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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Bison Scapula Hoe

March 8, 2016

Bison scapula hoeBison were always important on the Great Plains. During the late Precontact period, Oneota people east of the Mississippi traveled west to hunt bison during the winter, for both food and hides. They brought the shoulder blades (scapulae) back to La Crosse to use as hoes in their fields. The scapula was attached to a wooden handle with sinew, like the modern experimental hoe in the picture. As the hoes were used, the blades developed characteristic wear and polish. (Oneota, La Crosse County)