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Snake Blakeslee Apishapa Canyon Archaeological Site

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Located in Apishapa Canyon in southeastern Colorado, the Snake Blakeslee Archaeological Site consists of two residential room clusters and several outlying structures that apparently made up a single Apishapa phase (1050–1450 CE) community. First described in the 1930s by Etienne B. Renaud, the site was later excavated in 1949 by Haldon Chase and Robert Stigler of Columbia University and in 1986 by James Gunnerson of the University of Nebraska State Museum. In the 1950s the site played a significant role in the initial formulation of the Apishapa Focus of the Panhandle Aspect (now called the Apishapa phase).

Initial Investigations

In the 1930s, University of Denver archaeologist Etienne B. Renaud published the first descriptions of the Snake Blakeslee site. He saw the site in 1930 when he first surveyed eastern Colorado, and a Fowler man named R. D. Mutz guided him to the Snake Blakeslee and Cramer sites near the mouth of Apishapa Canyon. Renaud returned the next year and again in 1941, when he completed new descriptions and maps of the sites, which he believed had a ceremonial function.

High Plains Expedition

In 1949, Columbia University student Haldon Chase conceived of a project to investigate early historic Apache sites on the high plains. This idea ultimately resulted in the Columbia University High Plains Expeditions of 1949, during which he and Robert Stigler (and, for a short time, Ferd Okada) spent more than five weeks excavating in Apishapa Canyon. They briefly visited the Cramer site in July, but most of their time in July and August was devoted to excavations at the Snake Blakeslee site, located on the rim of the canyon about five miles above its mouth. They named the site after the landowner’s brother, who went by the nickname “Snake.”

The Snake Blakeslee site was large, about 115 feet by 80 feet, and consisted of two room clusters and several outlying circular rooms. The site was built using vertical stone slabs arranged on bedrock to make rooms up to fifteen feet in diameter. The slabs formed walls about nine inches wide and several feet high, and the rooms would have had central posts about five feet high to hold the structure’s wooden roof. The western room cluster had three circular rooms, and the eastern room cluster, about sixteen feet away, had eight circular rooms. These clusters were probably expanded gradually over the years rather than built all at once. During their excavations, Chase and Stigler found hundreds of potsherds along with projectile points, stone tools, bone tools, and even a few corncob fragments.

Chase and Stigler spent five weeks at the site, but its large size and rich collections meant they excavated only five of the rooms. They never completed a report about their work, but their detailed notes, photographs, and collections were stored at the University of Denver. In 1950 Chase performed more excavations at the site with funding from Trinidad State Junior College. Later that decade the site influenced the definition of the Apishapa phase.

Recent Research

In 1985–86 James Gunnerson of the University of Nebraska State Museum led new excavations of archaeological sites in Apishapa Canyon. He focused primarily on the Cramer site but also spent several days at the Snake Blakeslee site, using Chase’s notes as a guide. He noted that there had been little vandalism since Chase’s excavation and that Chase’s notes were so thorough that it would have been possible to write a full report from them without ever visiting the site. Gunnerson proposed a date of about 1350 CE for the Snake Blakeslee site, making it roughly contemporaneous with the nearby Cramer site. In contrast to the Cramer site, which was probably used primarily for ceremonies and bone processing, the Snake Blakeslee site’s many rooms were used for habitation. Gunnerson suggested that the Snake Blakeslee and Cramer sites be considered type sites for the “Classic Apishapa” phase in the 1300s. They were built not long before the Apishapa phase ended in the early 1400s, when droughts probably caused a migration to wetter climates farther east.


  • What is an awl?

    Awls are one of the most common artifacts found in archaeological sites. Men and women used bone awls to perform various tasks such as piercing holes, or marking materials such as wood or leather. Bone awls were perfect tools because of the thick, strong tip with a small radius and sharp point. These traits were the perfect combination to make small, precise holes. The bone tool comes from any number of animals.

