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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Axes and Celts

January 27, 2016

Axes and celtsAxes and celts were used to cut down and shape the wood for houses, as well as many other purposes. Experiments with use of both steel and stone axes indicate that both will cut down a tree, but the stone axe does require more time and effort. Axes and celts were made from pecking and grinding materials such as granite or basalt. The oldest axes (Middle Archaic period) have a groove extending all around the axe haft area. More recent axes (Late Archaic period) have a groove that extends one-half to three-quarters of the way around the haft. The youngest celts (Oneota) have no groove and are usually much smaller.  Pictured from left to right: fully-grooved axe, three-quarter grooved axe, and two celts.