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Etley point Etley point, Airport site, Sangamon County.

This four-thousand-year-old projectile point is nearly one foot long. A point of this size was not likely an effective tool for deer hunting. However, it may have been a powerful symbol used in rituals to ensure a successful hunt.

Special artifacts found with a few Archaic burials indicate that some individuals had attained importance in the group. Artifacts included finely made axes, spearheads, and atlatl weights of polished stone made in a variety of shapes.

Wadlow point Wadlow point, Airport site, Sangamon County.

During the later stages of the Archaic period, Native Americans in Illinois changed the way they treated the remains of someone who died. Instead of burying them in unmarked graves as they had done for thousands of years, Late Archaic people began marking graves with mounds of earth. Mounds soon became cemeteries with numerous graves. As the number of graves increased, so too did the size of the mound. Late Archaic people also placed unusual objects with the remains of the dead. These objects probably related to the accomplishments of the person.

Late in the Archaic, people developed more elaborate burial ritual. Artifacts were made from copper, marine shell, and high-quality chert obtained from outside the region. In some instances, red ochre-ground hematite, an iron-rich stone-was sprinkled over the human remains and artifacts.

The use of red ochre, dark-colored stone for turkey tail blades, and white shell and flint, suggests the ritual significance of color.

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