Lost artifacts of the past are endlessly fascinating. To realize you’re holding something in your hand that is possibly hundreds of years old is a humbling experience. It’s not as if arrowheads were manufactured on an assembly line. They were fashioned by hands long dead and gone—by someone whose thoughts, feelings, and intentions are no more.
To find arrowheads, you have to put yourself in the place of those who made them. Where would a people in a time of primitive technology live, and what would they do? Riverbanks, open and farmable land, springs, and where rivers or creeks join make excellent hunting grounds.
These are the best places to find arrowheads because these are the places where people would gather. They didn’t have bottles of Dasani water in convenience stores. People tended to set up camp or lay down long-term roots close to sources of water and places where hunting was good.
5 Tips for Hunting Arrowheads
So long as you are on private land or have special permission to hunt arrowheads on whatever land you happen to be on, there are some guidelines to help you on your way.
1. Research & understand what you’re looking for
Arrowhead hunting in creeks is one thing, but that’s certainly not the only place Native Americans traveled. Google, Bing, Presearch, Yahoo, or whatever search engine you prefer is your friend, along with your local library.
The library will have documentation on the historical stories that often go back a hundred years or more. They’ll also have maps. The point is, if you want to be successful at hunting arrowheads, you need to know how Natives moved across the land, what compelled them, and where the likely camping spots were.
2. Consider the landscape and what it used to be
There’s nothing more helpful than a history book, and one of the most important things you can find is geographical/topographical maps of the area that are as old as you can get them. The best place to start is your local public library, where such maps are either reprinted or in their system.
3. Try to find evidence of Indian camps
This part won’t be easy. The best way to start is to, once again, dredge up local information about the area. Find local properties that are also on historical lands. Get permission before you go but talk to people first. Find out what they know. Local historians are veritably endless pools of information. Once you know everything you need, it will be much easier to both find and identify old Native camps.
4. Walk the creeks
Nature has its way of dredging things up. Bring a metal detector along the way because arrowheads aren’t the only thing you are likely to find. A good sand sifter will work as well, especially if you find a good spot. You won’t have to dig much, but a folding shovel is always a good idea.
5. Get out there!
You’ll never find anything, Native American arrowhead or otherwise if you don’t look. You’ll have better luck matching socks out of the dryer than finding arrowheads in your living room. Get out, explore, and most importantly—research.
FAQ’s about Arrow Heads
How deep are arrowheads Buried
Most Native American arrowheads are found on shallow ground, less than 6 inches. Of course, it can’t just be any ground, either. On private property, it’s fine to dot the landscape with shallow dug holes until your heart is content.
Everywhere else is likely to be a source of contention or downright illegality. On public grounds, regardless of your state, you’re not even allowed to pick up a discovered arrowhead. Historical finds are fiercely protected no matter how ho-hum it ends up being.
How to find arrowheads in creeks
At some point or another, everything travels to the lowest point. Creeks that wind their way through hills are the best places to look for arrowheads. Arrowheads that weren’t dropped on the banks of the creeks may inevitably end up there anyway, thanks to natural drainage from decades of rainfall.
Later, as hundreds of years go by, the constant cycle of freezing and thawing will press rocks and other things, like arrowheads, up to the surface or close enough to dig for with minimal effort. Small creeks and naturally manufactured ditches where water flow is frequent are among the best places to find arrowheads.
How to find arrowheads in the Woods
Hunting for arrowheads in the woods is a matter of deduction. Eliminate anything that is very far from water. Look for high spots near water, where potential campsites would have had good visibility and were well above the waterline in case the creeks or riverbeds rose during heavy rain.
Remember, Natives often didn’t have permanent living spots. They traveled where the game was abundant, often following buffalo herds. Put yourself in their place and be mindful of the fact that a good camping spot now was a good camping spot then.
It’s not like digging for gold. Arrowheads are abundant. They’re not exactly common but not a rare find by any means. You’ll have your best luck close to rivers, creeks, and other bodies of water, where the land is high, providing good visibility.
Tilled fields are another good place to look since arrowheads are far more likely to be found in soft earth rather than hard. There’s no better way to till up the shallow artifacts of ancient hands than tilling the earth.
Last but not least, libraries are your greatest allies. Unfortunately, they aren’t as popular as they once were, which is a shame considering the level of secrets and historical information they often contain. Do your homework, put yourself in a Native’s place from long ago, and bring along a metal detector. You never know what you might find.
Visit the OutdoorWorld Reviews homepage for more expert information and tips!