Identifying Dene Artifacts

The following webpages contain photographic and/or textual records of Dene artifacts, from the archives of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec. High-resolution colour images may be produced (by request) for more accurate appraisal and comparison of similar items observed in situ, or in local collections.

We have also referenced descriptions of these items from our Barrenlands website, and provided the following series of links. Artifact examples are identified as Chipewyan or their ancestral group Taltheilei (Late Period), of the northern Dene people.


1 Chithos
2 Split-metapodial Beamers & Fleshers
3 Basalt Wedges for splitting bone, antler & wood
4 Basalt & quartzite Pushplanes
5 Ground basalt Adzes, Axes, Chisels & Picks
6 Bar Whetstones & quartzite Hammerstones
7 Side-notched Arrowheads - some unifacial
8 Crude asymmetric Arrowheads, Biface Knives & Scrapers - some serrated & spurred - with cortex
9 Paired arrow & lance sandstone semi-tubular Shaft Smoothers
10 Quartzite Spokeshaves for shaping
11 Antler heavily used in Handles, sinew-backed Bows, etc.
12 Birchbark in Containers, Pithouses & Brush Wickiups
13 Wood in Skin Stretchers, Handles, Tipi Poles, etc.
14 Flake scatters
15 Bone or pounded copper Awls, Gravers, Spatulas, Lanceheads, Needles & Beads
16 Horizontally aimed Bow for close encounter stealth hunting or warfare
17 Distinct seasonal differences in toolkits. Winter tools always smaller than summer of same type

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