For tens of thousands of years prior to the European invasion of North America, American Indian people made and used many different kinds of stone tools for hunting, for gathering wild plants, and for processing foods. For the past two centuries or so, non-Indian collectors have been gathering Indian artifacts and displaying them in cabinets of curiosity without much concern for the story they might tell about American Indians. Once artifacts are taken out of their archaeological context, their ability to tell a story about the past is diminished. The Sherman County Historical Museum in Moro, Oregon, has a collection of Indian artifacts.
Shown above are some beads and other items of personal adornment. The largest of the beads shown above is about the size of an American quarter. The beads were shaped and the holes drilled in them using stone tools. The antiquity of American Indians living in North America is seen by the association of Indian artifacts with extinct mammals such as the mammoth. Shown above are awls, gravers, and drills. A closer view of the stone scrapers which were used in defleshing hides. Stylistic dating can provide only a very rough idea of how old projectile points are. The archaeological context is needed for accurate dating. This collection of arrowheads is from a salvage archaeology project conducted along the Pacific Gas Transmission Company Pipeline. Shown above are grinding tools used in processing plant foods.