    Hunters choose the animal depending on the desired size of the awl and the material desired to pierce. Awls made a common appearance in the everyday lives of not only the Apishapa people from the American southwest, but also indigenous cultures from around the world. They can vary dramatically in polish from wear, methods of preparation, and size. An Apishapa person used some of these awls at the Snake Blakeslee site in the Apishapa canyon. To hold the animal skins up, he/she pierced holes in the hides and then tied them down. The tool also simplified the process of weaving baskets. The Apishapa's genius in using the awl is only exemplified in the modern world by the fact awls are still used commonly in the present day! The tool was first made of bone, and then slowly they made a transition to stone awls, and most recently, metals.

  • Object A302
    awl a302

    Artifact A302 measured 16.2 cm long and .9 cm wide. It's angle is 10 degrees and it weighs 10.2 grams. This tool was ranked to be a 9 on the wear scale because there are a lot of visible striations along the tool that do not requires a hand lens to see. This bone tool was made from a deer metapodial/metatarsus/metacarpal. This tool was used as an awl. 

    The condyle of the bone is present, and shows signs of smoothing. The tip of the tool is still intact and relatively sharp with only minimal dulling. Significant use wear is evident by perpendicular and angular striations along the entire length of the artifact, although they intensify as you move up the bone, and are most concentrated in the mid section of the artifact, at the 6-8cm mark, when measuring from the tip. These striations indicate that the tool was most likely used for piercing holes, with twisting motions to increase the size of the opening. The width of the tool at the largest concentration of striations is 4.77mm, which could indicate the desired size of the hole being punched. This is shown in the image above. The use wear analysis could classify this tool as an awl that was likely used for clothing manufacture.

  • Object A278
    awl object a278

    Artifact A278 measured 6.9 cm long and 1.3 cm wide. It's angle is 18 degrees and it weighs 3.6 grams. This tool was ranked to be a 7 on the use wear scale because there are visible striations along the tool. This bone tool was made from a deer ulna or metatarsus.

    Artifact 278 could be classified as an awl. The condyle is still present on one end, with evidence of filing or smoothing. On the other end, the tip is still intact and sharp. The tool shows moderate use wear, with specific concentrations of wear near the tip. Angular and perpendicular striations can be found near the tip as well as further up the length of the artifact. The image above shows the perpendicular striations found 3cm above the tip. These striations indicate twisting of the tool, which in combination with the sharp tip indicate that the tool was potentially used for poking holes in animal hides or other similar materials, and then widening the opening with the thicker part of the bone. This type of tool would be very useful in sites that focused on hunting and the processing of animal remains as a main activity, which other data has proven of Snake Blakeslee.

  • Object A382
    awl object a382

    This bone was found in 1949 in Southeastern Colorado. This tool comes from the anklebone of a deer. It is estimated that it was used between 900 and 600 years ago. Around the world other bone tools have been found dating back almost two million years. The earliest humans used this type of tool to dig termites out of their mounds. However, researchers believe this particular bone tool was used for skinning animals, sewing, and weaving.

    This tool is approximately 6 inches long and nearly an inch wide at its widest (base). Along carved out side there are slanted striations from the tip that run along side and then stop mid way. Slanted appearance may be indicative of the awl being used in an angled downward motion. Along the backside, no striations are immediately visible.

  • Object A331
    awl object a331

    Based off of preliminary findings the group inferred that this tool was a broken awl possibly made from the metapodial of a deer. Some striations were visible to the naked eye but with further examination it was easier to identify the direction of the striations. Under the digital microscope it was discovered that at the broken end where the tip would have been, the striations start out being diagonal instead of horizontal making it a point of expansion instead of perforation.

    The examination of the tool appeared to show that many of the large cracks in the bone have possibly resulted from age instead of use. There were particulates found with in one of the main cracks on the curved back of the tool. On one of the longitudinal smaller edges there were multiple striations trailing up the edge.

  • Object A66A
    awl object a66a

    This bone artifact is best described as an awl, measuring approximately 128mm X 24 mm. The awl has a relatively sharp 'use' end, with a blunted opposite end. Hamblin (1989) describes this artifact as a split bison rib.

