We all have a collecting story. I'd like to share several of mine.
I have collected artifacts since grade school. As of this writing, that
was more than seventy years ago. It all started on a nighttime fishing outing
with my father. We went fishing for catfish on the East Fork of the Lamoine
River. We would fish a bend in the river and were always lucky. I carried
a miner's carbide lamp to light the way as we returned home around 10 PM.
As we were walking, I spotted a small white object in the dark soil and picked
it up - my first arrowhead!
|AT TOP: Figure 1. The Quadriconcave Gorget of banded slate. It is drilled
from both sides and measures 3 3/16 inches long by 2 1/8 inches wide.
Above left: Figure 2. The Trapezoidal Pendant of slate showing two shades
of color. It is 3¾ inches in length and 1 ¾ inches wide.
Above right: The Bi-concave gorget of banded slate with the holes drilled
from one side. It is 3 7/8 inches long and 2 ¾ inces wide. It’s
holes are almost one inch apart. These three artifacts all date to the
Adena Cultural Period.
The point was in a washout. The next morning I returned to the same spot
and searched for more. In all, I found 16 notched bird points. I was hooked.
I later took them all to school, only to have them stolen. But that didn't
stop me and throughout my life I have searched, collected, traded and acquired
all sorts of artifacts. Many of these were from my friends and neighbors.
As a younger man I loved to play baseball. It was always hot and humid in
Illinois during the summer, especially where I lived in the town of Sheldon
Grove. So I went to the local corner store to buy a coke. They were only
a nickel then. I noticed while paying that in the cabinet at the register
was a neat black stone artifact. It had thirty-five cents written on it.
I had to have it right there and then. Ilearned later that it was a small
adz. In 1978, I was walking the Zeke Schmidt farm. Looking down I noticed
a dark form in the dirt. Bending over, I picked up an undamaged adz, and
a fine one at that! Then ten years later, on the Crabtree Farm in the same
county I found another fine adz, a large one made of a speckled granite.
In 1979 Douglas Wayland and Fred Aveny were hunting fields in McDonough
County, Illinois. As the two of them walked across a field, Douglas picked
up a fine Quadriconcave gorget. This Adena period artifact was made from
a beautiful banded slate with a lighter colored area that meanders like a
river on the bottom. This area is sided by a translucent brown colored material.
Fred coaxed the gorget from Douglas, and I acquired it from him shortly after.
One day, Frey Aveny invited Marion Dixon,whose brother Don Dixon was the
owner of Dickson Mounds, to come hunt the same site where earlier the Quadriconcave
gorget had been found. It had been nearly a year since they found the gorget.
Shortly after entering the field, Marion found a beautiful Bi-concave gorget.
I begged him over and over to let me have it, and he finally relented. I
now had two artifacts from the same site!
Ed Black farmed the land adjacent to the Mc-Donough Site, near present day
Tennessee, Illinois. His neighbors often talked about his encounter with
a timber rattlesnake in his farmhouse yard. One lucky day in 1980 he found
a very fine and undamaged Trapezoidal Pendant. Since my father and Ed were
High School friends, he allowed me to have it soon after he found it.
Every time I look at an artifact in my collection, the memory of how I acquired
it comes to mind. I'm sure that's true of every collector.
Upper left: Adz from the Walt Crabtree Farm, Tazewell
County, Illinois. Found in 1988. Reverse round, obverse flat,
slightly longer than 6 ½ inches. Upper right: Similar adz from
Zeke Schmidt farm, Tazewell County, Illinois. Found in 1978. Reverse
side round, obverse flat. 4 ¼ inches long. Lower right: Adz from
Sheldon grove, Illinois, Schuyler County, Illinois. Acquired 1951. 3
inches long, by 2 ¼ inches wide. Reverse side round, obverse side
slightly cupped. Photo: Mike Karr