The Excitement of Discovering an Arrowhead

Discovering an arrowhead is an exciting experience.

During a walk, along with a lonely deer trail in eastern Oklahoma, the easy-going path had suddenly become overgrown and was impassable. The detour included traversing a variety of barbs, briars and scrambling over several fallen logs close to the river. The result led to a spectacular discovery.

The Excitement of Discovering an ArrowheadOverlooking the edge of the water, between the tangles of roots was a small ‘beach’ area no longer than twelve feet. In the middle of this sat a tan-colored arrowhead (also known as a point) about 3 inches long. I spent a good number of minutes scrambling down the rough ten-foot bank, being poked, scratched and stabbed by branches and roots in the most uncomfortable of areas. Finally, I reached the shoreline. I saw the point, it was now partially covered by the gently lapping waves. I carefully looked around but saw nothing more. I snapped some photos to document the find that had been literally hidden at my feet. I carefully approached.

The point was being covered by the black sand and mud of the river and in another fifteen minutes would be hidden from view for possibly years or decades or centuries to come.

I squatted near the point and studied it carefully – it was one of the most perfect points I have seen. The point had very distinguishable tangs (tangs are used for affixing the point to a shaft). The point appeared extremely sharp and the arrowhead was very thin. I found a twenty-five cent piece (which happened to be an Oklahoma quarter) and laid it next to the point for a size comparison.

The person who created this was obviously a master craftsman. This person cared greatly for their work, this arrowhead was not just a projectile, but a labor of love. I had a deep respect for this unknown person from long ago. A flood of questions surged through my mind-

Who was this person? What was the craftsman’s name? Was the point ever used in a hunt, or against people? Had the arrowhead been lost? Had this been a gift to a child or grandchild? Was the arrowhead created as a trophy signifying self-importance, or was it created to be used in the service of others? What was the story of this arrowhead? I would never know the answers…

As I sat at the river’s edge looking at the point I knew one thing; this arrowhead was not just a stone, rather it was a method of communicating. The person who cared for their work had unknowingly reached hundreds of years into the future to tell me – a stranger – that they had lived.

With each step that day I wondered what other stories were beneath my feet.

The lonely deer trail was no longer lonely.

Note: The land was private. The design of this arrowhead, for the location, was between 1300 to 500 years before modern times.

Front Yard Discoveries

Arrowhead A modern yard can reveal a hidden past.

Anna the seven-year-old eagerly walked up the channel of a rill. The rill flowed through Grandpa’s front yard. The rain from several days earlier made the rocks glisten in the sun.

After several minutes Anna showed Grandpa something she found – a triangular, white flint rock with chipped edges. She had discovered an arrowhead in the front yard.

The arrowhead was broken, but the excitement was not diminished. Grandpa believed the whole point was originally several inches in length. With a new sense of discovery Anna eagerly agreed to see some similar things that Grandpa had found. One item, the pocked and rusted remains of a cast-iron water kettle had been found only a few feet upstream from where Anna had discovered the arrowhead. A local antique collector had dated it to the mid-1800s.

We knew something of the local history but we could not help but ask, “Who left these things?”

Exploring this simple question led to a week of family involved outings, including visiting local history museums, hiking to old homesteads, reading books about frontiersmen and native peoples and hearing the stories of old-timers.

Anna’s front yard discovery provided all of us with an opportunity for reflection, some great family time and a renewed appreciation for the local heritage.

Anna kept looking for other front yard finds. She and Grandpa did find a few flint chips, but another discovery was found the next day while hiking – Anna found a small flint thumb-scraper. Grandpa was impressed.