Take a look in a native tackle box

Object of the Month: 05/2018

What is it?:

Fishing hook (left) and lureFishing gear
Fishing gearCourtesy SMM


Origin:

Silvernale site, Goodhue County (left) and Sheffield site, Washington County


Age: 500-900 years old
What is it made of?:

hook: bird bone lure: mussel shell


Accession #: A2017:1:792:1 & 2354:63:9

Wetting a line: Artist's depiction of how native people may have fished.
Wetting a line: Artist's depiction of how native people may have fished.Courtesy SMM
As the calendar turns to May, many Minnesotans are gearing up for fishing season. It’s nothing new, people living in these parts have been preparing to fish for at least 1,000 years.

The little hook you see on the left was carved from bird bone. It was found by the Silvernale settlement village site near Red Wing in a small pit at the village containing ceramic pottery fragments and stone tools.  

Spearing on the ice
Spearing on the iceCourtesy SMM
The white lure on the left was used for ice fishing. Carved from a mussel shell to look like a fish, it was used to attract fish to be speared. Museum archaeologists found it at the Sheffield site in the St. Croix River valley.