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Kansas Archeology - Archaic Period

6000 to 1 BCE

The period archeologists call the Archaic lasts from about 6,000 to 1 BCE. American Indians living during the Archaic period did not plant crops but instead gathered wild plant foods and hunted game. While they did not make pots, they made some fired clay artifacts. They made a variety of stone tools including spear points (as the bow and arrow were not yet in use), drills, chopping and scraping tools, grinding stones to crush seeds and pigments, and bone and shell beads.

Images temporarily removed from this page while our compliance with updated regulations for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is assessed.

This image is a face made of fired clay—one of the earliest fired clay artifacts in North America—from the William Young site (14MO304) in Morris County, Kansas. This item dates from about 1,200 BCE and is on display at the Kansas Museum of History.

Well-made chipped stone blades with a distinctive curve and often having a glossy polish. These artifacts are called Munkers Creek knives and were recovered from the William Young site in Morris County. Their unusual shape and glossy surface suggest that they were used to cut grass that could be used for thatch to line storage containers, or for bedding. These artifacts are found almost exclusively in the Flint Hills from sites dating from about 1,000 to 3,000 BCE. Triangular gouges (far right) also were used for woodcutting during this time.

Munkers Creek projectile points from the William Young site (14MO304), Morris County.

A variety of projectile points from the Williamson site (14CF330), Coffey County.

Photograph of a dog burial from the Williamson site (14CF330), Coffey County.

Archeological References

Entry: Kansas Archeology - Archaic Period

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2014

Date Modified: February 2024

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.