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This page contains a choice display of ancient Native American Indian artifacts, relics, arrowheads and stone age tools from all over the United States as well as many articles related to the Native American Indians' way of life. We hope you find the articles interesting and informative.

 We also offer a wide-range of Ancient Native American Indian artifacts and arrowheads for sale.

For the oldest of the old Indian artifacts, relics and arrowheads, please visit our Paleo Pages by clicking on the Paleo link on the left.

Our Archaic Page also has some outstanding ancient arrowheads and relics dating back as far as 9000 years ago.

Please let us know if you have anything of educational interest to share with others on this page.

For more ancient Native American Indian artifacts, relics and arrowheads, you can visit our friends by clicking on their links at the bottom of our home page.

And now... onto the museum...

   
Museum Topics:  
   
How to find Indian Arrowheads The topic says it all
   
The Museum Book Store The Book store with LOTS of Artifact related books
   
How to Display Your Artifacts Coming soon (one of these days)
   
Time Eras explained Time Era date ranges
   
What does BP mean? Explanation of Scientific Terms
   
Terminology in General Terminology - An explanation of "Terms"
   
Clovis Points The oldest of the old
   
Paleo Pelican Points Pelican points
   
What is a "Flute"? Flutes on older points explained
   
Whopper Chopper A sample of a HUGE butchering tool
    
When Bone meets Stone Press-fit "compound" tools
   
Re-sharpening Tools Re-working of Ancient Tools
   
Recycling Tools Salvaging Ancient Tools for reuse
   
A Plainview is a Plainview... Samples of Plainviews
   
Arti-Facts Facts about Indian arrowheads...
   
Paleo Clovis manufacture How Clovis points were made
   
Hide Scrapers through the ages How tools evolved yet remained the same
    
"BLANKS" Trade blanks, Quarry blanks explained
    
Lithic Scatters, Signs of Ancient Life Photographs and Explanation of Lithic Scatters
   
Petroglyphs, Indian Art Work Photographs of "Rock Art"
   
"Only the necessary" An article (with photos) of "unfinished" tools
   
Folsom Point Technology Broken Folsoms?
   
Hammer Stones vs. Pecking Stones The difference explained and in photos
   
What were Paleo Crescents used for? Paleo Crescents explained
   
"Weird" Ancient Tools Unusual Ancient Tools
   
Questions & Answers About the Native American Indians' way of life
    
Patina Explained Shows samples of patina w/ an explanation
   
Mineralization, what is it and what Sample photos and explanations about Mineralization
   does it look like?    appearing on the surface of artifacts
   
How To Professionally Label Artifacts The tools and steps to properly label artifacts
 
Arti-Facts:
Facts about Indian Arrowheads and other Native American Indian relics and artifacts:
Each and every arrowhead has a "type" name, according to the type or category it falls into. Arrowhead "type-names" are usually, but not always, assigned from the location where the very first type was discovered. (For instance, "Clovis" from Clovis, New Mexico... Cumberland, named after the Cumberland River in Tennessee, Folsom from Folsom, New Mexico and so on.) If another new "type" of arrowhead was found, but the name of the nearest city was already "taken" by a former type, the archaeologists would then use the name of another land "feature" in the same general area. Some of these features could be: the name of a nearby river, creek or other body of water, the name of a nearby mountain, etc. Two good examples of the usage of this alternate naming convention would be the "Lost Lake" arrowhead type and the "Snake River" arrowhead type.
Arrowhead "types" are identified first by the shape of their base, but other factors play a role in "typing an arrowhead" as well. Other factors are, the overall shape of the arrowhead, the flaking style, whether or not the arrowhead is fluted, the material it's made from, etc.
Arrowheads, knives and most other stone implements became dull with usage over time and were anciently      re-sharpened by their owners, which not only reduced the size of the artifact, but also altered it's shape.
Often, but not always, one can tell where an arrowhead originated from by the stone material it is made from; certain materials are ONLY found in certain regions. A good example is Monterey chert, which is a lithic       found only in California or Coshocton flint, which is an Ohio lithic.
Native American Indians were great "recyclers" of stone implements, wasting nothing of the precious lithic material which often was quarried from as far away as 200 miles from their normal habitat... Arrowheads which became mis-shaped through breakage or re-sharpening were often adopted as a completely different tool, such as a knife or a drill.
Sometimes older cultures' stone implements were found and re-shaped or re-cycled for use by later cultures.
The CLOVIS point type is the oldest point type and enjoyed a reign of 2000 years before other "arrowhead" types were introduced through an "evolution" of the native Amerinds' technology...(See the "Clovis" article below, as well as the Caveat added in 2007)
"Notches" in arrowheads didn't appear until the Archaic time period. These were introduced as a better and more expedient method of hafting (attaching, binding) the points to a wooden shaft.
In addition to animal sinew or plant fiber bindings, asphaltum or pine tree pitch was added as a form of glue, in order to further strengthen the joining of the arrowhead or knife to it's wooden or bone shaft / handle.
Larger "arrowheads" were not arrowheads at all, but were either lance heads or knife blades. (Sometimes both, a dual-purpose tool)
During the oldest time eras (Paleo and early Archaic) the sides and bases of arrowheads were ground smooth in order to dull the edges so that they would not cut through the material used to bind the stone to it's wooden or bone shaft.

A nice Pelican from Texas:

This point dates back to the Transitional Paleo time era, which ran from 10,000 years ago to 6,000 BC. Many of the pelican points display the paleo characteristics of "fluting" (described below in the clovis section) as well as basal grinding, and are considered by some to be "related" to the "San Patrice" point-type.

A "Mammoth Killer" Western Clovis from California:

A SPECIAL NOTE about the article below: In the interest of accurate scientific reporting, the following article was written prior to 2005. Sometime during 2005 the Archaeological community "dethroned" the Clovis point, as being the oldest of the old, and instead claimed that certain "stemmed" points pre-date the Clovis point, personally I strongly question this new development... no science is "exact", and Archaeology is more subject to change than most, as new artifacts "types" are discovered on an on-going basis... The "stemmed points" which supposedly "pre-date" the Clovis points are of a totally different technology, and are much more "crude" in nature.. this new development seems to be similar to comparing Neanderthal tools to those of the Cro-magnon man... it' my personal opinion that (at least) 2 distinct groups migrated to America, and that they may very well have co-existed, each having their own "flint technology that worked"... the "fluted" technology is obviously more advance than the "stemmed point" technology, so which came first... I think they came at about the same time... only future discoveries will hopefully reveal the total story.
 
