Anasazi Indian Tools

Work area at the johnson wax building, headquarters of the s.c. johnson and son co.jpg

With a proud history and a sophisticated civilization, the Anasazi people hold a special place in Native American history. They were referred to by their descendants as "the ancient ones" and were seen as the keepers and cultivators of knowledge. The Anasazi used a variety of tools and implements that they developed themselves, and their talents for crafts, building, hunting and cultivation are still appreciated today.

1 Hunting

The Anasazi's favorite hunting tools were the spear and the bow and arrow. They made these weapons using basic materials like wood and sinew. The spear dates back almost 20,000 years, but the bow and arrow have only been in use for about 1,500 years. It is constructed with the same materials as the spear but with the addition of stone for the sharp arrowhead. Snares and nets were also included in the Anasazi hunting arsenal.

2 Weaving and Sewing

The Anasazi, also known as the "basket makers," are famous among anthropologists for their basket-weaving techniques. Weaving and sewing tools were used extensively by the the Anasazi people in most facets of their everyday lives. They utilized drop spindles (a wooden shaft on a pottery disc) and looms to weave fibers made from cotton and yucca. A long, wide wooden stick called a "batten" was used to separate lines of yarn during the weaving process. Sewing needs were made from animal bones.

3 Pottery

Examples of multicolored and textured pottery from Arizona.

Although the Anasazi started to form and fire pottery later than some of their contemporaries, the results were very impressive. Besides the kiln used to fire the pottery, other tools included scrapers that they made using broken pottery bits, wood or pieces of shell. They used brushes to embellish the finished product. The black-and-white designs and gray textured pottery are still produced in the present day.

4 Cooking and Food Preparation

The Anasazi used a number of different tools for starting fires and preparing food to be cooked or eaten. For example, they spun short tapered sticks or small wooden drills in a shallow hole in another piece of wood to start a fire. A "metate," a large, flat stone, was used with a smaller stone, or "mano," to grind grains like corn. Bowls, pots and cups were made from pottery and were used to serve, store or prepare food. Tightly woven baskets were also used for this purpose.

Kristy Ambrose enjoys writing about teaching, travel and pet care. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Victoria.