    There is no macroscopic evidence of manufacturing or wear use markings on this artifact. It displays a· sharp point which could be useful for piercing hides or for use in basketry.

    At low (3X) magnification, this artifact replicates what was seen macroscopically- no obvious manufacturing marks or wear use markings are evident; there is a natural crack near the blunt end of the artifact which runs parallel to the length axis. It is possible, but speculative, that this crack was created during the initial splitting of this bone. At higher magnification (30-SOX), possible wear marks are seen although these markings are more than likely natural bone marks, and not attributed to use; additionally, there may be weak, shallow striations along the side face of this artifact, but again, this is likely speculative. The tip of this artifact is very sharp and beveled.

    The lack of striations or markings on this artifact are a bit of an enigma, in that the bone is very sharp at one end, and has been shaped and beveled to appear as an awl of some type. The angled portion of the artifact beneath the blade suggests it was also used to scrape. Given that all of these artifacts were obtained from Room F, which is interpreted to be a work area for the preparation of meat & hide, the shape and sharpness of A66a would fit in.... a useful tool to both pierce hide and to possible scrape meat from bones (but why not a scapula?). Megascopic bone typology from class room exercise is confirmed by microscopic analysis: awls made on rib bones. Further analysis of this artifact could involve some sort of residue/ chemical analysis to determine for the presence of hide or meat. Because there seems to be no association with plant preparation or basketry at this site, it is more than likely this instrument was used in preparation of meat and hides. 

  • Object A117
    awl object a117

    This bone artifact is best described as an awl, measuring approximately 54mm X 7 mm. The awl has a relatively blunt 'use' end, with a sharpened opposite end. The artifact is four-sided, and the tip end is relatively smooth and polished. Hamblin (1989) describes this artifact as coming from some sort of large mammal, in this case either a deer or bison. 

    There is macroscopic evidence of wear use markings and polishing on this artifact. It clearly has been used extensively, hence shows wear rank of 5. It displays a blunt point which could have been used primarily to pierce hides for stitching, etc. The 7mm width of this tool would make a properly-sized hole for laces, etc, to shape and tie the hide into useful clothing. There is a crack perpendicular to the length axis where a matching piece was glued to the artifact. The artifact had clearly been cracked and repaired but it is not known if the pieces were found separately or if the break occurred at a later point in time.

    At low magnification, this artifact displays obvious striations, although the striations near the tip are not as obvious as they are at high magnification. At higher magnification (30X), there are easily observable striations. Situated behind a 2mm tip (fairly blunt), the somewhat shallow striations are ubiquitous, trending at an acute angle to the perpendicular (15-40 degrees). These striations continue toward the blunt end of the artifact, where striations trending at 15 deg become subordinate to the 40 degree striations. They measure 1-2mm in length and appear to be fairly deep. It should be noted that the striations continue along a side-face of the artifact, where they measure 47-80 degrees from the perpendicular to that face.

    At approximately 28 mm from the tip, the striations cease, and the finish looks more polished. The blunt end displays some degree of beveling/smooth edging. Megascopic bone typology seems more in doubt on this artifact, that it is some sort of punch rather than a possible patterned pressure flaker made on rib bone. Wear marks I striations would support the former.

    The striations record a twisting motion while using the artifact as an awl, such that the user inserted the awl with a twisting motion, or did the same upon withdrawal of the awl. The twisting motion causes the angle of the striations to change during twisting. Additionally, this artifact shows a moderate degree of use, which either speaks to the effectiveness of the awl's design, and I or the user's fondness of it. It is likely that this artifact was used to produce holes in hides. Megascopic bone typology seems more in doubt on this artifact, that it is some sort of punch rather than a possible patterned pressure flaker made on rib bone. Wear marks I striations would support the former.