   This is what is known as a "Clovis" point. The clovis point is the oldest of the old, dating back as far as 14,000 years ago. It is the first point type to appear in North America and the technology of this point type is unique to North America. (Not found anywhere else in the world)   The typical form of the clovis point is well described in Overstreet's guide to Indian Arrowheads and, to paraphrase, a lance point having auricles (a barbed-base), one or more "flutes" (flutes being mentioned below), a concave base with convex sides; the basal area is usually ground as are the edges of the point paralleling the flute. (Flutes are "grooves" appearing in the central face of the clovis, and were intended to facilitate an easy, sturdy and tight durable binding of the stone point to a wooden atlatl-propelled spear fore-shaft. It's interesting to note that the oldest points in America normally had ground-edges near the base. The sharp edges of the projectile point were ground smooth in order to prevent cutting of the binding material. It's also interesting to note, that along with binding a point to a shaft with sinew or plant fiber, asphaltum (tar) was often used to cover the binding, and acted as a "glue", further strengthening the joining of the stone point to the wooden shaft. Western clovis points pre-date Eastern clovis points by approximately 300 years. Clovis points mark an era of the "Big Game hunters", those tribes and groups of big-game hunters who pursued herds of (now extinct) animals to provide food for their survival. It's my own personal theory that the size of the point coincided with the size of the "game" being sought; consider the difference shown in the photo below, between a Western clovis point and its eastern counter-parts. The large western point was well suited to kill a mammoth, whereas the other 3 eastern clovis points seem to be more suited to bring-down a smaller animal, such as a bison. As the larger animals were hunted to extinction, the size of the clovis point was, in my opinion, reduced to coincide with the size of the surviving animals available as a food-source.

   It's interesting to note that no other point-type (with the controversial exception of the "Sandia" type) appeared until 2000 years later. (12,000 BP or 10,000 BC)  In other words, the Clovis "arrowhead" was the ONLY projectile point used for the first 2000 years of the Native American Indians' habitation on the North American Continent !

A tiger-stripped clovis from Indiana:

  Many projectile points are made from extremely colorful lithic material, to the point where one can consider them to be truly works of art. This leads me to believe that the Native American Indians must have been at least a little bit superstitious, in that it's reasonable to imagine that a colorful artistic point held it's own "magic", and would result in good fortune or better luck and success in "the hunt".

A Whopper Chopper from the Santa Fe River in Florida:

Could be a "blank" or could be a butchering tool... A blank is a lithic which the Native Americans roughly worked-down at rock quarry sites for ease of transportation as well as for trade. Blanks were used in inter-tribal trade, as quarry sites having desirable and workable lithic (stone) material were sometimes as far as hundreds of miles away from a tribes' actual habitation site. Indeed, quality lithic material was a prized possession, not to be wasted, as evidenced by many tools being re-worked or "re-cycled" into a totally different tool after being damaged to the point of no longer being useful to their original purpose.

When Bone Meets Stone:

Here we have a few photos showing samples of the Native Americans' ingenuity in creating "press-fit" tools. This particular adze displays how a polished stone celt was mounted into a bone or antler bit. Bone and antler materials have a "shock-absorbing" quality, and were often used to fashion many hand-held tools. Tools of this nature, having multiple parts of differing materials are referred to as "compound tools" in the scientific community.

The 2 Pelican points above from the Paleo time period demonstrate a "first-stage" Pelican and a Pelican point which has been anciently re-sharpened for re-use at least 3 times... The native Americans were ingenious in re-working tools, wasting nothing in the process of re-cycling. Often, arrowheads which were re-sharpened to the point of exhaustion as arrowheads, were re-shaped into an entirely different tool, such as a drill, or scraper, as shown below.

Here we have a "classic" example of the Ancient Native Americans' ingenuity in .
reworking old, worn-out or damaged artifacts to suit a totally different purpose from which they were first intended.
These two relics were originally arrowheads, but were re-shaped into drills, most
likely recovered after a successful hunt during which, the tips of the arrowheads
were damaged.. An excellent example of Native Amerinds' "Recycling".

A Plainview is a Plainview... Across vast territories...

This photo shows 3 Plainview points of different materials from 3 different states; The black basalt point is from Arkansas, the brown chert point is from Texas and the white burlington chert point is from Illinois. As with the clovis point, which can be found across all 9 regions of the United States, it's amazing that the same "styles" of points were spread across such a vast area for any given point in time... it makes one wonder if they (The ancient native American people) didn't have messengers spreading the word about which "style" of point was "in" for any given period !

BLANKS

  Blanks, also termed "trade blanks" and quarry blanks are simply the stone which the ancient  
  American Indian harvested from a quarry site and "crudely" worked down to facilitate easier  
  transportation to his home village site. These "blanks" served many purposes; often they  
  were used in trade with neighboring tribes, as they were a valuable commodity. (Hence the  
  name "trade blanks") Pieces which weren't used in trade were broken into smaller pieces in  
  order to be worked into arrowheads, atlatl points or other small tools. Blanks differ from  
  "Preforms" in that a blank lacked the "shape" for any specific type of arrowhead or tool... A   
  preform, on the other hand, was the very first stage of a stone item which was being worked  
  into a specific arrowhead or tool "type". Sometimes blanks were buried in groups for later  
  retrieval whether for use in trade or to manufacture other stone tools. When these are found  
  in groups, they are termed a "cache" of blanks.  

Tools evolvement through the Ages:

Pictured above are 3 hafted hide scrapers from 3 distinct time eras, the Paleo period, the Archaic and the Woodland period respectively. It's interesting to note how the Native Americans adapted through the ages; bigger game (of the Paleo era) required bigger tools. As entire species became extinct, the Native Americans adapted to the changes. These samples clearly demonstrate how the technology remained the same, but the size was adapted to suit the smaller game hunted for sustenance in later periods.

Cultural Time Periods:

All artifacts can be traced back to a specific "time era" or what is known as a "period" in history, each having it's own "period" name... the pre-historic and historic time periods are listed below with their respective names and date ranges. These time eras occurred at a slightly different time between the Eastern United States and the Western United States.

Mid-USA and Eastward:

Time Era Date Range
Paleo 12,000 to 11,000 BC
Late Paleo 10,000 to 8,000 BC
Transitional Paleo 9,000 to 7,000 BC
Early Archaic 8,000 to 5,000 BC
Middle Archaic 5,000 to 2,000 BC
Late Archaic 2,000 to 1,000 BC
Woodland 1,000 BC to 700 AD
Mississippian 700 AD to 1600 AD
Historic 1600 AD to 1830 AD

The Western United States

Time Era Date Range
Paleo 12,000 to 6,000 BC
Early Archaic 6,000 to 3,500 BC
Middle Archaic 3,550 to 1,300 BC
Late Archaic 1,500 to 300 BC

The following periods or eras are termed "the Desert Traditions" in the Western United States:

Time Era Date Range
Transitional 300 BC to 400 AD
Developmental 400 to 1300 AD
Classic 1300 to 1600 AD
Historic 1600 to 1830 AD

What does BP mean ?... Scientific (and other) Terminology Explained

Term Meaning  
BP B.P. Stands for "Before Present (time)"  
I believe it was promoted to get away from the "BC" standard, by British scientists (who also use BCE - before current era)... so as to not offend the non-Christian world.... I don't like it one bit... because it's a "moving target" !... reminds me of the tourist who asked the security guard in a museum, how old the dinosaur skeleton on display was.... the security guard answered "20 million 7 years old"... the tourist asked... "how can they date it so accurately... I mean.... right down to the exact year ???"... and the security guard answered "easy... it was 20 million years old when I started working here, 7 years ago" ! Examples of the "conversion" would be:  (in the year 2000) 1200 AD = 800 BP   2000 BC (in 2006) = 4006 BP (Correction: After further research, I discovered that there IS in fact a specific year arbitrarily designated as the "Present" year to be used; it turns out that this specific year is 1950.)
 
