What’s The Point?
What’s The Point? is a project of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) and the Ohio History Connection. It exists to help users identify flint artifacts.
Ohio has been home to people for at least 15,000 years. Beginning at the end of the Ice Age, various American Indian societies successfully occupied this area. The groups that lived here prior to around AD 1700 are usually called “prehistoric” because their accomplishments were not recorded in written documents to which we can have access today. We can learn about them through archaeology, the systematic study of the places where they lived-their “sites”-and the objects that they left behind-their artifacts. Over the past century, archaeologists have determined that some prehistoric cultures were hunters and gatherers, moving from camp to camp as the seasons changed, while others were gardeners and farmers, settling in more permanent communities supported by their crops. Some of these prehistoric cultures were quite sophisticated, developing wide-ranging trade networks, encouraging skilled artisans, and building large-scale earthen monuments that still dominate parts of our landscape.
Some of their most enduring legacies are the flint tools that the prehistoric people made. Each group developed distinctive styles for their tools, just as we today have varying styles of automobiles, clothes, etc. Thus a prehistoric flint tool’s shape and the way in which it was made often identifies the group that made it. Each prehistoric tool can help us better understand and appreciate the accomplishments of these ancient cultures. By preserving and learning more about these tools and the people who made them, we-archaeologists and private citizens alike-can enhance our links with our cultural heritage.