Fort McCoy News Dec. 8, 2017

Fort McCoy ArtiFACT

Archaeology work has been ongoing at Fort McCoy for more than 30 years.

One artifact found during that time is a lithic "graver" that dates back to a time long before Fort McCoy existed.

The lithic gravers recovered are from pre-contact archaeological sites located on Fort McCoy property. Gravers are engraving tools manufactured from lithics (stones).


Pictured are lithic graver tools that were found during an
archaeological dig at Fort McCoy.
Photo by Colorado State
University Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands

Gravers are identified by their characteristic sharp point. The small pointed projections are created by pressure-flaking two edges at one end of a flake.

Gravers are simple lithic tools with one or more small pointed projections, spurs, or bits. They are meant specifically for soft materials as they are too delicate to use on harder materials and become worn down, or even break, after extensive use. Gravers were used to cut, score, or engrave soft materials, such as bone, shell, wood, and antler. They could also be used as perforators to punch holes in leather.

The graver has been used by different cultural periods throughout time. They have been found at Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian, and Oneota sites.

The graver is very easy to make. It is also a very versatile tool found in many lithic tool kits.

Visitors and employees are reminded they should not collect artifacts on Fort McCoy or other government lands and leave the digging to the professionals.

Any individual who excavates, removes, damages, or otherwise alters or defaces any historic or prehistoric site, artifact, or object of antiquity on Fort McCoy is in violation of federal law.

The discovery of any archaeological artifact should be reported to the Directorate of Public Works Natural Resource Branch at 608-388-4793.

   (Article prepared by Colorado State University Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands and Directorate of Public Works Natural Resources Branch.)