Arrowheads can be made from many types of rocks.
Arrowhead hunting —
a family adventure
After harvesting a bear in Canada in May, a friend and I had permission to walk the local fields to look for shed antlers and arrowheads. We were on the opposite side of the field from our vehicle when a storm came out of nowhere. The sky turned dark, the wind was swirling and we knew we needed to head back to camp. As I was running toward the vehicle at full speed and being pelted in the face by giant raindrops, I kept my eyes on the ground and spotted an arrowhead in the commotion. It had a broken tip but stuck out enough for me to identify it in the horrendous conditions.
If you can walk, you can potentially find an arrowhead, or a point, as they are often referred to. Looking for Native American artifacts is an activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family. It can be done almost anywhere in the United States, but be sure to check the laws in the area you are searching and always ask permission from landowners. My family and friends have been lucky enough to find arrowheads in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina and Canada.
One of the best places to start looking for artifacts is a freshly plowed field in the spring and after a good rain. The rain helps wash away some of the soil that may be hiding a point. Some people like to look in fields without many rocks so an arrowhead would jump out at them easier. I like looking in fields with lots of rocks, because I am a rock hound, so looking at all of the gems is fun for me. And I enjoy teaching kids to identify rock types and their history.
It also helps if you talk to landowners and find out if they have found arrowheads or spearheads in their fields. If one was found there, then chances are greater there are more lying around. If you don’t find any in a certain field one year, keep trying. They are easy to miss, and there is a new opportunity to find something every time the field is plowed.
Each point is a unique work of art. Once you have collected your treasures, what do you do with them? One of the most popular ways is in a shadow box.
Look in areas near a water source and high land areas. Native Americans used the hills to spot danger and may have whittled an arrowhead to pass the time. If you find chips of flint, chert or obsidian, depending where you are in the country, keep looking in that area. Avoid places that have been strip mined or disturbed by construction.
Not all areas are the same. In Texas, we found arrowheads in washed out areas where a gradual rise in topography allowed the rain to expose what was under the dirt. The rain washes the points and they collect in these areas. We found five to eight points at a time.
In North Carolina, we screened the creek bottoms looking for shark teeth and found arrowheads and Native American jewelry in our screens, as well as a fossilized great white shark tooth. Notches were ground into the root of the tooth making it an instant arrowhead.
Arrowheads can be made from many types of rocks. Indians traded with other tribes to obtain material to make them. Shark teeth arrowheads have been found by farmers in Ohio, which leads me to believe the local tribe had traded with a tribe from the Maryland or Carolina area.
Come to a head
I searched for a long time until I found my first arrowhead. I wanted to find one so bad I would pick up anything that resembled a triangle. When I finally spotted my first, I immediately knew it was an arrowhead. There is no mistaking one. The one I found was shiny, white and stood out.
Don’t get discouraged if you scour a few areas and don’t find anything. Keep your head down, eyes open, and keep on walking. You never know when your next step can lead to a wonderful discovery. — Jennifer Bilott