Aboriginal art, especially Native American art, has a large following of collectors. Baskets, pottery, beadwork, and ceremonial objects capture the majority of the attention, but amazingly beautiful bits of Aboriginal art can be found literally underfoot.
As a Boy Scout I covered a lot of ground on foot. During those treks along forest paths, and the open grasslands of Texas we were always on the hunt. Eyes carefully watching for the slightest sign of our quarry along the way. When we camped, we spread out in huge circles cutting back and forth waiting for the victory whoop from one of our companions, or maybe to give voice to a screech of our own. When the yell came the entire troop descended on the location of the lucky Scout, each hoping to secure his own memento of the day.
What were we hunting so diligently?
Arrowheads! Remnants of the great civilizations that spanned this continent before the final European invasion began in 1492. Signs of the hunters of mammoth and other megafauna now long extinct. Tools of people who lived with the land instead of upon it.
Any boy who grows up in the country, or spends any time in rural areas, eventually tries to find arrowheads, and they are very often successful. Most of the time the find is a broken point of some kind, but genuine treasures are out there waiting to be discovered.
Intact stone arrow points, spear points, and knife blades are beautiful works of art that require very real skills to manufacture. Anyone who doubts this should look at a copy of “The Art of Flint Knapping” by D. C. Waldorf or attend a local “knap-in” to get a first-hand look at this amazing art form.
Collectors of stone points often meet to buy, sell, and trade their treasures, and top specimens can bring good prices. The 1984 edition of “North American Indian Points” published by Books Americana Inc. lists a complete Clovis spear point for $40-$60.
In 2010 Heritage Auctions sold a large Clovis point for $1,075.50. Talk about appreciation! http://fineart.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=6036&lotNo=53188
Arrow points can range in price from under a dollar to $5 dollars each. The most popular styles are the “gem” or “bird” points. These miniature points were not intended for hunting birds as the name implies. Most aboriginal cultures hunt birds and small game with blunt arrows that kill through impact rather than hemorrhage. Gem points were commonly made as examples of the knapper’s skill and occasionally used as ornaments.
In his book “Hunting with the Bow & Arrow”, Saxton Pope, talks about his friend Ishi (1860-1916). Ishi was the last member of the Yahi people and the Yana Nation of California. He often made gem points out of the bottoms of glass bottles to demonstrate the making of arrowheads.
Framed collections of gem points are popular with collectors, and can bring good prices depending on the age of the points and completeness of the collection. http://fineart.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=5000&lotNo=48340
One of the coolest things about collecting arrowheads is the health benefits. Arrowheads are found across the North American continent, and most of them are found by folks out for a walk in rural areas. Rockhounds and fossil hunters tend to find points as a routine part of their hobby because these tools are commonly found at Stone Age hunting sites and stone quarries where chert and flint are common. Another great place to hunt arrowheads is a freshly plowed farm field, with the owner’s permission of course. So get out away from the pavement and keep a sharp eye out. That funny rock over there may be something more than a rock.
*This author in no way advocates the disturbance of ANY Native American archeological site. “Pot hunters” who pillage Aboriginal grave sites are committing crimes against history, and the people buried there. These ancestors deserve the respect and reverence each of us would show our own relatives. Period.
PLEASE limit all arrowhead hunting to publicly accessible areas where fossil collecting and rock hounding are legal.
Originally Posted on http://blog.ha.com/