Finding Arrowheads


It’s been a long time since we found an arrowhead in the garden. We used to find them fairly often in Pap’s big garden. Whenever one was discovered there was always big excitement.

Years ago it was Paul who found the majority of them. When he was in his late teens he went all over the place looking and amassed quite a collection. He’d notice a field that had just been harred and he’d call and ask the owners if he could look for arrowheads.

Chitter found the one in the photo at the top of this post back in 2012.

The Deer Hunter was tilling in the big garden and Chitter was supposed to be throwing rocks he unearthed to the side of the garden. Instead, she was playing with the dogs. Chitter bent over to wrestle Molly-dog and spied the amazing arrowhead.

She ran and showed her Daddy, she ran and showed Pap, and then she ran all the way home to show me.

Pap told her “Whoever shot that arrowhead, went looking for it. They would have wanted that one back.”

When she laid it in my hand, I held it against my cheek and closed my eyes. Chitter said “What are you doing?” I said “I’m thinking of the Indian who made it. I’m thinking that he used it to feed his family. I’m thinking he walked in the same woods we do.”


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  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    January 20, 2021 at 11:19 am

    My only significant find was two beautiful hammer stones. We were hunting turkeys. I was walking across a field near Paint Bank, WV, that had been plowed for a game food plot. Both stones lay on the surface, only a few feet apart. I left one at the hunting lodge and gave the other to my granddaughter.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Growing up in a big farming community, me and daddy would pay attention to when neighbors would freshly turn up the fields and ask permission to look for arrow heads. We would always get permission to walk the fields. I can’t tell you how many we found over the years. They would just be laying on the surface and we would take our walking sticks we picked up on the way and would turn over pieces of flint as we walked with it. My biggest personal find was a spear tip.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    As kids, when daddy would plow the ground up, we would also follow behind him, suppose to be throwing rocks out. We found alot of arrow heads. Dont find them today like you did back then. That’s a nice en.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    June 25, 2020 at 11:40 am

    That’s a nice one. I’ve found many in our garden spot. I also found a nutting stone. I’ve found tons of chips of flint where they make them. I think our little knoll where we live used to be a hunting campground.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 24, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    We used to find arrowheads all the time up on Wiggins Creek. Harold found a black obsidian that was almost perfect in the gravel road above Grammaw’s house. Obsidian is not found in the area so the Cherokee must have traded for it. One of the barbs was chipped off a little bit. Harold also found a stone axe in the bank across from our house. He and I were digging a ditch order to move the branch back against the hillside. He pulled out a huge rock from the hill and there it lay. It was perfect too except it had a small chip. He was more interested in money than history at the time and so sold them to a museum in Cherokee.
    Mommy talked about one of her brothers finding a tomahawk in a cave above the Little Tennessee. She said it still had the handle and the bindings that held it on. I don’t remember her saying what happened to it.
    Thank You, for using the word harred. Lots of, if not most, people anymore wouldn’t even know what it meant. That is exactly how I would have said it.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    Today’s post and comments are a very rich mix . Intriguing!

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    June 24, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    Beautiful piece! Treat it carefully. Classifying chipped stone projectile points is very subjective, but my references seem to point to Taylor Side-Notched. Other similar profiles include Palmer, Kirk and Lecroy but yours best fits the Taylor of my source. Interesting thing is that it’s probably a lot older than you may have thought. All the types mentioned are clearly in the Early Archaic age: about 8,000-10,000 years old. From the photo I believe the material is ridge-and-valley chert which is an excellent material that is charcoal to light gray in color and common in the Tenn. and W. NC river valleys. It’s too old to have been an arrow point, probably was a tip for some type of spear.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    June 24, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Very interesting article and comments

  • Reply
    harry adams
    June 24, 2020 at 11:32 am

    I live in Newark, Oh. Flint Ridge is a large stone quarry where the Indians dug stone (Ohio flint) for arrow heads. The stone is very colorful and easily shaped. In the 1930’s it is said that truck loads of flakes were hauled for road construction. Pow-wows are held here every fall.

    The only Ohio flint arrowhead I found was in SC when I was about 10. I still have it. It is blood red in color. All other SC arrowheads I found is quartz flint.

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    June 24, 2020 at 9:56 am

    1975-1985 we lived on a hill in southwestern Indiana in an 1895 three story beautiful farmhouse across the road from the Angel Mounds Indian Mound property, Mississippian Culture 1100AD-1450AD, up to 1,000 people at its peak…..The tallest mound of 13 there is 44 feet high…..There was a three foot thick and twelve feet high wall surrounding the central town of 100 acres from the Ohio River in a semicircle for protection…..