  • Object A149
    awl object a169a

    Bone tool labeled A149 presents many striations that follow the length of the tool and vertical and diagonal striations in select places. The intense amount and pattern of the damage on tool A149 suggests it was once used as an awl. An awl is utilized to pierce holes in material like leather. The horizontal striations covering the length of the tool are evidence for piercing through material. The many vertical striations located at the thinnest and sharpest end suggest consistent twisting to expand the hole at that location. At 7.721 mm, a significant amount of diagonal markings are existent suggesting a constant rotation of the tool at that point. The entirety of the bone tool is marked by these horizontal vertical and diagonal patterns proposing this tool was utilized very often for piercing holes.


  • Bone Beads

    Just like the present day, jewelry and body decorations were a common occurrence among the Apishapa people. At the Snake Blakeslee site in southwest Colorado, inhabitants wore beads and shells on necklaces and bracelets. Many cultures around the world possessed bone beads.

    Many prehistoric beads were made of seashell, eggshell, teeth, and stone, but as time progressed, people learned that bird bones were the perfect material for jewelry and ornaments. A handful of bone beads were found during the excavation of the Juniper House of Mesa Verde in Colorado, which was occupied from 600 to 1300 AD. These beads were also made from bird bones and a few were made from hollow rabbit bones. The people who occupied Mesa Verde and Snake Blakeslee were both aware that beads could be easily made from the hollow bones of birds and smaller animals.

    The techniques of creating a bone bead varied from culture to culture, and the artwork on the beads varied as well. The beads made by the Apishapa people were from the bones of birds or small mammals. Birds possessed the preferred bones to make beads because their bones are hollow and light. The artwork joined other beads and shells on a necklace. The Apishapa people collected many bones from different animals. If the bones were from a small mammal, he/she hollowed them in order for string to run through the center. Apishapa people painted and decorated the beads they wore. The large quantities of beads uncovered at the sight gives insight into their cultural importance to the Apishapa people.

    The Apishapa people, who left behind artifacts such as bone tools, raw bone, stone tools, and ceramics, occupied the site from 1100 to 1450 AD. Beads are precious prehistoric items that can be easily made from bird bones because they are naturally hollow. Only subtle polishing of the bird bone may be necessary depending on the way it is used. Bone is strong, flexible, and can be easily sharpened to create the ideal tool. For thousands of years, beads have been a part of societies to represent wealth.

    After the creation of bone beads, the world evolved and people created beads from other materials. Following bone, metal beads surfaced, and then plastic beads appeared and are still present in the modern world. The worldwide usage of beads, since their creation, shows the importance of beauty and appearance to humans, revealing a commonality between all cultures, past and present.

    OBJECT A433

  • Object A433
    bone bead a433

    Artifact 433 measured 4.7 cm long and .5 cm wide. There was no angle on this tool and it weighed 1.6 grams. This tool was ranked a 5 on the use wear scale because it had striations visible to the naked eye and one end of this tool appeared to be slightly chipped. I think this tool was made from a rabbit metatarsal or fibula and was used as a bead or tube of some sorts. This is because this bone tool was hollow.

    One end is slightly broken. Slight long, vertical striations and very short horizontal striations were found on the tool. Because this bone is hollow, but not extremely small, it's likely from a rabbit. Using the measuring tool, the width is 5.5 mm in the middle of the bone.

    This Snake Blakeslee was a bone bead. It measures 4.7cm long and .5cm wide. One end is cleanly cut, polished and rounded, while the opposite end shows evidence of cutting, but is rough and damaged. The bead shows some polishing, but is not highly finished off. Few angular striations can be seen on along the edges of the bead, although they are not prevalent. These could have occurred during the manufacturing process, or are due to friction when the bead moved in a rolling motion once it was strung. The use wear is intermediate, and due to the unrefined nature of its manufacture, it could be concluded that the bead was not of very high value. The bead indicates that items for purely decorative reasons were manufactured, which could tell us that the inhabitants of Snake Blakeslee placed some importance on appearance and presentation.

