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The Most Famous Native American Fossils & Artifacts

The Most Famous Native American Fossils & Artifacts

The Most Famous Native American Fossils & Artifacts

For time immemorial, Native American communities have collected fossils and this connection remains intact today. Ancient artifacts show that Native Americans made great use of fossils, creating necklaces out of fossilized shark teeth and carving exquisite effigies onto larger fossils. Other famous artifacts belonging to the Native American community include ancient textiles, such as a butterfly banner that dates all the way back to 4800 BC. You may also be familiar with famous examples of Native American artifacts, such as the expertly crafted horse effigy made by a Teton Sioux artist. Weapons are also among the most famous Native American artifacts on display across the world’s museums, with the most recognized being the single-handed axe called a tomahawk. However, ancient people used these not just as weapons but as useful general-purpose tools.

Museums to visit

If you wish to view the most famous Native American fossils and artifacts on display to the public, you should put the National Museum of the American Indian at the top of your list. This museum hosts one of the biggest collections of Native American artifacts worldwide and spans an impressive 12,000 years of history.

Smaller museums that are still well worth a visit include the Six Nations Indian Museum in Onchiota and the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

Artifacts that provide a window to another world

Well-preserved clothing showcases the craftsmanship of Native American tailors and offers an insight into the lives of those who have gone before. These artifacts also vary hugely depending on which community made them. Many are beautifully decorated with materials such as porcupine quills, carved bone, fossilized shells, and glass beads. It is important to keep in mind that Native American history belongs to a rich and diverse array of different communities, such as the Chippewa, Sioux, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Seminole, to name but a few.

Practical pieces

Artifacts such as tools and hunting equipment showcase the innovation and skills of ancient Native Americans. A famous example includes projectile points that had been made from materials including petrified wood, fossilized bones and fossilized shells.

Canoes, anchors and net fishing weights are also usually in good condition and show us how historical Native American people sustained their communities through fishing. Paint pots for both face and body paints also show how Native American societies made use of cosmetics, just as people continue to today.

Appreciate and showcase human and natural history

A beautiful way to celebrate Native American history and culture is by decorating your home with beautiful fossils and artifacts that are pieces of history. The most famous and delicate items belong in museums, where they can encourage learning and be appreciated by all. However, ethically sourced fossils and Native American artifacts will make a brilliant addition to your home. They will surely inspire conversation and encourage learning. It is best to keep these pieces safe in a display cabinet or up high on a well-sized sideboard.

The timeless appeal of fossils

Fossils freeze a moment in time and allow us a precious glimpse into the past. These perfectly preserved forms let us imagine how creatures long-extinct must have looked when they roamed the Earth. When you choose a fossil to adorn your home, you do so in the knowledge that it is a completely unique item.

Fish Fossils, such as these ones sourced from Wyoming, are 50 million years old. Although they're static, something about their delicate vertebrae and tail bones capture a familiar energy and fluidity.

Fish Fossils

Another fossil that is ideal for home display is the ammonite, a larger relative of the modern-day snail. These gorgeous fossils can be placed securely in a specially designed stand, like this 1lb 2.2oz Ammonite with Stand. Some Native American traditions associate these fossils with good fortune.

1lb 2.2oz Ammonite with Stand

Wearable pieces inspired by ancient artifacts

Native American jewelry makers, artists and artisans continue the creative traditions that produced the famous artifacts showcased in museums around the U.S. Wearable pieces such as gemstone jewelry, creature necklaces and unique sea glass jewelry are a great way to appreciate the history and culture of Native American craftsmanship.

Sea glass jewelry

Sea glass has been tossed by the sea waves for years until it becomes smooth to the touch, with a gently frosted appearance. Each piece of sea glass is special and has its own secret story. They are then crafted into earrings and necklaces inspired by Native American artifact pieces, such as this pair of Green Sea Glass & Sea Turtle Earrings.

Green Sea Glass & Sea Turtle Earrings