Axe Grinding (video)

Axe Grinding

Trees were an important resource for the people of the Archaic culture living in the woodlands. They provided materials for shelters in which to live and for dugout canoes to travel the rivers and lakes. By about 5000 B.C., Archaic people were making new types of tools to cut and shape wood. Because flint shatters when it strikes a hard object, the Indians used other types of rock to make axes, chisels, adzes, and gouges. Often, they chose water-worn rocks from stream beds.

The tool-making process involved striking one rock with another to roughly shape the object. It was then ground and polished with sandstone to form a sharp cutting edge. An axe was generally finished by grinding and polishing a groove around it so that it could be mounted on a stout wooden handle. Most of the men probably made and repaired their own tools, although some were more skilled than others. Skilled craftsmen, along with successful hunters, very likely enjoyed higher social status within their group.

Image: axe grinding.tif