Saturday, February 18, 2012

February find

In the last two winters I spent a lot of time staring at snow-covered landscapes dreaming about what it would be like if there was no snow cover in the cold months. Late fall and early spring are great times for me to look for arrowheads and I would have imagined that if only there was no snow I could be finding handfuls of Indian artifacts all winter long. This year has been very different, I can't remember the last time we had a winter with so little snowfall. And unfortunately I have learned that finding arrowheads in the winter is not as easy as I would have guessed. With the strangely warm weather, grass and weeds do not seem to have gone dormant, and dense vegetation blankets the ground in many places where I would like to search. In other places, I find that the winter rains do not expose new stuff the way frost and the snowmelt of the spring thaw do, I revisit places and find nothing but my own footprints and the chips and flakes I picked up and discarded on previous visits. Before this year I have never been able to search for arrowheads in February. I wanted to make a find for this month and have been spending hours looking, covering lots of ground in a lot of new places in different settings, and I have identified some likely spots that I will return to in the spring and summer, but did not find anything at all, until today.

With only a limited amount of time today, I drove to a place where I got permission to look some time ago, but that I had not searched before. It is a high place near water, a likely spot. This place is not very big but there was still no way I could thoroughly search the whole thing today so my plan was just to take a look and see if I could spot any chips or flakes to indicate that it would be worthwhile to spend more time here in the future. I walked out to a random spot and looked at the lay of the land, there was a flat high spot that seemd like a good place to start so I started making my way in that direction, my eyes scouring the ground at my feet. I quickly picked up a couple of jagged broken quartz chunks. I am not sure exactly what the meaning of these artifacts is, but when I find them, I know I am looking in the right place. After less than 5 minutes I saw this and my heart skipped a beat:

Close-up, as I found it:

It is very unusual how totally exposed this arrowhead is on the surface. It has been lying exposed here for months and the winter storms and rains have washed it completely clean. Something like this is easy to spot from many steps away. It is a treat to find them like this.

This point is bigger than most of the triangular quartz points I find. It is also in better than average shape, a nick out of one corner and perhaps one on the edge. This point is thousands of years old. Can you tell I am really pleased with this find? A lucky day for me. I searched for a while longer and didn't find any other points, I did pick up a waste flake of a beautiful yellow quartzite material. I will return to this place and spend more time, search systematically. I hope there is more there for me to find.


Hoe said...

We were wondering about snow when we watched the news too. It is hard to imagine that over here, with the scorching sun whole year round, people are freezing to death in Europe.

pwax said...

I was thinking of going out for an hour or so but I probably would not find such a nice item. How many different fields do you explore? I only have 3 places left.

Chris Pittman said...

With this new place I have around 10 spots that I can go back to. I wouldn't even want to try to guess how many places I have searched that were void and not worth revisiting. I went back to that place yesterday and looked for 1.5 hours, I didn't find any arrowheads but I did find a piece of amethyst. I have never found anything like that before and I suspect it might have been brought to the site by an Indian.

pwax said...

Curtis Hoffman has reported crystals from Indian graves in MA and crystal "caches".

pwax said...

I should add: That's a cool find.