(up-dated 29/Mar./2016)  

Below are some Mill Creek Hoes made by Kinsella over the last few years. They're Mill Creek hoes because they are made from Mill Creek chert (flint) from Union Co. Illinois. Mill Creek is some of the toughest chert around and will tear your billet to shreds. It's toughness is precisely why Mississippian agriculturists prized it. If you were to use a weak chert, it would chip when used in the soil. Heat-treated chert would chip easily, so raw Mill Creek which also is found in thinner, flatter, nodules was preferred. During use, the chert becomes dull and gets a high gloss on it's surface. This glossy surface can be knapped off to make a new edge. Some removed flakes can be heat-treated and made into small arrowheads. This process can be seen occasionally, when we find arrowheads with hoe polish on them.
This notched hoe was made in 2000 from Mill Creek chert and hafted to a dogwood handle with deer rawhide. Hide glue mixed with charcoal was used.

  (Photo LK)  
Note the hafting method with the wood butting the top of the chert hoe. This was used to put less pressure on the rawhide and more on the wooden handle.

These two Mill Creek hoes were made for the Manitoba Museum, in March 2009.

Here are both sides of the original Mill Creek nodule for hoe # 1.The rough nodule weighed 6 lbs.-13 oz. and measured 20 cm. X 17.9 cm. or 7 7/8" X 7"

     Here are both sides of Hoe # 1. It measures 14.3 cm (5 5/8") long by 10.6cm. (4 1/8") wide. It weighs 1lb.-1oz. and took only about 20 minutes to manufacture.

  Here are both sides of Hoe #2. It weighed 15 oz. and measured 15.6 cm. long by 9 cm. wide.

    Here are 3 views of Hoe #2 after it was hafted. The dogwood handle measured 37.5 cm. long by 6 cm. wide, or 14 3/4" long by 2 3/8" wide. It was lashed using whitetail deer rawhide glued into place with a mixture of hide glue and charcoal.


 (Photo LK)

This is another Mill Creek hoe, sometimes called a spade. The top end, often is left with an unfinished portion to assist in the wooden hafting. The unfinished portion gives a flat spot for the chert to abutt the wood. Both notched and unnotched hoes were used to till the fertile soil of the American Bottoms. The corn and other crops produced with these tools fed thousands of people for over 200 years.

       This hoe was completed on November 1st, 2008. This is also made of Mill Creek chert but this one is the spade type.                       


(Photo LK)    (Photo LK)

Here's a spade Larry made last summer(2007). The chert (flint) spade is 7 5/8 in. long.

Hoes and spades were also made of Kaolin flint or chert.

(Photo Bill Iseminger)  (Photo Pete Bostrom)

Like most tools, hoes have a second use. Here, Larry cuts some thatch with the notched hoe. He has backed over the Big Blue Stem and holds the stems tightly in his left hand while striking with the hoe. Only 2 or 3 swings are needed to cut the clump. Larry will then lay the clump in front of him and back over the next clump to be cut. Thatch can be cut very effectively this way, using only a stone hoe.  (Photo Bill Iseminger)

Here's a short video of Larry using his notched hoe to cut big blue stem prairie grass.


(photos LK) 

  These are pictures of a Mississippian shell hoe Larry made in November 2004.

  (Photos LK) 

Another one of Larry's Mill Creek notched hoes. The stone was knapped  in 2005 and it was hafted in April 2007.


A Mississippian, Crescent Quarry Burlington, notched hoe. The handle is hackberry. The rawhide lashings have not been applied, here. Made in 2015.


Another Mississippian, Crescent Quarry Burlington, notched hoe, with the rawhide lashings in place.. The handle is also hackberry. Made in 2015.

Here, I apply the pitch, to the hoe.

Here, I demonstrate how the notched hoe can be used to cut prarie grass (Big Blue Stem)