Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies
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Dads Best Find

by Robert Woolard

Central States Archaeological Societies 2008 January Journal

Little Rock Arkansas

Two beautiful three and one quarter inch long Graham Cave points found by Cecil Woolard in Poinsett County, Arkansas in May 1981.

At the age of fourteen in 1968, I found my first arrowhead. The thrill of that moment of discovery was indescribable and instantly touched something deep inside of me. As it turned out, there were several sites within a couple of miles of my house. I rode my trusty moped to each one of them as often as I could.

Within just a few months, my Mom started joining me in surface hunting, and she quickly grew to love it as well. Now with her driving, I was able to extend my range of sites. My collection started to take off. It took a bit longer for my Dad to “catch the fever.” He mentioned seeing lots of arrowheads while growing up and working in the fields but had never thought much about them. Soon he too was drawn in by our obvious excitement, and surface hunting became a true family affair. Over the next three decades, the three of us would spend many happy hours in this pursuit.

On a typical trip together in the fields, we would walk alongside, using the plowed rows to keep us on track. This enabled us to talk to each other while hunting the site in an organized fashion. It also allowed us to see each other’s finds in situ, which added greatly to the thrill of every find. We tried to go out together as often as we could. This became impossible as time marched on and I left for college.

It became even more difficult when I got married and started a job that required me to move about two hundred miles away. But whenever I was able to make it back home we almost always managed to get in at least a little bit of hunting. Mom and Dad both continued to hunt over the years.

On one such trip in May 1981, Dad was the only one of us who was free to go hunting. It had rained very hard the night before. Some locations received as much as nine inches. Dad knew that one of our recently discovered sites were deeply bedded and would be in perfect shape for hunting after the pounding rain. When he arrived at the site, the whole ridge was completely surrounded by a virtual lake that had formed overnight. He had to take off his boots and wade in knee deep water over to the site. But when he finally reached it, Dad could see that it was well worth the effort. The loose soil had been washed away, right down to the hardpan all around the edge of the ridge. Flint chips were everywhereand Dad started finding points immediately. This particular site had been occupied by both Paleo and Archaic peoples, and had produced several nice points on earlier trips, including Dalton and Hardin points. He found several fairly nice examples of each, but none of them were of exceptional quality. After having covered most of the site, Dad was about ready to leave when, suddenly, he spotted a spectacular Graham Cave point. It was resting on the newly exposed hardpan. Then he almost couldn't believe it when he noticed another point, a close twin to the first! It was only about six feet away and further down the slope of the ridge.

When Dad called later that evening the excitement in his voice was evident. His first words to me “Well. I found what I’ve been looking for the last 12 years!” We talked for over an hour or more with him telling me all the details of the hunt. I’ll never forget the thrill in Dad’s voice as he proudly told me of what we would always refer to as his best find and how much he wished that Mom and I could have been there with him that day.


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