Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies

You Never Know What You Might Find

Al Downs

Central States Archaeological Societies 2005 April Journal

Paducah, Kentucky

You Never Know What You Might Find

Archaic blade made from Paoli or Carter Cave chert. It was found by Al Downs in Ballard County, Kentucky.


On March 15, 2000, I walked my first creek looking for arrowheads, rocks, etc. After walking a couple of fields, my buddy, Eric Potts,
suggested that we go walk a creek in which he had found some points the last time he walked it. Eric found four points, and I found one good broken piece. I was hooked.

In the past five years I have been fortunate enough to find super points and blades. One of these is my “Millennium Lost Lake” (my story about finding it is in the CSAS Journal, July 2001, Volume 48 Number 3), which I found it the second time I walked a creek. It is my find of a lifetime.

On December 28 2001, Eric and I were walking a creek that required us to break ice in the slow moving pools, but when we got to the shallow sections there was very little ice and none in some parts . Eric found the first point of the day, a real nice dovetail lying on the clean hardpan bottom in about two inches of water. A little later I spied a blade under a thin shelf of ice, and when I got a better look I could see that it didn’t have a base but had steep beveling. I called Eric over to look at it before I picked it up, and we could both see that it was a fine archaic piece with superior serrations. I then broke the ice and reached down into the water to pick it up. When I did so, I could feel the serrations on the blade edges. This is one of my top five finds!

In 2002 I sent it to Dennis Bushey to get the base restored. When people come by my table at artifact shows, I ask everyone to pick out a point (my Millennium Lost Lake excluded) that they would love to find the next time they hunt artifacts, and almost everyone picks this piece!

On January 14, 2005, while walking the same creek in which I had found the beveled blade, I found a flint flake that had the same red and green color lines running through it. These colors and lines match up with the same color and lines that were on the blade when I found it. In the photo you can see how it all matches up. I think it is amazing to have found a flint flake that possibly came from the same piece of rock that the blade came from! This was three years after I found the blade. I sent a photo of the blade and flint flake to Tony DeRegnaucourt for his opinion as to what type of material the blade was made of, and he said it is probably Paoli / Carter Cave chert or possibly Horse Creek chert.

Every point I have, I found, and every point I found, I still have. I’m not thinking about point values and money when I’m walking. I just feel fortunate to be able to walk and pick up a piece of history, something someone made thousands of years ago, and be the first person to touch it after all those years. I’ve had people tell me they don’t pick up pieces of flint. I do, because you never know what you might find.

Tony DeRegnaucourt
Upper Miami Valley Archaeological Research Museum


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