date: 3000-2000 BCE
Bannerstones are weight added to the atlatl shaft to increase the propulsion of the dart point thrown by the atlatl (spearthrower). They are typical of the Late Archaic period and are often made of banded slate. This bannerstone was made in a geniculate style, meaning it is bent as a sharp angle. It has an oval hole for attaching the bannerstone to the atlatl shaft. The bannerstone was found in Elk County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1959.


Beads from the Mem Site, 14MN328

Beads from the Mem Site, 14MN328
Date: 1500-1800 CE
These beads were excavated in 1986 during a highway salvage project undertaken by Kansas Historical Society archeologists and Kansas Anthropological Association volunteers at the Mem site. The black glass ovoid bead, of European manufacture, was recovered from the upper fill of a cache pit. The disc-shaped turquoise bead and the two ceramic beads were recovered from the same cache pit. The Mem site, in Marion County, is a Great Bend aspect, ancestral Wichita village.


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