Arrowhead And Projectile Points Collectors : Hunting for Ancient Hunters

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The Quest!

The four hunters were beginning to get excited as they drove deeper into the Georgia wilderness. Three of them, this writer included, because of the things they were expecting to see, and the fourth, because of the things he knew they would see. This fourth person lived in the vicinity and was our guide, both for the turkey we expected to pursue and on this particular quest.

This part of the state was once the ancient shoreline of the Atlantic ocean when the ice caps melted and seas covered more of the earths land masses. The soil is therefore sandy being composed of the remnants of what were once great dunes. Many of these hills were too steep for agriculture allowing much of the land to remain undisturbed.

Like these modern hunters, Native Americans found this wilderness a perfect place to hunt for deer and turkey. The land was littered with the evidence of their lives in the form of artifacts they left behind. We were privileged to be invited to view such a collection, an invitation this author had craved for over a decade.

Art and Utility Combined

Ceremonial drinking vessel
Ceremonial drinking vessel | Source
Another view of the drinking vessel
Another view of the drinking vessel | Source
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A Different Breed Of Collectors

Almost everyone collects something it seems. They may not know anyone else who collects the same things they do but their collection means something to them. Native American artifact collectors are no exception, especially the arrowhead and spear projectile collectors.

Hand an exquisitely formed Clovis spear point to the average person and you will get a variety of responses from “oh what a pretty rock” to “wow this thing is sharp.” But give this point to a hunter and you will see his eyes almost glaze over as he feels the eons melt away to the time a hunter, like himself, used this sliver of stone to keep his family alive.

The weapons and tactics have changed, but to a hunter the goal is the same as it has always been.There are several reasons hunters are especially susceptible to this wonderful hobby.

The aforementioned identifying with the ancient hunter of course, but also because of the hunter’s love of the outdoors. He has a different outlook on the wilderness because he spends so much time there.

In some places the land the modern day hunter travels has changed very little over the centuries. We hunters also have a great deal of envy and admiration for those people who were able to thrive on what nature offered them. The artifacts left behind tell a story about these wonderful and mysterious tribes.

Individual projectile points also tell something about it’s maker. Many are carefully produced, with beauty, as well as, utility showing a sense of art appreciation. Wonderful shades of color are not required to make an arrow fly better, nor are intricate carvings needed to enchant the prey.

Personal pride in one’s workmanship would seem to be the motive. Another link to modern hunters it seems. These extra artistic flourishes are no different than the filigrees on a rifle or shotgun used by hunters of today. Man hasn’t really changed that much over the last thousands of years.

Stones With Stories

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Tobacco pipes.
Tobacco pipes. | Source

Modern Hunters and Ancient Artifacts

It’s hard to imagine modern hunters being envious of these mysterious people, but this is indeed the case for some of us.

We know nothing will remain of our existence as hunters after a relatively short time passes. We do not leave anything behind marking our having been here as individuals.

Nothing we use or build will even approach the longevity of the stone tools used by those prehistoric hunters. Modern technology is wonderful, but the materials used to make today’s hunting weapons will not be around very long when exposed to the elements.

When a hunter finds a projectile point he can’t help but imagine the scenario which took place right where he is standing. If the point was discovered in what used to be a shallow water filled swamp he knows the animal probably escaped the hunters and died, leaving the perfectly formed point to be found these many centuries later.

In some parts of Georgia the source of stone used to make the point came from a great distance, so recovering a well made point was very important to the hunter. If the animal had been found, the point would have been recovered and reused on later hunts or remade into a smaller tool.

Beautiful As Well As Deadly

A typical spear point
A typical spear point
Collection of many different points and tools
Collection of many different points and tools
Some of thousands of collected points
Some of thousands of collected points
Excellent example of pottery used by the ancient ones
Excellent example of pottery used by the ancient ones
Another cache of arrowheads and spear points
Another cache of arrowheads and spear points
Grinding stones with pestles
Grinding stones with pestles
A groove cut to repair the cracked atlatl weight.
A groove cut to repair the cracked atlatl weight.

A Journey's Reward

So this is why we were traveling through the dogwood dappled forests, down roads so sandy we worried about the truck scraping the ruts.

