What Are Some Facts About Prehistoric Archaic Indian Stone Artifacts?

Axes, celts, gouges, mauls, plummets and bannerstones are common Archaic Native American stone artifacts. Cobbles with small, shallow cupped depressions called anvil stones and nutting stones were also used during the Archaic period.

Tools were usually made from hard igneous or metamorphic rocks. Ground stone tools were often repurposed using their raw material for use in stone boiling, lining roasting pits and ringing hearths; however, they were no longer useful after being repurposed. The Late Archaic period gave rise to ground stone technology being applied to softer sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Limestone was often used for making pipes, hematite was used for celts, sandstone for arrow shaft abraders and steatite for small bowls.

Axes were often grooved completely around the four faces of the tool or sometimes on just three of the four faces. The groove patterns are what give rise to the terms “full” and “three-quarter” grooved axes. In the Midwest, axes with grooves on only two faces were sometimes used; these are known as Keokuk axes. Celts lack any grooves, differentiating them from axes, and are built with the bit perpendicular to the axis of the handle instead of parallel. Axes, celts, gouges and mauls were usually used for woodworking and are often found in forested or formerly forested areas.