Cherokee Indian Stone Tools

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    Projectile Points

    • Projectile points are the rock tips of arrows, spears and blow gun darts used for hunting and warfare. Points were notched into wooden shafts, then lashed with leather. Points were a variety of sizes depending on the size of the prey. Points can be dated by the type of rock they were made from, as well as the shape. A Clovis point that is the oldest known to mankind in North America, dating back 14,000 years.

    Knives and Scrapers

    • Knives and scrapers were basic tools in use by the Cherokee. Scrapers were handheld, hand-sized rocks honed on one edge to scrape hide. Knives, scrapers and projectile points were made from a process called flint knapping. By hitting the edges of a stone with a harder stone, usually flint, the Cherokee were able to shape the stone into a useful form for tooling. Debris piles of small broken rock shards known as lithic scatters show archaeologists how extensive (or not) tribal tool making was.


    • A tomahawk, like the adze, resembles today's modern ax. The Cherokee kept the handle of the tomahawk straight and also relatively small, averaging about 2 feet. The head was originally made of stone, attached by wrapping leather around the handle and the stone. Later, after contact with the Europeans, the head of the tomahawk changed from stone to metal, usually brass or iron. It was an all-purpose tool but was also used in warfare during hand-to-hand combat.


    • The adze is a small handheld woodworking tool. As Cherokee technology developed, the head of the adze moved from simple stone attached by leather to a stone encased in bone or antler. Known as a compound tool, by keeping the stone inside the antler or bone the Cherokee created a type of shock absorber. Users could then work for a longer period of time or with more force without tiring as quickly.

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