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Monday, September 29, 2008

Indian Arrowheads Spark My Imagination

We live out in the country in Jackson County, WV. We are situated on a small knoll. The land used to be a large farm in the area. Long ago I'm sure game flourished here (as it still does) and Indian hunting parties likely frequented the area following the creek which meanders its way around our small country sub-division.

We have plowed a small garden on our lot for the past 30 years. Each year I anxiously search the earth for ancient treasures.

The Indians have left their beautiful arrowheads, intact and broken, behind for us to find. Many small pieces of flint flakes are scattered throughout our garden space.

My imagination speaks to me. I see in my mind a campfire surrounded with Indians in what was once the frontier of our country. I see them sitting by the fire and making the flint into spearheads, arrowheads and scraping tools. I see them making plans for their hunting trips in an area which teemed with large game.

Below are pictures of what inspired me to write my Picture Book Rising Sun. It is about a young Indian boy who yearns to go on his first hunting trip with the warriors of his tribe. He goes to the knoll and practices making arrowheads and shooting his bow.

Any agents or publishers out there interested?

Here are a group of artifacts I've put in a shadow box for display. Large arrowheads, small arrowheads (which I believe are the ones from the most recent Indian tribes), and broken arrowheads (which to me are just as important to find as the whole ones).

Here are some of my more recent finds:

I believe the following are scrapers. They are flat on one side, except for the one on the right. I believe the small one to be a broken arrowhead which they fashioned into a tiny scraper.

All comments are welcome. If anyone has information they can provide on my arrowhead collection, I welcome it. I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject.

Every time I am in the garden my eyes look downward hoping to find another artifact from the rich past of West Virginia.

If you found this post because you are interested in arrowheads, go here to see other posts about finding artifacts in my garden.


  1. How interesting! I assume you found all of these on your land. We live beside a lake in Arkansas but it's not an old lake - it's a man made one so I don't find anything like that. I'd love to though! blessings, marlene

  2. Wow, how neat is that. I would love to find something like that in my garden but so far I got nothing but sea shells.

  3. Janet, I believe the black one are made from Kanawha flint. The paler ones are probably from Ohio. Years back I attended a lecture on arrowheads. It was fascinating. The man who gave the lecture told us that the Indians traded arrowheads like trading cards, so you might end up with something very unusual on your land.

    He also said that thy often picked a favorite place to work on their arrowheads, usually a small rise so that they could see around them. They might work on one, make a mistake and toss it. Arrowheads that seem too thick or oddly shapen might be tossed-out mistakes. The arrowheads sometimes broke while they were working on them too.

    Another thing I didn't know was that the Indians used deer antlers to make their arrowheads. They'd use the point of an antler to chip away at the flint.

    You've got some great finds there. Have you had anyone look at them for you and date them?

  4. Thanks for your information. As I said in my post we do live on a knoll. Mike McGrew told me that it was a little unusual to find so many in one spot and hunting parties could very well have camped here and made their arrowheads. I find little chips of flint in the garden all the time, I save them, too. I've looked on line before to try and date them, but it's a little confusing. I do know that the small ones are the more recent ones, though.

  5. Wow you have some really good arrowheads. Like you we have collected them around our home all my life. My brother really got into it at one point and would travel around the area as the fields were plowed to look. I've never had much luck-but always hoped I'd find a real beauty.

    In my county of Cherokee-there was a huge mound where one of the tribes main camps were by the river-the folks from the Smithsonian came and dug it up and took it back with them! This was way before the "protect the site" philosophy came into being. Neat Post!!

  6. Janet, I don't know anything about arrowheads, but these look like very nice ones. Sid Stephenson has a great collection. He and Lou Gargerella(can't spell that) worked with them for years. Maybe he can help you with dating and such. His Email is I haven't emailed him, but that should be right. Give it a try.

  7. Nice! Interesting how the majority of your finds are black/dark in color. Prevailing stone in the immediate area? I also notice that there are several styles of projectile points spanning several thousand years. Yet, the stones are, at least by what I can tell through the pics, dark and of the same rock. I would think you should be able to find the quary. Normally, with several thousand years represented the artifacts would be of far more different types of stone. I believe you also show a couple pieces made out of quartsite.

  8. Hi Anonymous, thanks for the comment. You seem to be very knowledgeable about the artifacts. The black flint is called "Kanawha flint" which is found in neighboring Kanawha County, WV. I have found tons of small flint 'pieces' this year (2011)in my garden and four or five more arrowheads - two were black and two were the gray quartz like ones. I have no idea how to date them and what era they are from, but I love finding them! Again, thanks for your info.

  9. Janet,
    First I would like to wish you luck on getting your writings published. I myself am a starving author but have yet to even attempt to publish anything, I think it would be exciting to achieve such a goal.
    Looking at your top pick the two light colored arrowheads are thousands of years different in age. The one on the left is what is known as an "Ashtabula" point dating at 4000 years old, the one to the right is an "Adena" point and is around 1800 years old.
    What this tells me as an avid indian artifact fanatic,is that multiple cultures lived in the area of your garden! Along with the fact that as you stated it was always a premier ares for the native americans as they lived there in totally different time periods.
    The notched points, those with a flared out base seperated by two notches are from the Archaic period which dates from 10,000 to 3000 B.P. The points with the straight stem or base that narrows are from the Woodland period, which dates from 3000-1300 B.P.
    When you see alot of flakes, it is not only possible that they knapped the arrowheads there, but they very well could have processed game there, the flakes being a result of resharpening to give a sharper cutting edge to cut fat bone and the like.
    Hope that helps a little and keep your eyes to the ground, if it were me my dear I would be digging holes to find more!! LOL have a great holiday and good luck with getting that story published.

  10. Thank you so much for the info. I'm always keeping my eyes on the ground, my neighbors probably think I am crazy sometimes, when I'm walking through the garden...just looking at the ground. I do that a lot.I think it is fascinating finding these lost and left over items from our past.


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