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Pump Drill

Pump Drill

One of the early uses of tools in North America was for the drilling of holes. Objects containing man-made, drilled holes have been discovered in Native American burial sites that date as far back as 10,000 years.

In New Mexico, pre-historic Indians mined turquoise over a thousand years ago. They used turquoise for self-adornment and in spiritual ceremonies.  They obtained the turquoise from mines in the Corillos and Burro Mountains. Larger pieces of turquoise were worked with rough stone tools. Turquoise beads were ground from these larger pieces and holes drilled in the beads so that they could be strung together. Green and blue turquoise beads have been found in ancient graves of the pre-historic Pueblo people indicating both the spiritual nature and value associated with this mineral.

However, without the ability to drill holes in the turquoise, beads would not have become a favored adornment nor a valued trade item. The drilling of holes allowed the beads to be used in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, ceremonial costumes and religious images.



This is a pump drill for wood, pottery and metal. It consists of a vertical shaft, a horizontal crosspiece, and leather straps with a pot sherd for weight.

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