Old Copper culture (American Indians Ready Reference)
Approximately 3000 b.c.e., there appeared in the region from the Great Lakes to New York State and in the St. Lawrence River valley a culture known as Lake Forest Late Archaic. Within that cultural tradition, there was a subtradition known as Old Copper. In a few areas of the world, native outcroppings of relatively pure copper occur at or near the surface of the earth. One of those areas includes the Brule River basin of northeast Wisconsin, the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan, and part of the northern shore of Lake Superior and its Isle Royale.
Approximately 3000 b.c.e., natives of that area began to exploit these natural copper resources and a wide variety of western Lake Forest peoples continued to use those resources for more than two thousand years, and even to some extent until the arrival of white fur-traders in the area after 1650 c.e. The copper was used to make a wide variety of items. These included axe and adze blades, gouges, ulus (curved blade knives), wood-splitting wedges, and many types of awls. Fishhooks and gorges, and even gaffs for landing the catch, have also been found. Most common in the early period were the socketed and tanged spearheads and arrow points and barbed harpoons of a hunting culture. Though made of a very different and usually superior material, these copper items bear a striking resemblance to the slate tools of the Lake Forest peoples. It is almost certain that the lifestyles of the groups were very...
(The entire section is 512 words.)
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