Spent An artifact is said to be "spent" when it has been re-sharpened by the Ancients to the point where it is no longer able to be used as the tool it was originally intended to be. "Spent" items were either discarded, or re-worked into an entirely different tool from the original item. A common example is arrowheads being re-worked into functional drills. (See the Recycling Tools section above)  
Side A / Side B When referring to an artifact, Side A would simply be the "better side", and Side B would be the opposite side of the artifact. Think of it this way... if you wanted to show-case an artifact, Side A would be the side that you would show if you placed the artifact in a display case  
Beveling Beveling is a term used to describe a very sharp angle along the cutting edges of ancient knife blades which occurred from the edges being re-sharpened repeatedly from only one side. In Paleo times, knife blades were re-sharpened in the same fashion as they were first made, that is to say, the ancient knapper would re-sharpen the left side on face A, then the right edge on face A, turn the knife over and re-sharpen the left side on face B and then the right side on face B. This process kept the blade in perfect symmetry, but reduced the size of the blade at a fast rate. During the early Archaic period, the ancient knappers suddenly realized that they could achieve a sharp edge by simply re-sharpening only one opposing edge on each face of the knife blade. This conserved material and effected a sharp edge nicely. So, in essence, they got smart... but not too smart. Since they found a winning formula, they stuck with it, and continued the same process to the same edge when the blade needed re-sharpening again. This caused the blade to take on a "twisted" rhomboidal shape over a period of time. (IF they had TRULY gotten smart, they would have "alternated" the edge they re-sharpened on each face with each new re-sharpening, then the blade would have kept a more symmetrical form) When the beveling occurs along the right edge of each face of the knife blade, it is called right-handed beveling (which is the most common, by the way) and likewise, when the beveling occurs on the left side edges of each face of the knife blade, it is called left-handed beveling.  
Geofact A rock which has unusual "features" caused by the natural forces of nature. (i.e. - NOT altered by ancient man)  
     
  Terminology for "Stages" of artifacts manufacture  
  Ancient artifacts went through many "stages" during the manufacturing process. Three of these "pre-finished" stages are worth mentioning.  
Stage: Explanation:  
Blank An entire section (above) is dedicated to the explanation of "Blanks", but in short, blanks are the first stage in "roughing out" an artifact from a host stone material. It has no characteristics to indicate the finished product it is intended to become, and in fact, a "Blank" could and often was later broken into many pieces to create a multitude of different tools.  
Preform A preform has the basic "shape" or outline of a SPECIFIC artifact or artifact "type", but lacks many "features" in the steps involved to create a specific artifact or artifact "type". Some of the features lacking might be: "thinning" of the tool/weapon, all of the "finished" traits, such as notching or other traits to facilitate sturdy hafting. The flaking of the artifact at this stage is still crude and less "defined". This is the first "roughing out" stage for a SPECIFIC tool type.  
Planform The Planform stage can be thought of as the final form an artifact assumes before "finishing" characteristics (such as notches, stems, tangs, etc.) are added. At this stage, most primary flaking is completed, the artifact is complete in shape, form and thinness and is ready to be put through the final stages of "notching", secondary and tertiary flaking and so on.   
"First Stage" A completed artifact essentially in the same condition as the day it was made, having NO ancient re-sharpenings which would have reduced it's size and shape.  
  "Other" (less scientific) Terminology:  
COA Certificate of Authenticity - Issued by authenticators giving their opinion as to the genuineness of an artifact. These often contain further information about the history of an artifact  
SOP Statement of Provenance - Simply a piece of paper which details any known information about where an artifact was found  
KRF An abbreviation for Knife River Flint, a high-grade honey colored to rootbeer brown flint which is semi-translucent and most common in North Dakota. This material gains frosty white patina with a bluish hue over time. A material highly sought after by collectors.  
Flea Bite An ultra-small nick to an artifact, often to the tip or to the very tips of it's tangs. This, in and of itself normally doesn't detract from an artifact's beauty, and can be very hard to judge from the way an artifact was actually knapped.  
Tick Bite An extremely small nick to an artifact, often to the tip or to the very tips of it's tangs, slightly larger than a Flea bite, but smaller than a spider bite. This, in and of itself normally doesn't detract from an artifact's beauty, but it does keep it from obtaining a "grade" of G10 (perfect).  
Spider Bite A very small nick to an artifact, often to the tip or to the very tips of it's tangs, larger than a "Tick bite". This, in and of itself normally doesn't detract from an artifact's beauty, but it does keep it from obtaining a "grade" of G10 (perfect).  
No Brainer A term used to indicate that an artifact is genuine because of very obvious traits of antiquity, such as patina, mineral deposits, etc.  
Hinge Fracture A very slight "step" which occurs on the surface of an artifact when a flake being removed from the surface hits a "sticking point" and the flake "hinges" upward and breaks off horizontally, leaving a very slightly elevated line on the artifact and often a "loose flake" section where minerals can accumulate and "stain" this loose flake, through and through. Almost ALL artifacts have multiple hinge fractures, as that is just the nature of the beast when working in stone. Additionally, hinge fractures should be one of the very first areas you examine when trying to determine an artifact's authenticity, as the ledge of the hinge fracture will have a weathered "smooth", rounded appearance (as opposed to "square" for fake artifacts created recently) and will have ground debris and mineralization actually under the remaining hinge. (Fake artifacts won't have ground debris, unless it was intentionally put there to deceive a buyer, and even if the maker faked the ground debris, mineralization is nearly impossible to effectively mimic)  
Ledge A slight "step" which occurs on the surface of an artifact when a flake being removed from the surface hits a "sticking point" and the flake "hinges" upward and breaks off horizontally, leaving a slightly elevated line on the artifact. This is identical to a hinge fracture, but is thicker, and less desirable  
Stack Worse than a ledge, this is a stubborn section of an artifact's host material which defied flaking, even from multiple directions. It appears as a thicker, and cruder (unflaked) section on the face of an artifact and often detracts from the artifact's value. Often stacks can measure an additional 50% of the artifact's normal thickness (in areas surrounding the stack)  
Fire Pop A phenomenon which occurs when an arrowhead (or other artifact) is exposed to high heat, such as a campfire, and which causes a circular, or multiple circular sections of the surface of the artifact to "Pop off" leaving a circular depression. In ancient times, this often happened to arrowheads which remained embedded in game meat while it was being cooked for consumption  
Heart Breaker Term used for a broken or damaged artifact, especially one which was found partially exposed and upon retrieving it, was found to not be totally intact.  
Impact Fracture Damage caused to the tip of an arrowhead or projectile dart point when the projectile either missed it's intended target, and came into contact with a harder object, such as a rock, or when the projectile came into contact with a bone (often a rib bone) of the intended quarry, causing damage to the tip of the projectile point. This type of fracture normally appears on the faces of a projectile point and has the same "ripple" marks as pressure flaking causes.  
Lateral Impact fracture Same as an impact fracture, except the damage to the projectile point travels down the "cutting edge" of the projectile point from the tip, instead of the facial area  

