Copper Projectile Point and Sheets 2020.002.1, 2020.002.2 & 2020.002.3

Copper occurs naturally in certain parts of the southern and western basin of Lake Superior and the Peterborough area. Indigenous peoples in those areas acquired copper nuggets from stream gravels or quarried it directly from the outcrops. The copper was annealed by heating and slowly cooling to make it softer and more ductile. It could then be shaped into tools by pounding it with stone hammers. A wide variety of utilitarian and decorative items were made this way, including the following: spear points, knives, lances, fish gaffs, fishhooks, hide scrapers, socketed axes, celts, awls, bracelets, pendants, and beads. The projectile point shown here has a tang to secure the point into a socketed dart foreshaft or spear. Sheets of copper, such as those shown here, could be used to make reed holders for panpipes or cut up and rolled to make beads. Beginning around 6,000 years ago, copper became a highly valued commodity that was traded through networks spanning all of eastern North America. While not commonly found in the Niagara Region, copper has occasionally been found in this area, sometimes as ancient grave offerings discovered accidentally.

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