Artifact of the Week: Bone Awls

The people of the Late Prehistoric Tradition used bone awls to make holes in leather for clothing and in basketmaking. They made most bone awls from the delicate leg bones of deer sharpened to a point.

Technologically, the people of the Late Prehsitoric Tradition were very sophisticated. They managed the land using fire to encourage the growth of food plants. Acorns were the single most important food source so oak groves were carefully tended. However, they also used seeds from grasses, manzanita, sage, sunflower, lemonadeberry, chia, and wild greens and fruits.

Hunting implements included the bow and arrow, curved throwing sticks, traps, nets, and snares. They hunted large game, such as deer, mountain sheep, and antelope but also relied on rabbits, squirrels, woodrats, and birds. Shell and bone fishhooks and nets were used for fishing. Their descendants, the Kumeyaay, had boats made of tule reeds and wood, which were used for offshore fishing.

Date: Late Prehistoric Tradition (3,000 ya – 300 ya)
Material Class: Lithics – Ground Stone

Want to learn more? Visit the exhibit By Land and By Sea currently on view at the Center.