Found in the Medicine Creek Valley near Stockville, this bison shoulder blade hoe was discovered in 1934 at the remains of a Native earth lodge. Tools like this were used by the people of the Central Plains tradition, which is what archaeologists called the village farmers who lived in hamlets along the rivers and streams in Nebraska from 1000 A.D. to 1400 A.D. By the end of this period, groups had started to grow gourds and corn in small-scale gardens. Intensified cultivation of domesticated crops coincided with an increase in prehistoric Indian populations. Although hunting and fishing continued to be very important, a less-nomadic economy developed. Food surpluses, such as corn, were stored in underground storage pits dug into the floors of earth lodges.
Tools like these were the forerunners of plows pulled by oxen and later the giant John Deere equipment that today’s farmers use in their fields.