Bone Working

Native Americans living in North America prior to European contact made tools out of sticks, stones and bones.  This past December, I took a workshop with  to learn from Eddie and Julie about bone tools.  I find bone so often in the woodlands that I thought it would be interesting to learn about the possibilities it offers.  We had the chance to make a few different tools including fish hooks from deer toe bones, a knife from a leg bone and needles and gouge hooks from bone slivers left behind.  I even began to make an arrow point from a thick piece of bone.  The time it takes to abrade bone on stone would keep primitive man quite busy. Fortunately for us we also had the chance to try using some modern files to speed up the process.  Next time I’m sitting around the campfire I’ll always have this skill to improve on.

Bone Tools.

Clockwise from top left: Deer Toe Bone abraded into a fishing hook, gauge hook from bone fragment, deer leg bone knife, deer nasal bone fish hook, two bone arrow point varieties.


To see a video tour of deer skeleton 101 and the possible uses of different bones check out this Living History School video:



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