Indian Artifacts

Indian artifacts help us learn about the past - The world of archaeology and Native American history are closely related, but this wasn't always the case. In 1848 two historians by the name of Ephraim G. Squier and Edwin H. Davis published a book entitled Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley. The book discussed several ancient mounds, including Great Mound located in Marietta, Ohio. The two men claimed that these mounds were created by the work of an ancient race of man, which were long extinct. They based their decision on Indian artifacts found in the area.

By the end of the century though, a new book by Cyrus Thomas revealed that Native Americans were actually behind all of those mounds. Thomas used his archaeological background to investigate the areas in question and find artifacts that pointed to the real builders. Historians generally believe that Squier and Davis were the first men to actually uncover proof of Native American people and the artifacts they left behind.

Resources on these artifacts include:

It's difficult to identify whether artifacts were discovered prior to the work of Squier and Davis simply because of the time frame. Native American tribes were still living in the United States during the 19th century and they still exist today. Therefore it's difficult to note when the items they left behind became artifacts. Settlers during the 18th century often found tools and left behind pieces, but those things weren't necessarily referred to as artifacts.

Today the majority of Indian artifacts are found in parts of the Midwest, particularly Ohio and Indiana. Ohio had at least six tribes living there at one point including the Iroquois, while Indiana was home to a number of tribes such as the Potawatomi. These tribes lived in villages up to the end of the 18th century and left behind many things. Some of those villages have been preserved, while others are still unknown. It's fairly common to discover Indian artifacts in either of these states.

American Indian Topics