Miles would pass before an inhabited homestead would appear. Strangers were noticed on these roads and their appearance noted closely.

Residents of this area do not have a great deal of education as it is not necessary for the few occupations offered in this sparsely settled country. The man we were going to see could not read or write well, but this did not mean he was uneducated in other areas of expertise.

Having met him an annual gathering of hunters almost twenty years ago, he only approached me when he found out I too collected Native American artifacts.

We finally turned off the sandy road into an even smaller two path lane leading down into a heavily forested valley. Even when we stopped among the trees it wasn’t at first apparent a house existed here at all.

But then we glimpsed the home, constructed with weather and sun bleached timbers it blended perfectly with the hardwood forested backdrop. A certain sense of peace prevailed over the homestead, you could feel it and it seemed familiar somehow.

The three visiting hunters were used to vast southern swamps and pine forests instead of easily traversed hardwood wilderness.

One could walk for miles before encountering any occupied residence. The country was spotted with one time cotton fields now covered with second growth timber.

Chimneys and broken down windmills were the only evidence of a once populated area. There is a sense of mystery about these places which is as it should be. Many humans have lived and died here over the centuries and their ghosts seem to never let one forget this fact.

Our host took us inside to see his collection, but even before we went inside we noticed a long row of grinding stones with the pestles still nestled inside. We were fascinated and we couldn’t help but feel a little like Indiana Jones as he was entering a crypt.

One entire room was filled with his finds. When Howard Carter first looked into the tomb of King Tut he was asked what he saw. “Wonderful things” was his answer, and we could not help but have the same feeling as we gazed dumbstruck at the treasures in this room.

The entire room was crowded with artifacts of every different kind. Fully restored exquisite pots and urns were placed on shelves and projectile points were displayed in a variety of exhibits.

Tobacco pipes had their own spot and so did hammers, tomahawks, and maces. Drills, hide scrapers, and other pieces of flint, used for a variety of purposes, were prominently displayed for viewing.

One inscribed rock was very interesting with a picture of one human killing another etched into the surface. We have visited museums which did not have the quality of artifacts this one person possessed.


From An Ancient Hunt

Spear point, still sharp and unbroken
Spear point, still sharp and unbroken

The Importance Of Collecting Artifacts

It would be hard to place a dollar value on this collection but it had to be an extensive sum. This was a source of pride to the owner as well it should be and we were thankful for the honor of being invited to see it.

We were not permitted to take photos of any of the artifacts this time, but the man told me that I may be permitted to in the future. Rest assured, I am awaiting the okay.

There is no way of knowing how many exciting finds are hidden away in private collections. Like stolen art treasure, the owners fear thieves and government confiscation. Many of these collections have been accrued over several generations by family members.

Some are so secret only a few people are aware of their existence. This is a shame, as no telling what beautiful objects exist that archaeologists would love to know about. As far as taking care of these wonderful artifacts goes, the owners go to great lengths to assure they remain in perfect shape.

Artifact collecting isn’t just for hunters and I do not wish to prevent anyone from enjoying this fascinating hobby. But being able to put one’s self into the head and heart of the ancient hunter helps to understand why they made their points beautiful, as well as, deadly.

We are so grateful the ancient ones left these gifts for us to find and enjoy. It’s a shame we can’t do the same for our descendants a thousand years into the future.

More by this Author


Comments 30 comments

Leah Kay, The Pup profile image

Leah Kay, The Pup 7 years ago from Anywhere-USA

(Written by Sharon)

Enjoyed reading your hub. I have always wonder how or where the best places are to find arrowheads. If you know how to look for arrowheads, maybe you could write a hub on the how to....

Keep writing-enjoyed it very much!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 7 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thanks for the comments Sharon. As a person who has found hundreds of artifacts I have already written articles on other sites about how to find these wonderful ancient tools. But, since I enjoy writing about this hobby I am already working on a new article with more details and tips. I appreciate your input and, I too, am a camping afficiando.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

This was a terrific read from start to finish! Well done!


