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  1. Texas Arrowhead Hunting

    November 13, 2012 by admin

    Texas has many areas to locate arrowheads. The best time to hunt for arrowheads and other artifacts in Texas is after a day of rain.

    Beaches, Streams and Rivers
    A good rainstorm washes the dirt off the surface. Sea-Rim State Park and several local streams in the area of Woodville turn up arrowheads. Two good creeks for finding arrowheads, Beech Creek and Village Creek, are located near Silsbee.

    Old Tribal Land
    The largest tribe who lived on the lands in the area of Woodville were the Alabama-Coushatta. Visit areas where the Alabama-Coushatta lived to find arrowheads that were left behind years ago.

    Indian Mounds
    Several Indian mounds are scattered throughout Texas. One area is the Big Thicket of Southeast Texas. Plan a good day of hiking and look for the Indian Mounds. Arrowheads and other Indian artifacts are found in these areas.

    Pay Dig Sites
    The sites charge an entrance fee for people to use the land for arrowhead hunting. One large pay dig site on private property, Randy’s Dig, is located in Kerr County, Texas.

    Wilson County Sand Pit
    The Wilson County Sand Pit, situated 20 miles southeast of San Antonio, is located near Cibolo Creek. It is a large archaeological dig site where diggers have retrieved many varieties of arrowheads, including Plainview, Barber, Clovis, San Patrice, Angostura, Zella and Golondrina.

    Gault Site
    The Gault archaeological site is midway between Georgetown and Fort Hood in central Texas. The site is excavated by professional staff, including the Texas Archaeological Society.

    East Texas
    Arrowheads in East Texas tended to be smaller and thinner than spearheads, though they have somewhat similar shapes: wider and thicker at the bottom for attaching to the shaft and pointed at the other end. They were made from chert, microcrystalline quartz that includes agate, jasper, flint and chalcedony. The colors vary due to variable amounts of organic matter and cherts can be black, gray, pink, brown and purple and are usually have a dull luster and a colorless streak. Chert has a hardness of 7.

    Types of East Texas arrowheads
    The types of arrowhead found in East Texas come from all eras of Native American history. Point types include Andice, Bell, Evans, Axtel, Folsom, Plainview, Barber, Bulverde, Darl, Edgewood, San Patrice, Angostura, Ellis, Fairland, Kinney, Edwards, Fresno, Perdiz and Scallorn. They vary in their length and width and some have distinguishing shapes. Different types were also prevalent at different periods of time.

    The Caddos lived in what is now northeast Texas; the Karankawas held the Gulf between what is now Galveston south to what is now Corpus Christi; the Coahuiltecan occupied the southeast and the lower Rio Grand. The Texas Hill Country is a rich and verdant region, and many smaller Indian bands lived in the area. These areas should have an abundance of arrowheads, still today.

    The Alabama-Coushatta Indians were the most abundant people in east Texas, and they lived concentrated around the Woodville area. The banks of the Guadelupe River near the town of Center Point was a favorite residence, and Beech Creek and Village Creek near Silsbee have been very productive. Around San Marcos was rich hunting territory. Many semi-permanent camps were set up in the game-rich Big Thicket region. The Caddo people were concentrated around Indian Creek north of what is now the town of Nobility; following the creek from behind the Baptist Church often yields some interesting finds.


    It is vital to gain permission from the appropriate authority — owner, lessee or trustee — before wandering on to private property; without permission such an activity is Entry Without Consent, and to remove any found item is theft. Even as innocent an activity as hunting for arrowheads can be mistaken for an intention to poach wildlife, rustle stock or steal valuable farm and ranch equipment. Without a permit issued by the Texas Antiquities Committee, it is never legal to remove finds from government land, be it state or federal property, even if you have full permission to be on the land and have paid an admission fee. It is never acceptable to enter upon property owned by modern-day Native American trusts, families or reservations. Also refrain from surface hunting any place that may be related to burials or funerary ceremonies.

  2. Identifying Arrowheads: Projectile Points Listed by Shape

    November 9, 2012 by admin

    Articulate Projectile Points
    These points have ears and a concave base.
    Clovis Unfluted

    Basal Notched Projectile Points
    This form has notches applied at the base.
    Basal Double Tang

    Contracting Stem Projectile Points include:
    Cedral (Acatita)
    Early Stemmed
    Gypsum Cave
    Lind Coulee
    Santa Cruz

    Corner Notched Projectile Points
    The base-end has corner notches for hafting.
    Basket Maker
    Black Mesa Narrow Neck
    Chaco Corner Notched
    Glendo Arrow
    Glendo Dart
    Pindejo (Ahumada)
    Rose Spring Corner Notched
    Round Valley
    Tularosa (Cienega)

    Lanceolate Projectile Points
    Points without notches or shoulders fall into this group. Bases are round, straight, concave or convex.
    Bat Cave
    Green River
    Hell Gap
    Humboldt Constricted Base
    Long Point (Angostura)
    Rio Grande
    Triple T (Humboldt)

