Abstract

Mississippian cultures left behind two types of large utilitarian bifaces: hoes and so-called woodworking tools. The former have attracted considerable scholarly attention, while the latter have not. We attempt to address this bias by focusing on a substantial number of woodworking tools from three sites in southwestern Indiana. All belong to Caborn-Welborn, a late Mississippian culture that developed at the Ohio-Wabash confluence after the decline of the Angel polity and the establishment of the “Vacant Quarter” across a large portion of the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys. In this article, we examine these specimens’ technomorphological characteristics and use-wear traces, as well as the sources of the cherts from which they were made. In addition, our study has two comparative components: First, we investigate similarities and differences between the Caborn-Welborn woodworking tools and those from both the Angel culture and other parts of the Mississippian world; second, we explore the woodworking tools in relation to hoes from both Caborn-Welborn and Angel phase sites.

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