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Objects and Artifacts - Archeological Artifacts - Material/Stone Type - Pipestone

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Carved Pipestone Pipe

Carved Pipestone Pipe
Date: Unknown
This pipestone pipe, possibly Apache in origin, was donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1959. The soft pipestone enabled the pipe's maker to carve it into its final shape and incise a deep line 3/4 of the way around the stem end of the pipe. Pipes were used during trade negotiations and to mark special occasions.


Catlinite Pendant from Jefferson County

Catlinite Pendant from Jefferson County
Date: Unknown
This carved pipestone or Catlinite pendant was found in Jefferson County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1979. The soft fine grain material enabled the pendant's carver to shape and smooth the piece, score the lines on each end, and drill a hole for suspending the pendent.


Catlinite Pipe from Jefferson County

Catlinite Pipe from Jefferson County
Date: 1350-1850 CE
This Catlinite pipe was found in Jefferson County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1925. In Kansas, these pipes generally were made by American Indians between 1350 to 1850. The soft fine grain material of Catlinite enabled the pipe's maker to carve it into its rectangular shape. Pipes were used during trade negotiations and to mark special occasions.


Decorated Pipestone Pipe

Decorated Pipestone Pipe
Date: Unknown
This pipestone pipe was donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1956. The soft, fine-grained material of the pipestone enabled the carver to shape, smooth, and decorate the pipe. The stem end of the pipe has been carved into an octagonal shape and seven of the eight sides are decorated with a floral and crosshatch motif. In Kansas, these pipes generally were carved by American Indians between 1350 to 1850 CE, though they continue to be made today.


Decorated Pipestone Pipe Stem from the Paint Creek Site, 14MP1

Decorated Pipestone Pipe Stem from the Paint Creek Site, 14MP1
Date: 1500-1800 CE
The pipestone pipe stem was excavated in 1935 by avocational archeologists and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1971. The pipe has an incised line encircling the pipe 1.5cm from the stem edge. It was never smoked and was likely broken during manufacture. Pipes like this one were used during trade negotiations and to mark special occasions. The pipe was located in a cache at the Paint Creek site, a village in McPherson County. The Paint Creek site is part of the Little River focus of the Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita), whose people practiced fishing, hunting, gathering, and agriculture.


Decorated Pipestone Pipe Tomahawk

Decorated Pipestone Pipe Tomahawk
Date: Unknown
This pipestone pipe tomahawk was collected in the western United States and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1980. The blade and stem portions are decorated on both sides with different floral motifs. Though the piece was likely made for trade, traces of tobacco residue, called dottle, within the pipe bowl indicate that it was smoked.


Diminutive Celt from 14EK303

Diminutive Celt from 14EK303
Date: 1000-1500 CE
This small pipestone artifact, possibly a celt, was recovered from the surface of a Middle Ceramic period site in Elk County. It was donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1972. The artifact presents something of a conundrum: it has a celt-like edge and the general shape of a celt, but it is too small to be useful as a woodworking tool. The artifact was manufactured by grinding or pecking into its general shape followed by polishing.


Diminutive Pipe from the Glen Elder Site, 14ML1

Diminutive Pipe from the Glen Elder Site, 14ML1
Date: 1300-1450 CE
This diminutive pipe was recovered from a site in Mitchell County that was occupied during the White Rock Oneota phase, an intrusive Late Prehistoric (1000-1650 CE) archeological complex. The pipestone pipe is decorated on two sides with incised diamond shapes and lines. The soft, fine-grained material of the pipestone enabled the carver to shape, smooth, and decorate the pipe. The site was excavated by the University of Nebraska and the collection was donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1987.


Diminutive Pipe from the Mem Site, 14MN328

Diminutive Pipe from the Mem Site, 14MN328
Date: 1500-1800 CE
This pipestone pipe, extremely small yet quite refined, was excavated in 1986 during a highway salvage project undertaken by Kansas Historical Society archeologists and Kansas Anthropological Association volunteers. The pipe is made of Kansas pipestone and was not well cleaned as it was hoped that the material inside the pipe might be analyzed in the future. The soft fine grained material of pipestone enabled the pipe's maker to carve it into its elbow-like shape. Pipes were used during trade negotiations and to mark special occasions. In Kansas, these pipes are generally made by American Indians between 1650 to 1850. The Mem site, in Marion County, is a Great Bend aspect, ancestral Wichita village.