    Leaf Shaped Projectile Points
    Agate Basin
    Cottonwood Leaf
    Early Leaf

    Side notched projectiles
    The base-end has side notches for hafting.
    Bonito Notched
    Buck Taylor (Red Horn)
    Citrus Side Notched
    Del Carmen
    Desert Delta
    Desert Sierra
    Dry Prong
    Northern Side Notched
    Points of Pines
    Pueblo Side Notched
    Red Horn
    Rose Springs Side Notched
    San Rafael
    Snaketown Side Notched
    Ventana Side Notched
    Walnut Canyon

    Triangle Shaped Projectile Points include
    Archaic Knife
    Bull Creek
    Cottonwood Triangular
    Early Triangular
    Hohokam Knife
    Mescal Knife
    Snaketown Triangular

    Stemmed Projectile Points include
    Desert Stemmed (Rose Springs Stemmed)
    Eastgate Split Stem
    Elko Split Stem
    Garza Lott (Lott)
    Lake Mohave
    Pinto Basin
    Rose Springs Stemmed
    Scottsbluff Type II
    Sierra Stemmed
    Silver Lake
    Ventana Amargosa

    Notched (Expanding Stem) Projectile Points include
    Elko Eared
    Gila River Complex
    Mount Albion
    Salt River
    Samantha Arrow
    Samantha Dart
    San Jose
    San Pedro
    Squaw Mountain
    Val Verde

  3. Functions of different arrowhead types

    November 8, 2012 by admin

    The arrowhead or projectile point is the primary functional part of the arrow, and plays the largest role in determining its purpose. Some arrows may simply use a sharpened tip of the solid shaft, but it is far more common for separate arrowheads to be made, usually from metal, horn, or some other hard material.
    Arrowheads are usually separated by function:

    Bodkin points are short, rigid points with a small cross-section. They were made of unhardened iron and may have been used for better or longer flight, or for cheaper production. It has been mistakenly suggested that the bodkin came into its own as a means of penetrating armour, but research has found no hardened bodkin points, so it is likely that it was first designed either to extend range or as a cheaper and simpler alternative to the broadhead. In a modern test, a direct hit from a hard steel bodkin point penetrated Damascus chain armour. However, archery was not effective against plate armour, which became available to knights of fairly modest means by the late 14th century.

    Blunts are unsharpened arrowheads occasionally used for types of target shooting, for shooting at stumps or other targets of opportunity, or hunting small game when the goal is to stun the target without penetration. Blunts are commonly made of metal or hard rubber. They may stun, and occasionally, the arrow shaft may penetrate the head and the target; safety is still important with blunt arrows.
    Judo points have spring wires extending sideways from the tip. These catch on grass and debris to prevent the arrow from being lost in the vegetation. Used for practice and for small game.

    Broadheads were used for war and are still used for hunting. Medieval broadheads could be made from steel, sometimes with hardened edges. They usually have two to four sharp blades that cause massive bleeding in the victim. Their function is to deliver a wide cutting edge so as to kill as quickly as possible by cleanly cutting major blood vessels, and cause further trauma on removal. They are expensive, damage most targets, and are usually not used for practice.

    There are two main types of broadheads used by hunters: The fixed-blade and the mechanical types. While the fixed-blade broadhead keeps its blades rigid and unmovable on the broadhead at all times, the mechanical broadhead deploys its blades upon contact with the target, its blades swinging out to wound the target. The mechanical head flies better because it is more streamlined, but has less penetration as it uses some of the kinetic energy in the arrow to deploy its blades.

    Field tips are similar to target points and have a distinct shoulder, so that missed outdoor shots do not become as stuck in obstacles such as tree stumps. They are also used for shooting practice by hunters, by offering similar flight characteristics and weights as broadheads, without getting lodged in target materials and causing excessive damage upon removal.

    Target points are bullet-shaped with a sharp point, designed to penetrate target butts easily without causing excessive damage to them.

    Safety arrows are designed to be used in various forms of reenactment combat, to reduce the risk when shot at people. These arrows may have heads that are very wide or padded. In combination with bows of restricted draw weight and draw length, these heads may reduce to acceptable levels the risks of shooting arrows at suitably armored people. The parameters will vary depending on the specific rules being used and on the levels of risk felt acceptable to the participants.

  4. Arrowheads: A brief history

    November 8, 2012 by admin

    Discovery channel’s Mythbusters Jamie Hyneman, left, and Adam Savage, with the two University of Wyoming anthropologists, Nicole Waguespack and Todd Surovell,

    Arrowheads, objects fixed to the end of a shaft and shot with a bow, are what archaeologists call projectile points. A projectile point is a broad category of triangular pointed tools made of stone, shell, metal, or glass and used throughout prehistory to hunt game and practice warfare. A projectile point has a pointed end and some kind of worked element called the haft, which allowed attaching the point to a wood or ivory shaft.

