This chisled chert stone hoe was used by the Great Plains Native Americans, otherwise known as Plain Indians to hunt for food. The tool technology of the Early Archaic was similar to that of the Clovis people but instead of fluted points, distinctive notched spear points were used.
Stone tools particularly projectile points and scrapers, are the primary evidence of the earliest human activity in the Americas. Crafted lithic flaked tools are used by archaeologists and anthropologists to classify cultural periods. Archaeological evidence indicates that Chicago's first people arrived around 12,000 years ago, during the last ice age. Known as Paleo-Indians, they lived in small, nomadic groups, hunting wild game such as mastodon and caribou with a chert hoe such as this one. When the ice receded, a new way of life emerged known as the Archaic Period. While people continued to hunt, they also grew crops, established semi-permanent villages, and developed trading networks throughout the region. The Archaic Period lasted about 7,000 years and was followed by the Woodland, Mississippian, and Late Prehistoric periods. Native Americans eventually lived over vast areas of land, including the Great Plains. Around 1600 A.D., the Miami and Illinois tribes arrived from the eastern woodlands. They lived in small villages near fresh-water streams and built dome-shaped homes known as wigwams. Like their ancient ancestors, they fished, hunted wild game, grew crops, and used Chicago waterways to trade with neighboring tribes.