 

Lithic Scatters - What are they ?  
  Lithic scatters are "detritus" (rock in small particles broken away from a mass) and sometimes broken tools which are often found in sandy soil, and are the "leftovers" at a site where the Native Americans manufactured tools. When hunting for artifacts, this is often one of the first signs found. The photos below show a rare undisturbed obsidian Lithic Scatter.  

  And some lithic scatters are harder to spot than others...  
the photos below show a section of a large ancient
  workshop site which was totally overgrown with spider  
  web-like dried-up vegetation, which, when  
  "peeled-back" revealed the treasure underneath !  
       
       
             
       
             
         
             

HOW TO FIND INDIAN ARROWHEADS

Here is our first suggestion for the absolute best book on How to find Indian Arrowheads. Click on the book's cover below for information on how to order as well as to see what other customers have said about this book:

 

The next book listed below I'm now calling the 2nd best I've ever seen,
while the other books on finding arrowheads I simply found while searching
for sources for this museum article, so I can't recommend them at this point in
time, although I'm ordering them today, for myself and when I finish reading them,
I'll give my honest opinion as to their usefulness here. (If I find them to be
  lacking, they will be removed from this article; be sure to look at the  
  BOOK REVIEW on the bookstore page for my opinions on good books,  
  as well as those to avoid.) Also, I've included some GREAT on-line links  
explaining how you TOO can find ancient artifacts.
  Enjoy, and happy hunting !  
     
  Arrowheads & Stone Artifacts: A Practical Guide for the Amateur  
  Archaeologist by C.G.Yeager  
  In our (now) somewhat prejudiced opinion, this one is the second best guide for finding ancient arrowheads and artifacts. The reason I like this one is because of it’s organization. It first covers the legal aspects of our hobby (the author is a lawyer himself) and then it goes on to educate the reader about lithic types which were used for ancient tools, how artifacts were made and it also has a good section depicting "types" of arrowheads and other stone tools with sketches and photographs, and of course it’s two most important sections are titled "Where artifacts are found" and "How to hunt for artifacts". Basically this is a great "primer" for artifact hunters and it rounds-out the knowledge presented in my upcoming book. (I also like it because it's VERY inexpensive, for the information it imparts.)  
     
  Click on the Blue Link below the book to view or purchase this book.    
  By clicking on the Blue Link button below the books, you will NOT be  
  obligated to purchase the book, and you can view all of the information  
  about the book before making a decision.  
  Hint: Check out the table of contents !  
   
  The third book I recommend for pointers on how to find ancient artifacts is shown below; This one is not as "light" of a reading as the book above, and definitely has a HEAVY Archaeological "slant" with an emphasis on conducting organized and documented excavations (even of burials)... so it's intended as a "primer" for the serious Archaeology student. It has a few GREAT features, one being, it covers in more detail how to locate potential Archaeological sites for excavation and covers the incorporation of topology maps in your search. The 5 appendixes are VERY useful, as they list information by each state for Archaeological sites open to the public (and visiting these sites is one of my personal hunting techniques, as it provides insight as to what sort of terrain and land features you should be on the lookout for when searching for your own sites), Archaeological societies which you can join, listed again by state, a good listing of museums, etc. It has both photographs and professionally drawn pictures of artifacts and sites and even covers recording methods as well as artifact preservation techniques. Although most of the information in this book is "timeless", meaning that it still applies in this day and age, it was copyrighted in 1965, so the information given on museums and societies may no longer apply. Still a great read !  
  NOTE: The average price for this book "should be" between $9 and $20... avoid temporary "inflated pricing"!  
   
  Here are links to the other books available, which I haven't checked out  
  yet: (Click on the Blue "book title link"... you won't be committed to  
  actually buy it !)  
  Hmmm... my apologies, at the time of posting these to the museum page,  
  none of these were "in stock" on Amazon.com, so I can't give an honest  
  opinion on them at this time.  
     
  AH, HA !... I finally figured out how this works... if you DON'T SEE a  
  "Best Price" listed under the author's name, it means that that particular  
  book is NOT in stock at this time, although the book's "title-link" will still  
  work so that you can view whatever information is available about the  
  book.  
   
     
  And here are some useful "On-line" Links for pointers on how to find  
  ancient artifacts:  
  Arrowhead Hunter's Primer  
  How to search a creek bed for Indian arrowheads  
  How to Find Arrowheads and Other Native American (Indian) Artifacts  
     
  Okay... now that you've used the guides above, and have come back with buckets of Arrowheads... it might be nice  
  to be able to "classify" them, buckets of Arrowheads... it might be nice to be able to "classify" them, as to "type  
  name", age and value... here is a link to what has often been called "The Arrowhead Collectors' Bible"... It is  
  Overstreet's guide to the Identification and price guide to Indian Arrowheads by Robert M. Overstreet... this too is a  
  "MUST HAVE"... and covers EVERY angle imaginable about Arrowheads, from the flaking styles, to grading and  
  much much more... it contains photographs of EVERY known type of Arrowhead throughout the ENTIRE United  
  States and even includes Alaska... just to give an idea of how much information this book contains, it is 1-5/8"  
  thick, and is comprised of about 90% photographs !!! The 13th Edition is the latest Overstreet guide released but  
  this one's by a new publisher, and we haven't had time to check it out... the 12th edition is very respectible, so I've  
  listed both below, so you can choose.  
   
  And the following book we recommend for all other tools which the native Americans made and used... Indian & Eskimo Artifacts of North America by Charles Miles... If there is a single item that the Native American Indians made which isn't pictured in this book, I have no idea what it could possibly be. This book contains TONS of (Black & White) photos of everything imaginable, from bows and arrows to baskets, hunting utilities, food processing relics, footwear and clothing, adornments, gaming and more. Although it doesn't cover "types of Arrowheads" like Overstreet's book covers, for the breadth of artifacts covered in this publication, Charles did a VERY thorough job !... If you've ever held an artifact in your hand and asked yourself "What the heck is it ?", then this book's for you ! A GREAT book to learn more about all of the different types of relics created and used by the Native Americans in the pre-Columbian days ! (Better, still... I was able to get my copy for only 2.99, plus shipping... a solid bargain !)  
   