Diminutive Pipestone Celt

Diminutive Pipestone Celt
Date: Unknown
This diminutive celt arrived in the collections of the Kansas Historical Society with either no or lost provenience, its record of ownership. While this is disappointing, it does not mean the celt has lost all of its utility and value. It can still be used for teaching purposes, as an example of artifacts made from pipestone, celts in general, and the possible purpose of such a small artifact.


Effigy Pipe Fragment from the Minneapolis Site, 14OT5

Effigy Pipe Fragment from the Minneapolis Site, 14OT5
Date: 1232-1409 CE
This broken fragment of a possible pipestone effigy pipe was recovered from the Minneapolis site in Ottawa County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1993. The soft, fine-grained material of the pipestone enabled the carver to shape and smooth the pipe. This pipe, broken near the bowl portion, has a series of curved carved lines across the bottom and onto the side. Pipes were used during trade negotiations and to mark special occasions. In Kansas, pipes like this generally were carved by American Indians between 1350 to 1850, though they continue to be made today. The village site was occupied during the Middle Ceramic period and had several Smoky Hill aspect house mounds.


Effigy Pipe from Atchison County

Effigy Pipe from Atchison County
Date: 1350-1850 CE
This partial effigy pipe was found in Atchison County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1925. The soft, fine-grained material of the pipestone enabled the carver to shape and smooth the pipe, carve the effigy on the bottom and drill holes for the bowl and stem. The bowl and part of the effigy have been broken off. In Kansas, these pipes generally were carved by American Indians between 1350 to 1850 CE, though they continue to be made today. Pipes were used during trade negotiations and to mark special occasions.


Elbow Pipe Bowl from a Possible Kansa Site, 14SH302

Elbow Pipe Bowl from a Possible Kansa Site, 14SH302
Date: 1831-1848
This pipestone pipe bowl was collected from 14SH302 and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in the 1920s. The soft fine grain material enabled the carver to shape and smooth the piece and incise a line around the stem end of the bowl. Pipes were used during trade negotiations and to mark special occasions. In Kansas, these pipes are generally made by American Indians between 1650 to 1850. 14SH302 is the possible location of American Chief's Village, the smallest of three Kansa Indian Villages in Shawnee County.


Elbow Pipe from the Tobias Site, 14RC8

Elbow Pipe from the Tobias Site, 14RC8
Date: 1400-1700 CE
This pipe bowl was recovered from excavations during the 1977 Kansas Archeology Training Program field school at the Tobias site in Rice County. The pipe was carved from pipestone, a soft, fine-grained material that enabled the carver to shape and smooth the pipe and drill holes for the bowl and stem. At some point in the past the pipe bowl was damaged. The Tobias site is a Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita) village that had dense artifact deposits, house remains, and numerous deep trash-filled storage pits. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Hematite Artifact from Greenwood County

Hematite Artifact from Greenwood County
Date: 1350-1850 CE
This hematite artifact was found in Greenwood County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1984. The broken artifact still shows four grooved lines, though what its original function was is unknown. Hematite is a relatively soft and fine-grained mineral form of iron oxide. It is easily carved and polished.


Incised Pipe Bowl from the Paint Creek Site, 14MP1

Incised Pipe Bowl from the Paint Creek Site, 14MP1
Date: 1500-1600 CE
This pipestone pipe bowl fragment was found at the Paint Creek village in McPherson County and was donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2013. The soft, fine-grained material of the pipestone enabled the carver to shape and smooth the pipe. The pipe bowl was incised with a series of vertical lines and may have broken before it was ever smoked. Pipes like this one were used during trade negotiations and to mark special occasions. 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.


Incised Pipestone Artifacts from the Mem Site, 14MN328

Incised Pipestone Artifacts from the Mem Site, 14MN328
Date: 1500-1800 CE
These two incised pipestone artifacts were excavated in 1986 during a highway salvage project at the Mem site. The soft fine grained material of pipestone enabled the artifact's maker to carve, incise and polish. One fragments has three scored lines on one face and a single line on another face. The flattish artifact has fine incised lines on both surfaces. It may have been a pipe that broke during early stages of manufacture. The project at the Mem site was undertaken by Kansas Historical Society archeologists and Kansas Anthropological Association volunteers. The Mem site, in Marion County, is a Great Bend aspect, ancestral Wichita village.