  • Object A434A
    bone bead a434

    The first artifact examined was A434a, which appeared to be a bone bead. Based off of preliminary findings it was guessed that the tool was made from a bone found in a bird's wing. When examined under a digital microscope not many identifying striations were found. There was one crack, shown in Figure 1, which is presumed to be from age and not from being used. Based on the shape and gap through the middle of the bone the hypothesis that the tool is a bead seems to be one worth noting.

  • Object A236D
    bone bead a236d

    This is a bone bead artifact, derived from either a bird wing bone (Dr Mark Mitchell) or some sort of long bone shaft, as interpreted by Hamblin (1989). The tip end is fairly sharp, probably beveled, while the blunt end is smoothed, and has an associated hole near it to accommodate some sort of thread for use as a neckless. The entire bead is polished. 

    There is little or no macroscopic evidence of wear use markings or polishing on this artifact. It clearly has been used extensively, hence shows wear rank of 5. It displays a very sharp point which could have been used for piercing.

    At high magnification, the bone tube tip is very sharp, tapering to - 0.8 mm. The edges leading to the tip appear beveled and smooth. A side view approximately mid length shows a couple of shallow (and questionable) striations which measure 2-15 mm in length, and parallel the long axis of the tube. Finally, the blunt end shows no or very limited beveling, as well as a very small drill hole approximately 6 mm from the blunt end. 

    The extensive polish, with the presence of a small hole, suggests this bone bead may have been used primarily as a necklace decoration. Additionally, it would have an additional use of piercing hide or the like, as it has a very sharp tip. Perhaps it was used as a toothpick or a fingernail cleaner! Megascopic bone typology suggested that this is a bone tube or weaving tool; lack of striations suggest it is a bone tube used more for decoration.

  • Object A427B
    bone bead a427b

    Bone is cylindrical and hollow; was likely a bead of some sort. Overall both sides are smooth, with bits of discoloration. On one rim, sides are uneven, one slanting downwards into the hollowed out interior. Likewise, the other tip is uneven, appearing almost jagged, as though either broken or perhaps shaped unevenly.

  • Object A236F
    bone bead a236f

    Bone tool labeled A236f displays a multitude of striations on one side of the tool and evidence of polish leading to the belief it was utilized for embellishment. The small and hollow bone tool could be nothing more than a bead for decoration. Most likely the bone of a bird as there are not enough markings to suggest a bigger bone was reduced to the size of 3.2cm and hollowed out. The markings present are on one side that was formed into a square shape and then polished. The other end presents no striations or alterations to the overall shape of the bead.

  • Object A222
    bone bead a222

    A222 is short, small, and hollow so it's determined to be some kind of decorative bead that came from a bird. There was one long deep striation that ran through the entire bead, but also stemmed off into smaller striations in a few places. Along with this one main striation, there were multiple other deep striations that ran parallel. This was all able to be seen with the naked eye and the hand lens. Through further examination under the microscope, it was reveled that there were even more striations that ran horizontal with the object. This shows that at some point during it's use the bead was also used in a horizontal motion, much like A236b. It also appears that on one end a piece has been broken off. The deep main striation runs directly to the missing piece so it appears that the crack was so severe that it was able to take off a piece of the bead. There also appeared to be a bit of discoloring that could be seen with the naked eye, but clearer under the microscope. This could have been because it was dipped or dropped in something, but could also just be dirt. This artifact was given a 10 for use wear because of the one very deep striation and the multiple smaller striations that all ran parallel to it.


  • Bone Artifacts

    The earliest bone artifacts were found 80,000 to 90,000 years ago in central Africa mainly used as a tool to dig through termite mounds. Bone tools are part of the reductive industry, manufactured by removing pieces of a bone until it becomes the desired shape.

  • Object A449
    bone artifact a449

    On one side, bone is riddled with crevices. The other side is smooth with hardly any signs of wear. Edges both appear to have been broken at specific angle, as the ends are slanted forming a parallelogram shape. The tip on one side is particularly jagged, while the other end appears to be chipped; again, evidence of breakage. Tool was not likely an awl. Unclear what use was, though no evidence of striations.