  The Museum Book Store  
     
  And here are more books on Indian Artifacts available through  
  Amazon.com: I've listed the many books written by Lar Hothem first,  
  as his publications tend to be very consistent and are usually packed with  
  page after page of mostly black & white photos with pricing and minimal  
  text, although he did tend to focus mainly on the mid-western states.  
  The exception to this is his book on "Paleo Indian Artifacts", the first one  
  shown below, which is in ALL COLOR and a MUST HAVE for Paleo  
  collectors everywhere.  
     
  *** A WORD OF CAUTION ABOUT ORDERING BOOKS ON-LINE ***  
     
  I have seen THE SAME book listed with prices ranging from 3.00 to more than 70.00... with no "great" difference in the condition of the book... so... shop wisely, and if a price seems to be unreasonable, have patience... sooner or later it WILL be offered at a reasonable price, since these books are offered by different sources throughout the United States. Also, don't neglect to use the "feedback" link on each book's description page, in order to see what others have said about the book... it often helps when trying to decide if a book is worth purchasing or not. And finally, don't shy away from the "Used" link for a book you're considering... often you'll find brand NEW books listed in this section, at bargain prices !  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
     
And... I am VERY sorry to say... there ARE FAKE arrowheads and artifacts
  out there which some unscrupulous people try to sell as being authentic...  
  The Book below, written by Jim Bennett, is the single best resource for  
  being able to tell the "Real Deal" from junk created by modern Arti-fakers:  
  Jim has a most refreshing writing style and explains every "feature" to look  
  for, when judging an item to be authentic or fake and has A LOT of color  
  photographs as examples of these features. Without using technical  
  (and boring) terms, Jim imparts a lot of knowledge, not only on how to  
  determine reproduction (fake) artifacts, but more importantly, how to  
  determine if an ancient artifact has been "altered" in modern times...  
  when I first bought Jim's book, I couldn't put it down until I had read the  
  entire book... and then, I immediately re-read it !... it's that interesting !...  
   (To quote Eddy Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, Trust me !)  
   
  For more Books on other Native American Indian topics, please visit  
  our website book store: The Book Store  
  AND, for our candid opinion about good books, and books to AVOID,  
  please see the "BOOK REVIEW" section on the book store page:  
  Book Review  
     
   "Other" books which we recommended in our book on "How to find Indian Arrowheads"  
     
   
     

 

Greg Perino out-of-print BOOK OFFERING

We have a limited supply of the out-of-print books titled "Selected Preforms, Points and Knives of the North American Indians" written by Greg Perino, who was considered by many to be "The Master" in the artifact authenticating world. These can be ordered by simply clicking on the email link below, and by sending the email. (You don't have to enter anything in the body of the email) You will be contacted by email to complete the order:
 
Selected Preforms, Volume 3 - $105 (Postage included)
Selected Preforms, Volume 2 (Unsigned) - $130 (Postage included)
Selected Preforms, Volume 2 (Signed copy) - $150 (Postage included)
 
Volume 2 starts with the arrowhead Abbey type and ends with the Zella type. there are a total of 302 points illustrated and described. some of these are Andice, backed knives, Dawson, First view, Goshen, Howard county, Massard, Nebo hill, Paisano, Raccoon, Stockton, Turin, Ulu, and Washita northern variety.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL of the Volume 2 books were stored in the author's garage for more than 10 years, and all of these have some very
slight, spotty "age discoloration" to the outer edges of some of the pages... despite this minor shortcoming, we still guarantee complete
customer satisfaction.
 
Volume 3 starts with the Acatta arrowhead type and ends with the Zora type, with a total of 256 point types covered. Some of those included are Armijo, bear arrow, belen, cobbs triangular, dane sharkstooth, frederick, folsom unfluted, glendo, jeff, kirk, oxbow, pedernales, pinwah, pulaski, st marion, steiner, tulare lake, and trujilo.
 
Okay... enough with the books... back out into the field and ancient stuff...

 

Petroglyphs, Indian "Rock Art"  
  Here are photographs of some of the Native American Indian "Rock Art", known as Petroglyphs, which are on display at the Gingko Petrified Forrest in Vantage, Washington.  
 
     
For Books on Petroglyphs across the United And click on the link below to visit one of  
States, please visit our website book store: the absolute BEST Pictograph/Petroglyph  
The Book Store websites I've ever seen !  
  http://www.petroglyphs.us/  

Only the Necessary... An article on "Un-finished" Tools:

 

I acquired the piece shown above, and I admired the "micro-flaking" on this knife's edge, and I wondered, what in the world would have prevented the ancient artisan from "completing his work" on what would have been a most beautiful piece... did he perhaps hear his child's cry for help, and abandon his work, only for someone to find this piece thousands of years later ? I kept turning the question over and over in my mind... "Why, had the ancient knapper not FINISHED this piece ?"  I showed this blade to another more experienced artifact advocate, and presented him with this question. His answer somewhat astounded me... he stated "this piece IS finished"... the ancient native Amerinds apparently only did what was necessary to accomplish their daily goals... in other words, they had "common-sense" ! They did no more and no less than what was necessary to accomplish their goal of survival or to accomplish the immediate task at hand. They constantly lived "in the present", a lesson we can learn from. So, this is a "finished" leaf blade, in as much as was needed at the time. When the edges became dull, the blade would be further "worked" as necessary, to once again create a sharp cutting edge. With this new knowledge, I had a different perspective on other artifacts which I found, and which are pictured below. The first is a butchering blade, the second is a Monterey chert hand-axe.

 

A "Broken" Folsom ?... Folsom Point Technology Explained

    This article was summarized from a conversation with Tom Westfall of Colorado, who is a collector of some 40 years, and who is a recognized Folsom "expert", with many publications under his belt. The Westfall Folsom Site in El Paso, Colorado, was named after Tom's son, who first discovered this site. (Tom's related comments appear below in parenthesis)  
    Is this a "Broken" Folsom ?  
    The answer is "sort of", but not for the reason you would imagine. Many people wrongly assume that a piece like this was damaged, loosing the tip during the fluting process... nothing could be further from the truth... read on...  
       
