Copper Finds From Wisconsin

By: Anonymous

Recently, with permission I was hunting private property with my CTX 3030 and found a beautiful example of a Native American copper spear point. The site I was hunting is in SE Wisconsin in a wooded section of a picnic grove. The area I was hunting did have a Native American presence as late as the mid 1800's.


After some research I determined that it is a socketed tang point that was probably used as a spear point. From what I found it, is from the Old Copper Culture which started around 4000 BC here in Wisconsin.

Below are the details that I found on the Internet. The point I found is 4 inches long and 3/4 inches wide at its widest point.

Over the past several years I've also found several pieces of natural copper in my area. Most of the pieces came from ploughed fields and wooded areas here in SE Wisconsin. I have also attached a photo of the natural copper.

"The Old Copper Complex, also known as the Old Copper Culture, refers to the items made by early inhabitants of the Great Lakes region during a period that spans several thousand years and covers several thousand square miles.

The most conclusive evidence suggests that native copper was utilized to produce a wide variety of tools beginning in the Middle Archaic period circa 4,000 BC. The vast majority of this evidence comes from dense concentrations of Old Copper finds in eastern Wisconsin. These copper tools cover a broad range of artefact types: axes, adzes, various forms of projectile points, knives, perforators, fishhooks and harpoons.

By about 1,500 BC artefact forms began to shift from utilitarian objects to personal ornaments, which may reflect an increase in social stratification toward the Late Archaic and Early Woodland period (Pleger 2000). While copper continued to be used in North America up until European contact, it was only used in small amounts, primarily for symbolic ornaments.

Socketed Tang Point
Socketed-tang points are one of the more common projectile points produced in the Old Copper Complex. Currently there are over 300 examples. Depending on their size, these projectiles would have functioned either as spear points or atlatl dart tips.
The socket would have been hafted to a wooden shaft and likely secured with a cord wrapped around it. Some sockets have evidence of rivet holes, for better securing the projectile to the shaft with a copper pin/nail. Typically they have a ridge running along the dorsal surface, which would have added extra stability to the projectile. They range in size from a few centimeters to over 20 centimeters."

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