Florida Keys profile image

Florida Keys 7 years ago from Jewfish Key Florida

Excellent excellent writing.....you should be writing for hunting magazines. I'm a collector and treasure hunter. My step dad has an extensive collection of indian artifacts.....some displayed...most not as well as gemstones, megladon shark teeth, and other such things. Personally I prospect for gold, dig for megladon teeth in Florida, gemstone prospecting and such. Was a great read from top to bottom. You should try to talk this gentleman into sharing his collection with the world and getting the recognition he deserves...so many people could enjoy such a collection in a museum......convince him that this is what is best for his collection.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 7 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thanks to earnestshub for the comment on my article.

To Florida Keys- everyone dreams of finding treasure of some sort or another. You and I do more than dream about it and so can others if they wish. I too love to snorkel and will be doing a lot of it in Jamaica during the 4th of July holidays. I only live about 50 miles from the Florida state line but have never visited the keys. My main reason for writing is for the enjoyment of others. The artifact story is as true as I could make it. It is hard to do justice to the natural beauty of the wilderness where the story takes place. My actual participation in the story is one of my favorite memories. Reality seems like a dream come true in some cases.


Robert 6 years ago

Both of the "Clovis" points are obvious modern reproductions. The other stone looks authentic.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thanks for the comment Robert. I cannot vouch for these points but the owner is a long time hunter and collector of projectile points with a vast collection.


Robert 6 years ago

Thanks for your civil reply Randy. I don't mean to (and don't) disparage your post, and I appreciate the effort that you put into it. I am just calling it as I see it on these. Its usually not a good idea to do "internet authentifiaction" and I am not even a professional authenticator. However these points show no signs of anyone even attempting to "age" them. They both look like they could have been knapped yesterday. The form on the first one is wrong for Clovis; and it, especially, is covered with "crushings' (the white lines) that would not exist if the point was ancient. More that 10,000 years in the ground patinates (oxidizes) most (if not all) materials. Just compare the luster and oxidezed look of the surrounding Archaic points (roughly averaging 1/2 as old as Clovis) and its apparent that these "Clovis" points are too "fresh" and without the signs of millenia of ground aging common to authentic Clovis points. Plus, they are out of place in relation to the rest of the collection materials. That with the EXTREME rarity if authentic Clovis points of that degree of perfection is not a good sign for authenticity. Thanks again Randy! Rob


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

I appreciate your opinion Robert and I too had my doubts about the pieces. The person owning these pieces had acquired a few pieces from another collector and undoubtedly these were some of them.

I will find out for sure though, I do not wish to misrepresent reproductions as being authentic points. I will remove the two points until I interview the owner.

I really appreciate your input and interest.

Randy


Al Bell 6 years ago

Definitely collected in the south. Out west we would have obsidian, flint and chirt. Gotta tell yuh, I drive fire bus for wildland fire fighters in the summers. A couple of years ago I was in Nevada with an Apache crew. They stationed me by a spring way out in the middle of the Nevada desert. I got out of my fire crew bus and walked around the spring. It was located on top of a low lying hill and just had to be an ancient encampment. Sure enough I found mounds of flakes. No points, because I'm sure the place had been gone over by ranchers and other hunters. It was on private property though so hadn't been picked over to much. There was a Shoshone and a Paiute with me. They were just as interested in the artifacts as I was. We left everything we found. Sure was fun though.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thanks for the input Al! These points are mostly oxidized flint which gives them a white appearance because of exposure to wet acidic soil for thousands of years. They were once shiny with a darker gray or red color.

I have found a few in the last couple of days and will find many more before the farming season is over. I am especially looking forward to turning the earth in a field around an ancient swamp because of the many points and artifacts found there in the past. Thanks again Al!

Randy


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

@Sharon! I cannot approve your comment Sharon because the link in your name causes a warning to pop up on my computer.

You might try asking the folks at Arrowheadology.com, a site especially devoted to collectors and with some knowledgeable folks to advise you as to the best option to take. I'm sure there are some museums who would love to have such a collection.

If not, a donated collection might net a tax deduction if nothing else. There are some places you can advertise the artifacts for sale, but be careful who you deal with. Sorry I cannot help you more than this!

Randy


skyfire profile image

skyfire 6 years ago

These arrowhead artifacts looks cool. Excellent hub randy. :)


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thanks for checking it out, Skyfire! Will return the favor!