    The Folsom Technology in a nutshell...  
1)  First a Folsom "blank" was worked out (Tom stated that Folsom blanks are VERY rare)
2)   The base was then "roughed out" and prepared for fluting (See "How Clovis Points were made" below, for a better description of the fluting process)  
3)    The first side was then fluted (Tom mentioned that the success rate for this stage was usually 70 to 80% successful)  
4)    The base was then re-prepared (adding a "nipple" in the center) for the second flute  
5)    The second flute was then made (This was the Folsom's deadliest stage, having a success rate of 70%)  
6)    Next the micro-edgework was added to the blank  
7)    Next came the "snap tip" stage, where the Folsom's tip was intentionally "snapped off", normally at the edge of the longest flute  
    (This form is known as "Folsom Snap-tip" points, and explains exactly how the ancient  
    knappers could obtain a flute running all the way to the tip... they cheated !)  
8)    Micro-edgework was then done to "re-tip" the Folsom (This is why most Folsom's appear to have a "rounded" tip)  
9)    The basal edges and base were then ground in final preparation for hafting  
       
    So, the answer to the original question... "Is this a broken Folsom ?", is Yes... BUT the break was INTENTIONAL as part of the 7th step in the normal manufacturing process, making this a Folsom in one of its many "Pre-form" stages. (Tom also mentioned that "Snap-tip" Folsom points are very rare, he had only seen about 10 of these in all of his 40 years of collecting)  
    If you would like more information about the Folsom manufacturing process, please visit the website listed below for some AWESOME photos of all of the stages involved in the manufacturing of Folsom points:  
    Folsom Link: http://www.ele.net/folsom.htm  

Hammer Stones vs. Pecking Stones - The difference examined

  Hammer stones vs. Pecking stones - What are they and what is the difference between the two ? Both are technically "Hammer stones", simply of a different caliper. One can think of hammer stones as a "Sledge hammer" where pecking stones could best be compared to a "Ball peen hammer" (the small one with a rounded end) Hammer stones were used on the large "Mother or Core" stones of raw flint or chert material, in order to knock loose large fragments which could then begin the evolution into actual tools. Pecking stones, on the other hand, were used for direct percussion "shaping" and flaking of the tool being created. Characteristics between the two were similar, in that strikes from a hammer stone as well as a pecking stone, often dislodged pieces or fragments from the hammer stone in use. (Normally on two or more faces of the hammer/pecking stone) Because the striking action was more forceful with hammer stones, material dislodged from hammer stones tended to be larger than the marks left on a pecking stone:  
     
  Photos:              
A A group of two Hammer Stones (top) and 2 Pecking Stones (bottom) showing the relative size differences  
B Displays the normal grip for a hammer stone, along with the working (flat) side of the hammer stone  
C Also shows the normal grip for a hammer stone and it's "working" side  
D Shows one of the normal "end-grips" for a pecking stone  
E Shows the usage wear marks on one end of the pecking stone  
F Shows the usage marks on the other end of the same pecking stone  
G Shows the alternate "mid-back" grip for percussion flaking of a larger area, 
with less precision than when used with an end-grip
H Shows the positioning of the pecking stone, using an end grip, with a sample
  of the sort of flaking pattern this percussion method would produce on a "blank"  

What were Paleo Crescents used for?

Paleo Crescents:

It’s my opinion, based on where a majority of these are found in great numbers next to dried-up marshes, that these were used to harvest tule and cattail reeds for use in making cordage, sandals and as binding material for tools and arrowheads. I believe that these were hafted in the center on the end of a stick with the curved edges of the crescent forming a “frown” when the stick was held upright. I believe that these were used as a mini-sickle to cut the bottoms of the reeds, and then one of the ends of the crescent was inserted into the hole at one end of the reed in order to slit the reed into finer strands. The reason I think that the crescents were hafted in the middle is because almost all crescents have centers which are ground smooth for hafting, both on the concave side as well as the convex side.

"Weird" Ancient Tools and Weapons

  This section is dedicated to display and educate the public  
  about "Weird" and unusual ancient tools of the sort that you   
  just don't see very often.  

  I had originally listed this one as an "Unfinished" drilled stone pendant, but a knowledgeable collector corrected me by sending me the "true" use for this item...  most interesting...  
  It's not a partially drilled pendant, it's a palm protector for a pump drill for use with a fire starting drill. The tally mark indicates Southern Miwok, further south you find them with a cross  cut in them indicating the Tulare Lake region, (I have no idea why) and the Tulare Lake pieces used black steatite traded in from the coast and sometimes have tally marks around the outside edge.  Most often they are single holed.  

  Here is another form of palm protector for use with a fire starting pump drill. This one was found in a cave, approximately 90km north of Thessalon, Ontario, Canada. The depth of the cave was about 11 meters, and this one was found on the floor of the cave, 9 meters back from the cave's mouth in the early 1970's by Daniel Keiser, who kindly gave his permission to use both the photos and site information.  

  This is an interesting "trigger" pressure flaking tool made from an animal bone with almost no modification to become a useful tool. The "grip" for using this tool is shown in the last photograph.  

  This is a most unusual Arrowhead made from red railroad signal glass. After the contact between the Native American Indians and the European invaders (whom referred to themselves in a kinder term as "Colonizers") the Native American tool makers often made arrowheads from glass items such as bottles, railroad glass and the green/aqua-marine telegraph insulators ! It's most amazing because, these items were the final items made in the "Old Way", before the Natives abandoned working in stone altogether, in favor of the metal tools and weapons that the Europeans introduced to the Indian cultures.  

  This is a stone "Arrow shaft" straightening tool, a most unusual tool indeed. This piece was heated by fire, and arrow shafts which had even the slightest bend were "drawn" through the groove of this tool. The arrow shafts were most likely "soaked" in water for a number of days in order to make them more flexible and pliable. The "soaking" also prevented the wood arrow shafts from burning, while undergoing this straightening stage. An arrow HAD to be straight, in order to fly true to the intended target ! This process also had the added advantage of "hardening" the arrow shaft being treated. There was no end to the Native Indians' Ingenuity for survival !  

  This is a stone Atlatl shaft "wrench" used to bend out the "kinks" from an atlatl shaft. Smaller versions of this tool were also used on arrow shafts in the same fashion.  

  The final stage in creating an arrow shaft was to make the shaft smooth as a baby's behind. This was the tool which was use to accomplish that purpose. This is known as an "Arrow shaft abrader" and served the same purpose as our sandpaper serves today in the wood-working world.  

  ATLATL PARTS  
1) The top photograph shows an atlatl "spur". This was tied to the end of the atlatl (throwing stick) with the thick, curved end sticking upwards at the end of the atlatl board, and the end of the shaft of the javelin was placed against the spur for launching.  
2) The second photograph shows a single grooved atlatl weight. These were tied to the underside of the atlatl, in order to give extra balance and power to the throw  
3) The third photograph shows a double grooved atlatl weight, which was used in the same fashion as the atlatl weight above.  
4) The forth photograph shows "finger rings" made from curved shells. These were drilled on both ends for attaching to the atlatl's handle, and were then used to provide a nice, natural grip when manipulating the atlatl. These atlatl finger rings are more common in the southern central states, into Mexico.  

