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Beaver-tooth knife

Wolastoqiyik: mihqotanis

Mi’kmaq: mihkutan

This knife is made with a beaver’s tooth and a bone shaft. Capable of felling trees, the incisors of beavers are naturally sharp thanks to the very hard enamel covering them. This type of tool is frequently used to work wood or leather. The blade of the knife can be cut in different ways, either bevelled or grooved, depending on the desired shape.

Beavers are traditionally hunted by Indigenous peoples. The animal is used for its meat, skin, fur, bones, teeth, as well as for its medicinal properties.


Date: Circa 400

Origin: Michigan, United States

Owner: Vieux moulin—Hydromellerie et miellerie. Private collection “Musée de la Neufve-France”. Sainte-Flavie.


Pointe-à-Callière, cité d’archéologie et d’histoire de Montréal. (n.d.). Incisive de castor ouvragé [Worked beaver’s incisor]. ARCHÉOLAB.QUÉBEC. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://www.archeolab.quebec/recherche/objet/216926

Gouvernement du Québec. (n.d.). Lame de couteau croche [Crooked knife blade]. Répertoire du patrimoine culturel du Québec. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://www.patrimoine-culturel.gouv.qc.ca/rpcq/detail.do?methode=consulter&id=218406&type=bien

Illustration: Beaver-tooth knife