Courtesy New York State Museum, Albany, New York. Alva S. Reed Collection.

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Trade Axe

Iron axes were tools commonly used by Native Americans following contact with Europeans. The shape of this axe head and its asterisk marks were typical of French trade axes of the 17th century. The two marks on the axe suggest that it is of medium size. Axes with three marks were usually larger; those with one mark were smaller. A study of trade axes from southeastern Ontario and northwestern New York Iroquoian archaeological sites dating between 1550 and 1650 determined that of nearly a dozen marks recorded, the asterisk mark was overwhelmingly the most common for the period 1600-1650. It was found on 56% of the axes from sites dating between 1630 and 1650, and was probably also common in the last half of the 17th century. This example was recovered from the vicinity of Seneca Iroquois sites (now Lima, Livingston County, New York) occupied during the early 1600s.

Date: circa 1600 - 1700 
Topic: Tools 
Materials: Iron
Dimensions: H: 3.25 in.(8.3 cm.), L: 6.25 in.(16.0 cm) 
Accession #: NYSM #A-28817

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