  Donut Stones  
  Picture above are two "Donut Stones" which were used near the bottom of pointed "digging sticks" to add extra weight and power to the stick when driving it vertically downwards into the ground in order to dig up edible and medicinal roots. Another variant of the donut stone has a groove leading from one side of the hole, and travelling all around to the opposite side. This variant was actually a net weight, and the groove was made so that cordage could be used to attach the donut stone to sections of fishing nets.  

  Net Weights  
  Pictured above are two "Net Weights" which were tied to the bottom of fishing nets woven from plant fiber  

Dispatching Weapon  
  Used in peace time to deliver the final death blow to wounded animals during a hunt, also doubled as a handy war club in times less peaceful  

Patina Explained

What a difference a day makes... or in this instance, approximately 1,460,000 of 'um. On the left is an Ashtabula dart point from the late Archaic period, between 1500 and 4000 years old and on the right is a Dove Tail point from the early Archaic period between 8000 and 9500 years old. Both of these were made from mottled blue Coshocton chert, quite possibly from the same quarry site in Ohio, but the much older Dove Tail point shows heavy patina from aging. Patina is a discoloration which occurs to the surface of artifacts after they've been exposed to the elements, soil and weather changes over hundreds of years. Many times this discoloration, or "coating" has a foggy appearance. (Such as in this example) Patina differs greatly from stone type to stone type and often patina can turn a snow white host stone solid black in appearance and conversely patina can turn a black host stone a frosty white color. (Especially in desert areas where artifacts not only experience a bleaching process from exposure to the sun, but also take on what is termed "desert polish" from blown sand contacting the surface of artifacts over hundreds of years in time.) 

Here is an excellent example of a very old Monterey chert partial, which I found in a plowed field. It's a classic example of how very dark host stone material can take on a much lighter patina from being sun-bleached over thousands of years. From the break, which was most likely caused by farming machinery, you can see how the patina actually penetrates the surface of the stone, leaving lighter layers surrounding the host stone's true color, which was a deep rootbeer brown. Monterey chert is a California-specific lithic, not to be found in other states, and, because of the layering, is often mistakenly identified as petrified wood.

And here is an excellent example of the exact opposite effect from the Monterey chert example above, where a much lighter green Franciscan chert knife partial has patinated to nearly a pitch-black color. From a more recent edge nick, and a small circular nick to the bottom, one can readily see the light green color of the original host stone. Franciscan chert is a California-specific lithic, not to be found in other states, with the possible exception of inter-tribal trading amongst the ancients.

Mineralization explained, what is it and what does it look like ?

  Mineralization also termed mineral deposits are caused when iron or other metallic or organic  
  substances migrate from the soil and attach themselves onto the surface of an artifact, building up  
  over hundreds of years in time. These deposits often appear as dark brown dots, some as small as  
  the head of a pin and resembling tar. Many times they appear in numbers, and are "chained" together.  
  (bottom photo) The deposits are 3D in nature, and extend outward from the surface of an artifact.  
  The mineral deposits often form their own mineral stain "halo" surrounding the actual mineral  
  deposit, as shown in all of the photos above. When cleaning relics, one must take care to not  
  eliminate or remove the mineral deposits, as they are the absolute best way of determining that an  
  artifact is in fact ancient and authentic. Note: Arti-fakers often attempt to "simulate" mineral  
  deposits through a variety of chemical methods. For more information, See Jim Bennett's book on  
  "Authenticating Ancient Indian Artifacts"  

How Clovis points were made

Questions & Answers - About the Native American Indians' Way of Life

  I'm often asked "Did all native American Indians make arrowheads ?"... and my answer is this... Most modern men know how to change a tire on a car, and most know how to also change the oil in a car, but very few of these men would call themselves "Mechanics"... so it was with the Ancients... almost all males in their society could "rough-out" a usable knife when needed "in the field", but there were true artisans of the flint-knapping profession and many members of their tribes would turn to them to provide these necessary stone tools. Items were bartered for the needed stone implements, and I can imagine that some were likely "traded for a promise"... something along the line of, if you give me this arrowhead, I'll give you a portion of the kill I make when I use it.  
     
  Q: Should I clean my arrowheads ?  
  A: Certainly... Just NOT harshly, and not with chemicals (other than ascetone)   
  A soft toothbrush or fingernail brush with warm water usually works nicely...  
  it's alright to remove dirt, but what you don't want to disturb on the surface  
  of any artifact is the patina (the coloration the surface takes on through  
  exposure to the elements over the ages) nor the mineral deposits...  
  these are indicators of antiquity, and are often used to establish a relic's  
  authenticity.  

 

How To Professionally "Label" Your Artifacts

 
  Materials Needed: These are obtainable at just about any art supply store, and can even be ordered on-line over the internet    
  1 Small calligraphy pen holder (Also termed a "quill" pen)  
  1 (or more, as these do tend to wear out) very fine calligraphy pen tip, also known as "nibs". I use a number 104, but don't take this as gospel truth, as other sizes may produce more favorable results for you.  
  1 small bottle of white acrylic WATER SOLUBLE paint  
  1 small bottle of clear nail polish  
1 "composition" log book
(Please see the photos at the bottom of this long-winded article)

Choosing A "Code System"

Many years ago, when I first started labeling my artifacts, I used prefixes of "P" for purchased artifacts, "A" for artifacts I obtained from an auction, and so on, followed by a unique number for each prefix. Later I got smart and took a friend's advice, specifically, I now label artifacts with 2 numbers, separated by a "dot". The first number indicates the number of the Artifact "Log Book" which contains the information about the artifact, and the second number is the sequential number of the artifact within this log book. This method is much simpler and allows me to start with artifact #1 every time I start a brand new log book. This prevents artifact numbers from becoming too long to fit on the relic itself. It also makes locating an artifact MUCH easier, as with the old system, "P"-items became interspersed with "A"-items and after a couple of log books it became a real chore to locate anything ! Some people like to include the County and State where the artifact was found in the artifact's label. If the relic being labeled is large enough, I would encourage this practice. Another mistake I made early on was "doubting" my ability to find artifacts out in the field, so I included my "personal finds" in the same log book as purchased artifacts. This proved to be a mistake as the personal finds logged made it even more difficult to locate items quickly. Even if you're only a semi-serious hunter, I would encourage you to use a separate log book for personal finds. The only drawback to an "All numeric" system is, if a log book were to become lost, it would be near impossible to re-construct the artifacts' information. For this reason, I keep photo copies of my log books in a safety deposit box, and I update additional photo copies every 10 pages or so.