    In about 1980, my 9 year old son was riding his little three wheel scooter around and around the garden and up a small embankment at the end of it…..After a couple months he wore a path up the little hill….One day as he was riding up it he saw what he thought was a piece of black shiny glass….Fearing he would cut a tire he got off to remove it…..It was a perfect Obsidian Arrowhead…..About a month later there was a group of archeologists looking for artifacts in the forty acres behind our home…..I took the arrowhead out to show them and they got all excited….They said it predated anything at Angel Mounds by thousands of years…..They measured and photographed it and the site where we found it…..I had it for many years but it finally got lost when we moved…..I wish I had it today.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2020 at 9:46 am

    I get excited when I see an arrowhead too and would be thinking just like Tipper, thinking of who used it and might have lived in area it was found. My Mother used to tell us about her Mother growing up on the family farm which property ran down to the Tennessee River on the eastern side, across from Shiloh battlefield. My great-grandmother would follow behind her father plowing his fields by the river and told her children that she was always picking up arrowheads. What she didn’t probably know at that time – was across the river there was an old Shiloh Site where NA lived and you can see the mounds today. These NA were farmers. They say these Indians moved around AD1200 or 1300 to Pickwick Lake and that site is now submerged under the lake. Back on the eastern side up from the Pipes Farm, they say Savannah, TN., was built over an earlier NA site that existed about 2000 years ago. Fast forward to about 12 years ago, my husband and I were down in MS following the Tombigbee near Columbus, MS., and found so many arrowheads on its banks. I still get excited when I think about finding one.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2020 at 9:26 am

    It is one of the mysteries of my life that I have never found an arrowhead. I think of it often at this time of year, digging the garden. Still hoping.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 24, 2020 at 9:23 am

    We used to find arrowheads in the fields at my Grandmother’s in Haywood County. Every year when they plowed the garden they turned up arrowheads. I used to try and imagine the Indians (Cherokee Indians) traveling through the mountains there and hunting for deer. Don’t guess there are any more left to hunt.

  • Reply
    Leon Pantenburg
    June 24, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Finding an arrowhead has always been a bucket list item for me.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 24, 2020 at 8:40 am

    Once upon a time archaeologists thought that making flint knives, arrowheads, spear heads and axes was a long and slow process. Then somebody decided to try it and see. They discovered that with a little practice an arrowhead could be made in about 15 minutes. They also found out that just pressing on the flint would chip it so it could be shaped with a deer antler or piece of bone without striking it. Those discoveries started a whole movement in archaeology to learn by actual experience. I shouldn’t be surprised if some of the state parks around occasionally have someobe come to demonstrate flint knapping. I’d like to see it done myself.

    One of the puzzles is, Where did the flint for that arrowhead come from? You all might have flint in the Murphy Marble Belt. But in eastern KY where I grew up there was none until west of the Cumberland Mountains and Cumberland Plateau out in the limestone country. There it occurs as nodules embedded in the limestone. So there must have been extensive travel to sources of flint or there were well-developed trading routes or places.

    I set out once upon a time to become an archaeologist but changed my mind. I keep an interest in it though.

    • Reply
      aw griff
      June 24, 2020 at 12:02 pm

      Ron, there is a creek I used to fish in Elliot County KY. that has a limestone bottom and in one section there is a large bed of chert that crosses the creek. From that point on down the creek you will find chunks of chert that have been swept down by floods. Most of the creek is under federal control and there is no digging allowed in the many rock houses for arrowheads. On the ole family farm I found a chunk of chert in the small creek but have never found the source. On top of the hill on the south side there is a large flat that doesn’t belong to us and one year the owner plowed it up. We found lots of chips and a few broken arrowheads. The Indians must have had a source of chert close by.
      I have never found a good arrowhead but my Wife found a spear point in a spot I had a garden.

  • Reply
    Cheryl Christensen Bennett
    June 24, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Of all the things you could have chosen to write about today. What a coincidence. Yesterday, I was transcribing interviews with my mom, who is almost 89, and she was talking about her Aunt and Uncle who lived in Nevada. They were miners and ranchers who collected arrowheads. But because there were miles and miles of flat desert, one of the ways they hunted for arrowheads was in their jalopy. They would ride, with both doors wide open, as they went over the terrain looking for obsidian heaps that would lead them to arrowheads.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    June 24, 2020 at 8:13 am

    A wonderful family story wrapped around the discovery of an arrowhead!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Truly a prize. My aunt’s house must have been a great hunting area at one time, because they used to unearth arrowheads all the time. Not far from her house a local college had unearthed a burial ground with old NA skeletons on display in probably the seventies; they sure could not do that nowadays. It was said they buried them back, but i strongly suspect they whisked them away to some place to study or to a museum. They were not secretive until they got some backlash. It was a little area called Shawnee Lake., and was the site of a massacre f members of the Clay family many years ago. Her son recently gifted my grandson with one he found, but grandson not the least bit interested. I have it right there safely in my jewelry box, because i consider it a treasure. If there is any subject I as interesting as Appalachian history it would have to be the NA that once made this great land their home.

    • Reply
      Margie Goldstein
      June 24, 2020 at 8:48 am

      As a Cherokee Native American, I find the arrowhead discovery quite interesting. I’ve found a few in my life but somewhere between growing up, serving the nation in military service and nursing at VANDERBILT has left little time to think back to childhood arrowheads finds. For a child, these finds spark imagination into the past and perhaps thinking of the young, handsome brave who was shooting for meat to feed his people. Wouldn’t those have been wonderful times to have lived when the world was wild and no politics existed. Now that Chitter sounds “ full of her little self!” Lol and quite ambitious.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2020 at 7:58 am

    We use to hit the fields after they were plowed and after a big rain in early spring, it was a lot of fun.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 24, 2020 at 7:21 am

    I remember lookingvgor arrowheads as a child. The excitement when we found one. We lived in an area that was a batyleground snd we found quite a few

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