WHEN early pueblo men made a trip outside the village, they kept a sharp lookout for choice pieces of stone, their tool material. An alert man might return loaded with selected stones as a modern man brings purchases from the store. Among them would be glasslike chert and jasper for arrowheads; slivers of quartz for knives; heavy diorite for hammers; slabs of sandstone for smoothing the surface of wood. These had to be chipped and shaped into the tools which would make his weapons and much of the household equipment. Each man made his own supply or, at least, had a relative in the house who could make it. He kept desirable stones in his storage room, awaiting the winter days when there would be time for such work.
The tool maker sat down out of doors, where he could get a tough, flat stone to pound on, and plenty of sand for rubbing. He had a jar of water at his side, a round, smooth stone to hammer with, a strip of buckskin to protect his hand while working and, perhaps, a sliver of bone to be used in prying flakes from a stone edge. Few men can do this work now, for pueblo people have had metal for two hundred and fifty years. Still, they have heard about the process and we can make a list of the old stone tools from their memories, from pictures, and from articles dug up in the ruins.
Making stone tools was men's work for it was one of the pueblo rules that a person made the articles he used. Women made their stone-grinding slabs and their piki ovens, even though their husbands might bring the stones home for them. Men made the hammers, knives, and arrows which they would use in skin and woodwork. There were two main kinds of stone tools: those for hammering or striking and those for cutting. The striking tools were made out of heavy stone that did not split easily, like granite or diorite. The toolmaker had been careful to choose lumps of about the size he would need and he chipped these roughly into shape by hammering with another stone. Then came the tiresome business of shaping and polishing. He sprinkled the flat stone at his feet with sand, wet the stone tool, and then rubbed it patiently to and fro, round and round, until it was well shaped and smooth. He could even grind it to a sharp edge, as a farmer grinds a knife with water and whetstone.
The picture shows an axe and a maul or heavy hammer which were shaped in this way. Both have grooves around the top where wooden handles could be tied on. The handle was generally a stick of hard, green wood, split at the top. The two parts of the split section fitted along the groove at each side of the axe head and then were tied together with a leather thong or strips of yucca. It does not sound like a powerful tool, yet pueblo men cut down trees (though small ones) and built their roofs with these axes and mauls. At that, they were far ahead of many Indians in the country, for instance those in California, who had no axe at all. You can tell a pueblo axe or maul because the groove goes all the way around the head. Indians further south, in Arizona, made their grooves only three quarters of the way around, and, when the diggers find one of these three quarter axes in the north, they see a picture of early trading and travelling. (Plate V-l)
Plate V-l. Stone ax and maul.
The cutting tools were made of stone which splits easily, like chert, jasper, quartz, chalcedony or the black, volcanic glass, obsidian. For these the toolmaker again cracked his fragment into shape. These brittle stones always break with a sharp, jagged edge and he sharpened the edge still further. He took a sliver of bone and pressed its point against the stone, near the edge, tapping it lightly until a tiny flake of stone flew off. When a row of these flakes were forced off, close together, they produced an edge which was very faintly scalloped. This was what the ancient pueblo people used for a knife. Usually they made it in triangular shape, like an arrowhead but about three inches long. They chipped small notches at the base of the triangle, so that handle could be tied on about as an arrow shaft is tied. This knife would do to skin an animal or to take off an enemy's scalp. It would even cut hair and cut out a moccasin pattern but it is no wonder they did not tailor cotton garments with it.
Other cutting tools were arrow points: slender, notched triangles like the knife only half as large. There was also an awl, a longer and slenderer point, triangular in cross section. This was used to make holes in buckskin so that it could be tied together with leather thongs, the substitute for sewing. A heavy stone point, about a foot long was broken and sharpened very roughly. This was the pick to be used in breaking out stone.
Next after stone tools came those made of bone and wood. Men carefully saved the bones of a deer, just as they saved its skin and sinew, for deer bones made excellent tools, with very little shaping. Splinters of bone, with their long sharp ends, made good awls. They were used in basketry and for making holes in buckskin so that it could be tied together with thongs, the old pueblo substitute for sewing. A few even had eyes pierced in them, so that they could be used as needles. A section of deerhorn, eight or ten inches long, was cut off straight across the tip and sharpened for use as a chisel. A long, curved section had its tip sharpened into a point so that it formed a pick. This was the implement used to hack out stone in the early turquoise mines.
Deerhorn was generally smooth and polished on slabs of the fine sandstone so abundant in pueblo country. This was useful on wood, too, and men kept a selection of slabs, of different sizes, in their storerooms.
In the course of other chapters, we have already mentioned such wooden implements as the firedrill and weaving tools. Later we shall come upon wood used in the cradle board and the scraping stick. All these were roughly shaped with the stone knife and then rubbed smooth with sandstone. But the most important wooden tool made by any man was his bow.