Average Writer profile image

Average Writer 5 years ago from Midwest

Great hub. I am part Native American (1/16) to be exact. I always enjoy reading about tools and weapons used by natives. Thanks for sharing!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thanks for the input, Average Writer! I so enjoy this hobby and learning about your fascinating ancestors. Thanks for stopping by.

Randy


Beth Godwin profile image

Beth Godwin 5 years ago

Very informative. Great article.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

You ought to like the photos best, you took some of them! You forgot, didn't you? LOL!


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Man hasn't changed all that much over the thousands of years, so true Randy. Thank you for pointing me to this one, it was a supreme please to read and view. Could ask questions or comment on a dozen or more things but I'll be returning so will let it rest for now. Let me ask you this though: out of all the projectiles you have is there one special to you above the all rest?


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Hello Alastar! I suppose the Dalton at the top of the page is my favorite because of the extreme age and very fine condition it is in. The broken atlatl, or spear throwing weight, is also quite important to me as it comes from a time predating the bow and arrow.

these two items were used to kill the now extinct megafauna such as camels and mastadons which once frequented the swamps in my area. But then, I still get a thrill when I find a new point, something which happens quite often on my land. I love the hobby!

Thanks as always for checking out my hubs!

Randy


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks Randy. Had a feeling the Dalton might be the one. Great info about the atlatl and camels; will check soon to see if you've written anything on pre-historic mammal fossils in your area amongst other subjects. Btw, Taylor made it to the finish line from here, thought you'd like to know.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thanks again, Alastar! Finding actual fossils around here is a difficult task. Because of the climate and soil, fossils are rarely found intact in this area. I do still find projectile points regularly in the fields around the swamps and bays, though.

Not sure I understand your reference to "Taylor made it to the finish line from here" but thanks anyway!

Randy


Barnsey profile image

Barnsey 4 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

So....cool. Thank you, sir! Great Hub!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Glad you found this true story interesting, Barnsey! This guy had a great collection! Thanks for your time and input!

Randy SSSSS


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

What a marvelous collection that person has amassed! I remember that my dad found a couple of arrowheads in the area of Wisconsin where he grew up and where I spent my childhood. I have no idea what happened to them. They probably never got moved with us to Texas. I like how you wrote about these stone instruments of hunting will outlast us and our modern day instruments of hunting. That...and they truly are beautiful. Up votes and will share.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

I appreciate the share, Peggy. It was an honor to get to view this Native American artifact collection as it is seldom seen by anyone because the owner is such a private person. Even when he asked me to view them I had no idea he had such a wonderful assortment of projectile points and other pieces.

I have quite a few points myself and recently posted a hub about them. I need to add the link and will but here it is now if you are interested.

http://hubpages.com/education/The-First-Georgians-...

Thanks as always for your great input and for your time.

Randy


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

This must have been such a great opportunity for you. The photos are beautiful! I find arrow heads, as well as other types of collections from times past, to be very fascinating.

My father and uncles used to go to these caves (out in the countryside of Massachusetts), where native Americans used to live, and they found many arrow heads. I have never found any myself, but the caves along a cliff is one area of North Leverett that I find most spectacular.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia Author

Thanks for checking this collection out, Kathryn. It is one of several artifact hubs I've published here. I really love these ancient tools and find them almost pieces of art.

It is indeed a thrill to hold a 10,000 year old point in one's hand and to wonder what prey was hunted with it.

Thanks again for your time and input. :)

--RG


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 2 months ago from North Carolina

Randy,

I love this hub and must say quite envious. I do not have an extensive arrowhead collection, but always on the lookout when traversing the woods or just tilled gardens. My greatest find is a harvesting knife most likely used by a woman over four thousand years old. Thank you! Thank you! Such an enjoyable read and journey.

Blessings,

Kim


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 2 months ago from Southern Georgia Author

Hey Kim, I did enjoy visiting my friend and seeing his fine collection of artifacts. Even though I too have an extensive collection I was blown away by this guy's finds. That's cool about the knife you found too.

Pleased you enjoyed this hub as it was fun to write as well. Thanks for your time and comments. :)

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