In recognition of Indigenous Day last week, the Botetourt History Museum is telling the story of this treasured artifact. It is an eastern full grooved stone axe about 7” long and the first type of axe. It was an essential part of a larger tool kit of ground stone tools that Native Americans began making during the Archaic period 9,000-2,700 years ago.
This axe has one end tapered for the blade and a groove all around the midsection where a split wooden handle would have been attached using animal sinew. It was used to aid in the chopping down of trees and splitting wood. As opposed to the relatively short time it took to make an arrowhead or knife blade, grooved axes and other ground stone tools were created by a time-consuming process of grinding and pecking using a harder stone. Sand or a finer grained stone was then used to polish the surface of the finished tool. The chips on the blade end show that this tool was used.
The late Joe Buhrman of Eagle Rock donated this and several Native American tools that were found around Gala. There are mounds and remnants of tribes that lived along the James River and other locations throughout Botetourt County.