What To Record In The Log Book

First of all, be sure to label the cover of a new log book with a title ("Indian Artifacts Logbook"), the starting date for the entries which are to go into this book (and the ending date once you have filled-up the log book) as well as the number of the log book itself. I put clear tape over the log book's cover labels so that they won't wear away with time. I also leave the first 3 and last 3 pages of each log book BLANK, in order to be able to add an index, or "Pre-log" notes at a later date. (This is especially useful to define other "codes" which are used in the logbook along with an explanation of the meaning of the codes.) Next, for each artifact, I put the number of the artifact in the log book's left hand margin. (If you use the numbering system I recommend above, you don't have to include the first number in the log book, since this is the number of the log book itself) Next, to the right side of the margin which has the artifact's number, I like to record the date that I obtained the artifact in the log books center (wide) column, and I record the price I paid for the artifact in the right hand margin on this first line. Follow this with a "Scientific", impersonal description of the item, which should include: Size, color(s), material it's made from, the "type name" of the artifact (Dovetail, Rose Springs, etc.), what sort of tool it is (Arrowhead, knife blade, scraper, etc.), the period it is from (Paleo, Archaic, etc.), the age of the artifact within it's specified period followed by any other distinguishing "features" the relic might have. (color "patterns", basal grinding, flaking patterns such as micro-flaking, fire-popping, damage, etc.) Next, if you have this information, it's always wise to record the person who found the artifact, the location where it was found in as much detail as possible and the date that it was found, if known, as well as who you purchased the artifact from and his/her current contact information including address, phone number, email address, etc. At a bare minimum, one should record at least the County and State where the relic was recovered. Finally, you should record the dimensions of the artifact as: length x width x thickness or height. One way to get around recording measurements of the artifact, is to trace an outline of the artifact below the log book number; I'm lazy, so this is my preference. An example of a properly documented artifact would be: 2.15 - 1/15/07 - 150.00 Log book 2, 15th artifact documented in this log book, purchased on 1/15/07 for 150.00. A small, thick light red jasper Malaga Cove Leaf knife blade from the Developmental phase dating between 700 and 1,500 years old. Recovered near Old Mill Creek in Sonoma County, CA by John Smith in 1972. Has ancient damage to the tip and 1 tang. Purchased from Mark Dunning, 1111 some street, Yakima, WA followed by phone and email address.

Getting Started

Before attempting to label a real artifact, you should locate a smooth-faced stone, which you can practice on. When you're comfortable that you're getting the desired results with your "practice stone" proceed with labeling the real artifacts in the following fashion. First identify side A and side B of the artifact. (Side A is the side you intend to show if the artifact was placed in a display case, while side B is the "less attractive" side of the artifact.) The label should be placed on side B. Locate a fairly flat section on side B for the label. Try to avoid ledges and hinges for the label area because ink which gets into these areas will be most difficult to remove. Choose the flattest area you can find. (Tip: If the artifact is broken, see if it's feasible to put the label on the broken edge, leaving both faces of the artifact "clean")
 

How To Use The Calligraphy Pen

 
  First, press the pen tip into the pen's plastic body. Shake up the bottle of paint. Dip the tip of the pen into the paint far enough to fill the pen tip's "reservoir". There are a couple of tricks I use before actually trying to label the artifact. Normally, the very first stroke from a freshly loaded pen tip comes out too thick, whereas the second stroke is usually much finer and gives much more desirable results, so, while holding the artifact between my thumb and index finger, I "dab" the entire bottom of the pen tip's reservoir on the base of my thumb, then I dip the very tip of the pen into the ink on the base of my thumb and I then touch the very tip of the pen to my thumbnail to "prime" the flowing of the ink from the pen's tip. Then I gently touch the tip of the pen to the artifact to draw-out a bead of ink. The pen should not actually touch the artifact, but ideally one should let the ink/paint be "drawn" from the pen tip onto the surface of the artifact with each stroke. (This DOES take some practice !) Once the label is completed, let the paint dry for 3 to 5 minutes, then cover the label with a thin layer of clear nail polish so that the label is "water proof".  
     
 

How To Log Personal Finds

 
  First of all, start a new "Personal Finds" Logbook, as personal finds can usually be logged in more detail than purchased artifacts. Be sure to leave the first 3 and the last 3 pages BLANK, for later notes and code explanations. Archaeological coding is usually done by a combination of a State designator, County designator, Site number and artifact number from this given site. I've discarded this method in favor of the simplified "All Numeric" system with one slight addition; I label the "Personal Finds" log books as "P1, P2, etc." (P standing for "Personal") to differentiate them from other logs used to record purchased artifacts. Be generous when recording personal finds. I always include a detailed map of each site, along with "mileage measurements" (from given "fixed" points, such as an intersection) and land "features" of the site (hills, creeks, groupings of trees, and so on) in order to facilitate easy location of the site for future outings. I give a name to each site I've discovered myself, and the detailed information and map are ONLY added to the very first log entry for this site. I then add the site name to one of the first 3 blank pages and list the page number which contains the site's map and description for the first log entry from this site. If a site is especially productive, I also add the page numbers of subsequent site trips, if those trips were productive and resulted in "log-able finds". In subsequent site trips, I always mark the date of the trip and the general condition of the site on that date before recording the artifacts recovered during that trip. (Often the condition of any site will change with the seasons, and some sites may become more difficult to search due to vegetation growth or other factors during a specific season.)  
 

 

 
 

How To Remove Labels

 
  If you've used the proper type of water soluble ink (paint), nail polish remover on a Q-Tip should remove the label completely and without a trace. BE SURE to try this on your "Practice stone", to verify that you're using the proper materials ! Also, while labeling an artifact, if you're not happy with the results, use a damp cloth to erase the label and try again.  
     
 

Additional Miscellaneous Notes

 
  Water soluble black ink can be used, but I prefer to always use white, whenever possible. Be VERY careful with rock items which have a "Porous" surface and DON'T try to label these at all !... when labeling artifacts, you don't want to do ANYTHING to an ancient artifact which is NOT TOTALLY reversible ! IF an artifact's surface is too porous to label, I use one of the last 3 blank pages to list the item numbers of "unlabelled" artifacts, so that their logbook entry can also be located easily. (This is also the way to document artifacts which are too small or too delicate to label.) A desktop magnifying glass with built-in florescent lighting helps tremendously while attempting to make the label as small as possible. Always remember: A properly labeled and documented collection is MUCH more valuable than an un-documented collection... and monetary considerations set aside, properly documenting artifacts is the responsible thing to do; we are all simply "caretakers" of these beautiful pieces of history, and they will pass into another caretaker's hands at some point in time, so we should always strive to "pass on" as much information as we can about each artifact thorough proper documentation to the next owner.  
  Final note: When a labeling session is done, don't forget to wash out any left over ink from the pen's tip, so that it will be ready to use in the next labeling session !  
     
  The Tools:  
   
  The Labeling Session:  
   
  The Log Book:  
   
  Labeled Artifacts:  
   

 

For more museum related information, please visit our friend, Curtis Smith, who has an ABSOLUTELY FANTISTIC web page, for the Archaeologically inclined persons... just click on his link below:
Texas Arrowheads and Indian Artifacts

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