Although survival of bone tools is not common at Early Woodland sites, archaeologists know which kinds of tools were used based on the few well-preserved finds that have been made. Tools like these would have been used for a variety of purposes.
The sharp, tapering, long bones are awls, which were used used to pierce holes for hideworking, create incised decoration on ceramics, or assist in basketweaving.
Beamers are animal long bones that have been cut and hollowed to create two sharp, parallel edges. The tool was used to scrape flesh and fat off of animal hides while they were spread over a rounded surface, such as a log or a hideworker’s thigh.
Turtle shells were commonly used as cups or bowls. They were prepared by carefully smoothing and polishing the interior of the shell, and cutting and polishing the edge.
Early Woodland people used bone as well as stone to make projectile points for hunting. Deer phalanges (toe bones) and antler tips were commonly sharpened and used as points. Bone projectile points would have been advantageous over stone points because they were far lighter. In coastal situations, shark teeth were also used as projectile points. The shark teeth shown here are fossil examples, and may have been used as tools or kept as special tokens.