    What animal do you think this comes from? This is a piece of bone that is from a rib of a deer. Found in 1949 in Southeastern Colorado, this bone dates back to roughly 1100 to 1450 AD. The people who lived in the region at this time (called the Apishapa) frequently used animal bones to create useful tools. This readily material was important because it is strong, flexible, and can be sharpened easily. These characteristics likely made it easier for the Apishapa's daily tasks such as hide-work, sewing, and weaving. In fact today some people still prefer using bone tools instead of tools made out of plastic, stone or metal.

    Though researchers do not know exactly how the Apishapa lived, the most common belief is that they were hunters and gatherers who occasionally farmed or traded for other materials they needed. Other researchers believe they were farmers because they lived near canyons that provided consistent access to water. Diverse vegetation grew naturally there, so experts believe the soil could have supported farming as a major source of food. What do you think this tool was used for? Experts don't know for sure. Do you think this bone tool helped the Apaishapa cut animal hides or do you think it was used to prepare grains and plant based foods?

  • Object A368
    bone artifact a368

    From preliminary observations it was determined that the tool seemed to be taken from a bison's humorous. Not much else was identified because it appeared to look like a scrap piece of bone that had one edge with divots in it. The data collected from looking through the digital microscope provided further insight into the possible use of the bone. A majority of the bone appeared as though it had not been manipulated except for the smaller more pointed edge.

    On the backside of this area there was a large divot that appeared as though the bone had possibly been broken at that point. When looking at the upper most edge of the bone it looks as though there were percussion markings that do not appear as though they were naturally part of the bone. Strangely, there were some diagonal striations at the further most inner end of the bone. It could have been possible the bottom of the bone was scraped on something at the time of production. The data seemed to support the idea that this was a scrap piece of bone that had been slightly manipulated, but not put into use.

  • Object A310A
    bone artifact a310a

    A310a measured 4.9cm long and .8cm wide. Using the measuring tool, the width of this bone is 8.7 mm wide. There was no angle on this tool and it weighed 2.4 grams. This tool was ranked a 10 on the use wear scale because it appears to be broken and it also has many visible striations on it. This tool was likely made from a deer rib and was used as awl or a pressure flaker. It has severe traces of use wear, most of which is visible with the naked eye. The artifact has an angular break on one end, and the unbroken end of the tool shows evidence of rounding. Different types of deep striations can be found along the artifact; specifically, striations parallel to the axis of the bone can be seen near the intact end, whereas angular striations are present along the mid portion of the bone. The most pronounced striations however, are perpendicular in nature and can be seen near the broken end. These patterns indicate that this tool was being frequently and intensely used in a forward-backward and twisting motion. Due to its broken nature, it is hard to infer its use, but the bone could have very likely been used as a tool handle. Due to the nature of artifacts found at Snake Blakeslee, it could also be inferred that the tool was used as a type of awl, or even a pressure flaker.

  • Object A232
    bone artifact a232

    This artifact is interpreted as a split rib implement by Hamblin (1989). Derived from a bison, it measures 59mm X 22mm wide. The tip is quite sharp, and the shape 'rounds out' near the blunt end of the implement. There is an apparent 'notch' at the tip end which separates a 'lower' very sharp tip from an upper, more rounded / recessed tip. This geometry may be a result of how the rib was initially cracked to be shaped (natural crack) or may be a result of an intended geometry by the manufacturer.

    There is little evidence of striations or wear marks on any face of this artifact, with the exception of a couple of possible striations seen in the photo. The tool is very rough surfaced, perhaps because much of the interior face of the rib is exposed. There is a large crack which has been repaired, likely after excavation.

