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A Cache of Two Iowa Slant (Wide, Square) Groove Axes

by David A. Easterla, Ph.D., Maryville, Missouri

Originally Published in the Central States Archaeological Journal, Vol.56, No.4, pg.200

Originally Published in the Central States Archaeological Journal, Vol.57, No.2, pg.71

During May, and sometime in the 1960’s, Mr. Carl Garrett was plowing a cornfield on a slop­ing hilltop (near the top) about ‘A mile from the North Raccoon River (south side), approximately two miles west of Jefferson, Greene County, Iowa, when he plowed out together (cache), two, almost identical Iowa slant (wide, square) groove axes (Figs. 1, 2, 3 and 4). The sloping hilltop was not a campsite as searching by Mr. Garrett revealed no other artifacts, chips, etc.


These two almost identical Archaic axes (6 and 61/4 inches total length) had been slight­ly used (obvious angled “chop marks”), have good patina, and are made of Marfic-like igne­ous rock of obvious glacial origin. One has a slight median ridge in the groove (of un­known function). In all probability these two axes were buried together by the same Native Ameri­can, and undoubtedly manufactured by the same individual.

Iowa slant groove axes are very stylish, rare, and unique and have a very small and limited distribution, being found primarily in southwest, central, and south central Iowa. To this author’s knowledge, this is the first published report of this axe style being found in a cache. Although we will never know the story of these two axes being bur­ied together, obviously some Native American(s?) had great pride in these axes and possessed great skills and talent in creating them.”Used by Permission of the Author”
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