- North America has thousands of archaeological sites rich in Indian artifacts. These artifacts, such as American Indian stone tools, are clues to the way of life of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. Archaeologists have noted the evolution of these tools over time.
Early Indian Artifacts
- Early American Indian stone tools were developed primarily to pierce, and scrape. The earliest Native American tools were found near the remains of a mammoth nearby what is now Clovis, N.M. The slender pieces of stone were tempered into a point that could pierce the hide of an animal while hunting, probably as a throwing spear or point of an arrow. These points had a very small flute or channel that ran from the base toward the tip, possibly to assist with hafting or attaching a handle or stick to the stone point. Flakes of the core stone had been removed at the base, running up but not all the way to the tip. To remove the flakes, the Indians had to use a stone hammer and some type of chiseling implement to effect modifications to the stone.
Younger American Indian Stone Tools
- A thousand years more recently, younger points with more pronounced fluting suggest a greater ability to manipulate tools and refine the Indian artifacts so that tool making was faster, more efficient. Efficiency of Native American tools meant the difference between life and death. That points, fluted or not, are amongst the first relics to be discovered simply means that being able to kill a saber tooth tiger by staying out of reach of its teeth and claws was of greater priority to these people than fashioning a wheel to automate the grinding of grain.
Environmental Modification of Stone Tools
- Sharpening a slender stone to pierce a woolly mammoths' hide takes ingenuity and precision. As early man desired new and better ways to modify stones into Native American tools, increase the quality of living, and reduce the amount of labor required to bring about a higher standard of living, he created and refined more and more tools. Hard stone was transformed into axes, celts (type of chisel), weights for straightening spear and arrow hafts, and hammers. Softer stones like flint were transformed into American Indian stone tools like drills, scrapers, knife blades, and arrowheads. Stone bowls, grinding stones, and cobble stones are all Indian artifacts that rose in priority as the need to protect against marauding tigers, bears, lions, and elephants receded.