Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies

Beginners Luck

Al Downs
Paducah, Kentucky

Over the past twenty-five years of duck and goose hunting in western Kentucky, I stumbled upon an "arrowhead" occasionally, but it was not until the spring of 1999 that I began seriously looking for them. I started by walking fields in Ballard County, Kentucky, where I found several points, but nothing exceptional until the spring of 2000.

On March 15, 2000, I had just finished walking another field in Ballard County and was heading back down the road to another field, when I met Eric Potts, a buddy of mine. We walked two fields together, but neither of us had much luck, so Eric suggested we try a creek he had walked previously.  Our luck was better there, for in just a short while, he found four points and I picked up a good broken piece. Not bad for my first creek, I thought.

A few days later, on March 21, I went back to the creek and walked a section that Eric said he had never searched. After about thirty minutes, I had found nothing.  Then, looking into a pool of water at the end of a small mound of gravel, I spied what looked like a leaf lying on the bottom of  the creek bed.  I touched it with my walking stick and discovered it was not a leaf. Realizing it was truly a point, I reached into the six or so inches of water and grasped it.  I could feel the edge of  the point, and as it cleared the water and I could take a good look, I was so excited that my heart started  pounding.  I realized I was holding an exceptional piece even though I did not know what kind of point I had. I just thanked the good Lord and put the piece into my jacket pocket. I walked about fifty more yards, all the while patting the point in my pocket just to reassure myself that it was still there.  Then I spied a smaller point, which I quickly retrieved. At this point, even though it was not yet lunchtime, I decided to call it a day and headed back to my truck and home. Once there, I showed the smaller point to my wife first,  then  pulled out the "killer" piece.

The next day I took both points to work with me and showed them to my buddy. That is when I found out that the smaller one was a perfect 2 1/4" Big Sandy and the larger one was a 5 3/8" x 1 3/4" Lost Lake made of Dover chert.

I sent the large point to Gregory Perino to get his opinion.  He authenticated it as a Lost Lake, "a large knife form that has had one resharpening that was beginning to create beveled cutting edges and barely reducing the size of the blade. It is from the Archaic Period dating back to 7500 BP range."

Needless to say, my beginners luck  turned out to be a find of a lifetime. I feel I owe that luck to my buddy, Eric Potts, who got me started walking creeks.

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