Deer jaw sickles, bison scapula sickles and thatching needles, or grassing needles were tools of the roof thatching trade in late prehistoric times. Bone and jawbone sickles work best when used with a sawing motion instead of a swinging motion like modern metal sickles. Cut grass was tightly bundled with string and then the bundles were tied to a wooden house frame. The needle held string and was passed from the outside of the house to the inside, tied to the frame and back outside to tie on to the wood pole framework of the other bundle.

Deer Jaw Sickle

deer-jaw-sickleThe sickle cut tough, tall native grasses used in constructing thatched roofs and/or sides of houses. Just as the deer's teeth could cut food, the deer jaw sickle can saw tough prairie grass stems. Deer jaw sickles are found on archaeological site in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and other areas where tall prairie grass grew. Bound with rawhide and hide glue for a tight long lasting tool that will withstand hours of cutting.
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Bison Scapula Sickle

Bison Scapula SickleThe Bison Scapula Sickle was used to cut grass on the central plains in middle Missouri and traditional sites in the Dakotas and Iowa. These were made from very large bison scapulas (shoulder blades), probably from large bulls. These reproductions are faithful to the originals.
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Bone Thatching Needle

Bone Thatch NeedleThe thatching needle was used to tie the grass bundles to the house. Thatching needles were often made of deer or bison ribs and come in several forms. These usable recreations are made from split bison ribs like some of the originals.
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