    In some cultures, special projectile points were clearly not created for a working use at all. These can be elaborately worked such as the so-called eccentrics, or created for placement in a burial.

    Small points do not equal small game.
    Experimental archaeology has shown that so-called ‘bird points’–even those under a half inch in length–are plenty lethal enough to kill a deer or even larger animal. These are true arrowheads, in that they were attached to arrows and shot using a bow. An arrow tipped with stone would easily pass right through a bird, which are more easily obtained using a net.

    ‘Blunt points’ are regular dart points that have been reworked so that the pointy end is a long horizontal plane. At least one edge of the plane would have been purposefully sharpened. These are excellent scraping tools, for working animal hides or wood, with a ready-made hafting element. The proper term for these kinds of tools is hafted scrapers.

    Why there is an abundance of projectile points
    Investigation of blood residues on stone projectile points reveal that the DNA on the majority of stone tools are from animals, not humans; and were probably most often used as hunting tools. Although there was warfare in prehistory, it was far less frequent than hunting for food.

    How are arrowheads made?
    A stone projectile point is made by a sustained effort of chipping and flaking stone called flint knapping. Flintknappers work a raw piece of stone into its shape by hitting it with another stone (called percussion flaking) and/or using a stone or deer antler and soft pressure (pressure flaking) to get the final product to just the right shape and size.

    Flintkapping in general is not a time intensive task nor does it necessarily require skill. Expedient flake tools can be made in a matter of seconds by anyone who is capable of swinging a rock. Even producing more complicated tools is not necessarily a time intensive task (though they do require more skill). Arrowheads, for example, can be made from start to finish in less than 15 minutes.

    The ends of the arrows were simply sharpened or points made from other materials (e.g., shell, teeth, or antler) were attached. A heavy point actually destabilizes an arrow during launch, and the shaft will fly out from the bow when fitted with a heavy head. When an arrow is launched from a bow, the notch for the bowstring is accelerated before the tip. The greater velocity of the notch when combined with the inertia of a tip of higher density than the shaft and on its opposite end, tends to spin the distal end of the arrow forward. A heavy point also increases stresses that occur in the shaft when rapidly accelerated from the opposite end, which can result in “porpoising” of the projectile or even shatter it if severe.

    Recent experiments conducted by the Discovery Channel’s Myth Busters team under the direction of archaeologists Nichole Waguespack and Todd Surovell which revealed that stone tools only penetrate about 10% deeper into animal carcasses than sharpened sticks.

  5. How to find arrowheads

    November 7, 2012 by admin

    Finding a piece of archaeological history can make for an exciting day for the seeker. Arrowheads from Native American cultures are very common in North America. They can be found almost anywhere that Native Americans, usually near creeks and rivers. Arrowheads were handmade by chipping stone into a sharp point using a stone tool, and are easily identified by ripple marks in the stone. Arrowheads — often buried beneath several feet of earth — are sometimes exposed by running water. You can find arrowheads in many rural areas simply by examining freshly exposed dirt and rock, or by walking along creek and riverbeds.

    Before setting up camp near the local river, make sure to do your research on Native American settlements or migration routes in your region. Ancient people lived and traveled along rivers and other freshwater sources for practical reasons. Coordinate this with a modern map of the area to identify creeks where Native American hunters might have been. Check old maps if you think the creek bed has changed direction over the years. Explore only old beds where Indians would have camped. Make sure you are not searching man made lakes and ponds, because you will be wasting your time. Avoid searching for arrowheads on government property because you are not permitted to take them with you. Learn the rules for collecting and keeping artifacts before you begin your search on public land. Many state and national parks prohibit the removal of artifacts; be sure you are not breaking any rules.

    Visit a library or visitor’s center to learn where Native American villages were located in the area you plan to hunt.

    Save yourself a backache by constructing a walking stick and digging device by driving a nail into the end of a broomstick. This tool will allow you to turn over rocks without bending down to look at every one. This step is optional, but will help reduce stress placed on your back and legs.

    Make sure the area you plan to search is legal to enter. You may need to get permission from the owner. Most people don’t take kindly to strangers digging on their property. Plan to do your search when the water level of the creek is at its lowest. Be sure to dress appropriately to avoid disease and an uncomfortable time.

    Start with the bends in the creek where there is a natural buildup of debris. Sift through debris and soil with your rake and other tools, preferably made of plastic, as this will protect the structure of the artifacts.

    Check the roots of trees near the creek because roots can catch and hold onto small artifacts such as arrowheads. Don’t be afraid to dig around. That’s what you’re there for!

    Separate arrowheads from other cool stuff that you might find. Native American arrowheads are triangular in shape, and they total less than 2 inches in length. Most are made of a glassy stone, and can be just as fragile as glass. Consider bringing in larger shovels if you are lucky enough to discover an area rich with arrowheads.

    Store any arrowheads that you find into a zip bag. They can be very fragile.