Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Finding Arrowheads & Native American Indian Artifacts in Pennsylvania

(top left, PA Dutch Redware pottery shard, quartz arrowhead, jasper arrowhead, jasper tool. row 2: arrowheads, not sure what stone, maybe quartz. foreground: large stone ground and napped hand tool, maybe an ax or skin scraper)

I've always been good at finding things. I once found a single hair from a deer on a rock when walking along the shore of a lake. I kid you not! My boyfriend at the time would joke to friends and family about the deer hair, and my eagle eye vision. He soon-after proposed by putting the ring into the crevice of a rock and positioning it on the shoreline when he knew I was about to go for a walk. I found it of course.

But that was years ago, and now I wear reading glasses most of the time, which kind of makes it a pain when looking for things on the ground, since I have to keep taking them off, and then putting them back on! But that won't stop me from looking, or from having the luck of finding things. 

When I was younger I had a huge interest in Archaeology, and at one point I even wanted to be an Archaeologist. I remember my dad ordering me subscriptions to the little kids version of National Geographic magazine, which was kind of one of my favorite things in the world at the time. One year for my birthday when I was in my late teens, he bought me one of National Geographic's special hardbound books, The Adventure Of Archaeology, and it still sits in my bookcase, much loved and worn. 

I went from reading the magazines to the books, which spawned my interest in geology and rocks and gems, as well as ancient civilizations and their treasures—which I am certain led to my becoming a jewelry artist. 

And still, after all this time, one of my favorite things to do in the world is to explore nature and learn about history. Yay!

After my kids came home from school yesterday, we decided to take a walk and look for some arrowheads. We live in an area that has a huge Native American history (Lenni Lenape), so it is not uncommon to grow up hearing quite often about friends or relatives coming across arrowheads. We had never looked for them before so this was a brand new adventure for us! 

My sister has found them on two separate occasions when digging gardens in her yard - and each time it was at a different house that she lived in! 

The most important thing is that you ask for permission from the property owner before you look. 

I think we were out for about two hours yesterday when I came across these pieces. For a first-timer, I think I had a stroke of beginner's luck! 

I was thrilled when I found the tool pictured above and below. This is made from a big heavy rock, and you can clearly see where it has been ground down and where the edge is cleaved away. What a fantastic find! I'm not sure exactly what type of tool it is, so if you know, leave me a comment below. At first I thought it was some type of ax. Could it have been a piece of a tomahawk? Or could it be a hand tool from a much earlier period? Someone suggested that it might be an ax or a skin scraper. Scary name!

We have tons of quartz and jasper where I live, but I am not sure what type of stone this is made of. It really has the heft and feel of a big river rock. 

When I picked up the piece above I wasn't sure what it was, but upon closer examination I could see the tool marks and where the stone was cleaved away - I love this piece! I love the shape. I think it's kind of unusual and I'm pretty sure that it is a yellowish jasper, a color often known as butterscotch. 

I live not too far from the famous Lenni Lennape jasper mines, so we see jasper all over the place here.

 This piece (above) might be the first actual "classic shaped" arrowhead that I have ever found! I think it is quartz. The edges are still super sharp!

Hard to see in the photo above, but the edges are like a razor, as is the white quartz piece in the photo below. 

The large piece on the upper left in the photo below is a piece of pottery. I'm pretty certain that it's Pennsylvania Dutch redware pottery. It is decorated with some black dots but the glare from the light washed them out in the photo. I will have to go back and see if I can find more pieces. I found all of the pieces within a few yards of each other, all in plain sight on the ground. 

I guess now I am hooked! My girls and I can't wait to go artifact hunting again. I will probably land up donating them to a school or museum if I can find one that wants them or could use them. 

Have you ever looked for arrowheads? 

What do you think?

Have a great week!

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