Missouri Indian Artifacts

Are you interested in learning about the history of Missouri Indians through artifacts? Do you want to learn about the use of Missouri Indian artifacts? Read our guide for more facts and information…

The population of Missouri Indians is documented to have existed for at least 4000 years; however, over this time European settlement in the area has forced the Indians to relocate which has diminished the population. In Missouri many Indians were originally forced into the state as European settlement extended westward and the Indians were forced from the East. In 1803, however, legislation was passed that again forced much of this relocated population to again move westward. The population of Missouri Indians gained historic prominence in European history as they were the settlements visited and documented by the Lewis and Clark expedition. Many different tribes were represented in Missouri with large settlements near the Missouri river including populations of Sioux, Caddo, Dakota, Delaware, Foxes, Illinois, Iowa, Kickapoo, Missouri, Sauk, and Shawnee Indians. The population of Indians in Missouri was not only depleted due to European settlement but also due to wars between the various tribes.


Arrowheads are a common artifact in Missouri as they are in many other states. In Missouri, however, the artifact offers insight into the evolution of the arrowhead. The earliest arrowhead artifacts found in Missouri are leaf shaped and more rounded than traditionally thought of and are believed to have been created at the beginning of native settlement in the area. The artifacts are then seen to evolve into serrated blades and then to the traditional pointed design about 1500 years ago. The artifacts are typically small, light and thin in form. The fact that arrowheads exist as artifacts is indicative of the Indian population using the bow and arrow method of hunting.

Stone Tools

Stone was an easily accessible material to construct tools from, albeit requiring more processing time to create. As a result of stone being highly durable many artifacts today are stone axes. The stone axes are typically attached to a wooden handle. The stone ax was the main chopping tool to the Indian populations of Missouri. The artifact was not only used for wood chopping, but also in war situations or a more decorated version may have been used in ceremonies. The artifacts discovered in Missouri typically feature notched blades as well.

The material of stone was not only used to create axes but also many other tools used in Indian life. Artifacts that have been discovered include stone hoes and spades that were likely used in gardening, and perhaps may have been used as makeshift weapons in times of war. The stone used to create these tools was typically a coarse grained stone such as granite. The tools were made through extensive work as the artifacts required grinding, pecking and polishing to create. Another common Indian artifact made of stone is the mortar and pestle which would have been used in cooking as well as medicinal practices.

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