    The geometry exposes a considerable portion of the bone's interior. The aforementioned crack is shown clearly, and occurs ~27 mm from the tip. The exterior surface shows short, natural black lineations related to the bone grain; there are a couple of superposed striations, 5.4 and 6.9 mm in length, which trend at about 17 degrees to the perpendicular. These may or may not be wear marks; it is possible they have been scratched during transport, etc. Finally, the image displays an area near the blunt end, exterior face, which may have been purposely beveled. The blunt end has been smoothed.

    This is an awl or combination awl/ scraper displaying one end as a fairly sharp point, and the other end being moderately rounded. The unusual features notching and beveling seen on this artifact suggest it may have had some sort of 'special' use, perhaps as both a scraper and an awl. It is also clear that both ends of this implement have been used as some sort of tool. The lack of striations suggests this may have been used primarily as a scraper, rather than an awl. Megascopic bone typology suggested that this is a metastarsal flesher, but microscopic analysis suggests this tool was used more as a scraper.

  • Object A298A
    bone artifact a298a

    Tool is approximately 4 inches long and nearly half an inch wide. Along hollowed side, tip is diagonal, sharper on one end like a slope. Striations appear along sides of bone close to tip in the same slanted pattern as Artifact A382. Midway up the tool, striations change from slanted to parallel.

    Along smoother flat side, striations appear close to tip and continue in different patterns along the back of the bone. Striations are also evident at the end of the bone, opposite the tip where one may have held the tool. Perhaps the tool was broken at this point and the striations indicate that this is not the actual end of the tool where it was held. 

  • Object A169
    bone artifact a169

    This is an example of a pressure flaking tool that was found at the prehistoric site of Snake Blakeslee in present day Southeastern Colorado. The Apishapa people occupied the site between 1100 and 1450 AD, leaving bone and stone tools, raw bone and ceramics behind for archaeologists to excavate in 1949. Pressure flaking tools are typically made from the ribs of deer, bison, and other animals.

    This bone tool from Snake Blakeslee, now carefully stored in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Denver, was once used to press forcefully against the edges of stone arrowheads or knives to create groove-like patterns. Pressure flaking tools create sharp edges on stone tools that allow for clean cutting of hides, meat, and other materials. Bones were the preferred tools for many tasks because of their lighter and less brittle features and ability to easily alter stone shape.

    Bone tool labeled A169 presents markings throughout the length of the tool. The striations are heavily located around the perimeter or edges of the piece. The rounding of the tip and edges along with the curvature of the tool suggests it was utilized as a pressure flaking tool. The large amounts of use wear around the edges suggest the tool was receiving vast quantities of pressure in those areas. The diagonal and vertical markings existent also suggest this. The tool does not present many horizontal striations suggesting the majority of the damage happened on the perimeter of the tool.

  • Object A236
    bone artifact a236

    For A236b, the microscope showed multiple deep striations on the underside of the tool, while the opposite side was much more smooth with less deep lines throughout. This along with the fact that the handle had been broken off and that the working end has become dull show that this tool was used quite often and strenuously. The striations along the center of the tool show that the tool was used in a horizontal motion parallel to the tool. Also, the striations on the underside of the tool are deep and show a horizontal pattern. Along with this evidence, there was also some discoloring on the underside of the tool. This could have been from hunting and could be animal blood. On the nonworking underside of the tool, the striations were deepest towards the center of the tool. This could show that for whatever motion it was being used for, it happened mostly in the center. When examining this artifact just with the hand lens I awarded it a nine. Even without the microscope it was very clear that this tool had been used frequently.

    The once working end of the tool appears to have been broken off in some way, while the other end was at one time a joint. Artifact A236a was also somehow split in half, making it not very flat. These things were all clear just by first looking at the artifact with the naked eye. The working end did not show many striations but as you move towards the center, more begin to appear. There are still not many but they all appear to be running horizontally with the tool while one prominent one runs vertically. There is a lot of discoloring though, especially towards the joint. It seems most likely that this is just a consequence of time because the color is mostly black and spotty. Although the striations run horizontally to show the motion in which the tool was used, they are not very deep. The tool was probably not used very frequently. This led us to give the tool a 5 in use wear.