Hematite Artifacts

Hematite Artifacts

Hematite is the mineral form of iron oxide comprising up to 70 percent iron. It is colored black to gray, brown or red, usually with a rust-red streak. The mineral takes its name from the Greek, “haimatites”, which we translate as bloodlike, thus the name alludes to the vivid red color of the iron powder.

Hematite is harder than pure iron, but much more brittle. Large deposits of hematite are found in banded iron formations. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a major source for this mineral.

Grey hematite is typically found in places where there has standing water or mineral hot springs. Under these conditions hematite can precipitate out of the water and collect in layers at the bottom of a lake or spring.

The archeological evidence suggests that North American pre-historic Indians actively traded for materials such as hematite. Grindstones, celts, plummets, spades, axes, pipes and gorgets are all artifacts from the Archaic and Woodlands eras made from hematite.

Reference note by p4A editorial staff, November 2011.

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