Incised Plaque from the Leary Site, 14BN1336 and 25RH1

Incised Plaque from the Leary Site, 14BN1336 and 25RH1
Date: 1194-1477 CE
This pipestone fragment was recovered from the Leary site, an Oneota village, and was donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1925. The plaque depicts the teeth of a water monster, numerous incised lines, and a teepee added shortly before it was donated. Oneota is the name of an archeological culture representing people who lived in villages across the Midwest and into the Plains region of Kansas. The Leary site straddles the state line between Kansas and Nebraska, with a large portion on the Richardson County, Nebraska side and a smaller portion on the Brown County, Kansas side. The Leary village was occupied primarily during the Late Prehistoric period, with radiocarbon dates indicating a date range of 1194 to 1477 CE.


Kansas Pipestone Artifact from 14RC410

Kansas Pipestone Artifact from 14RC410
Date: 1400-1499 CE
This fragment of Kansas pipestone was recovered in 1981 by Kansas Historical Society archeologists at an archeological site in Rice County. The function of the artifact is unknown, it may have been a work in progress. The soft, fine-grain Kansas pipestone material enabled the carver to shape, smooth, and incise or score lines on the artifact. The site is part of what archeologists call the Little River Focus of the Great Bend Aspect (ancestral Wichita), whose people practiced fishing, hunting, gathering, and agriculture.


Kansas Pipestone Artifact from the Crandall Site, 14RC420

Kansas Pipestone Artifact from the Crandall Site, 14RC420
Date: 1500-1800 CE
The soft fine grain Kansas pipestone material enabled the carver to shape and smooth this piece and then incise or score lines upon three sides. The function of the artifact is unknown, it may have been a "work in process." It was found during excavations at the 1983 Kansas Archeology Training Program field school at the Crandall site in Rice County. The Crandall site is a Late Ceramic period camp site in Rice County occupied by Little River focus Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita) peoples.


Kansas Pipestone from 14DP317

Kansas Pipestone from 14DP317
Date: 1-1000 CE
This fragment of Kansas pipestone was recovered from the surface of an Early Ceramic period camp site in Doniphan County. Kansas pipestone is found in the glacial drift of northeast Kansas. The piece shows plow scars, damage from farming activities, but not other modification. The soft fine grain Kansas pipestone material would have enabled it to be shaped and smoothed if desired.


Kansas Pipestone from Marion County

Kansas Pipestone from Marion County
Date: Unknown
This cobble of Kansas pipestone was collected from Marion County. Striations on the side show that the soft, fine grain Kansas pipestone has been shaped into a rectangle. Parallel lines on two sides are also present. The cobble may have been initially prepped for making an unknown object, possibly a pipe, a tool, or a decorative item.


Kansas Pipestone, Pipestone and Hematite from Blue Earth Village, 14PO24

Kansas Pipestone, Pipestone and Hematite from Blue Earth Village, 14PO24
Date: 1795-1830
These three artifacts were donated in 1880 and 1925 to the Kansas Historical Society. They were collected from the Blue Earth village site, a Kansa Indian village in Pottawatomie County. Many lodge depressions were still visible on the surface of the site in the 1880s. All three artifacts may have been at the start of modification. The smallest, a piece of hematite, has scratch marks on the smoothed end. The medium-sized is made of pipestone, while the largest is of Kansas pipestone. The soft fine grain material of these pieces would have enabled them to be shaped and smoothed if desired.


Mano from a Kansa Site, 14SH302

Mano from a Kansa Site, 14SH302
Date: 1831-1848
This mano, made of Kansas pipestone, was recovered from an archeological site in Shawnee County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1956. The mano was likely used as the upper hand-held millstone for grinding foods and pigments. The soft fine grain Kansas pipestone material enabled the mano's maker to shape and smooth the piece. Kansas pipestone is found in the glacial drift of northeast Kansas. The mano also shows plow scars, damage from farming activities. The site is the possible location of American Chief's Village, the smallest of three Kansa Indian Villages in Shawnee County.


Modified Kansas Pipestone from Blue Earth Village, 14PO24

Modified Kansas Pipestone from Blue Earth Village, 14PO24
Date: 1795-1830
This artifact, a modified piece of Kansas Pipestone, was collected from the Blue Earth village site and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1880. The artifact was shaped into a rectangular block with two sides showing some smoothing. Blue Earth village was a Kansa Indian village in Pottawatomie County. Many lodge depressions were still visible on the surface in the 1880s.


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