Native Groups — Mississippian Tools
Mississippians were very resourceful, transforming stone, wood, and bone into a variety of tools. Often these materials were utilized in their natural form with little modification.
People have been mixing naturally occurring pigments, such as ochres and iron oxides, for thousands of years. The Mississippians were no different. A variety of pigments were used to create face and body paint, and to decorate other natural materials, such as buckskin, rawhide, bone, and wood.
The Mississippian people used a variety of stones for making hoes. The two shown here are made from Mill Creek chert, a fine-grained sedimentary rock specific to Southern Illinois. They used Mill Creek chert for other tools too, as it is extremely tough.
Mussel shells were used by the Mississippian people to create a variety of tools, including hoes, scrapers, and spoons. Shells were also shaped into gorgets (armor-like coverings worn over the throat), beads, and pendants.
Native cultures have used stone axes for a wide variety of tasks, including harvesting timber; shaping, splitting, and cutting wood; preparing food; as weapons; and for ceremonial purposes.