Radio interview source: Steve Lewis, Native American Artifact Collector, American Arrowhead
Listen here to the radio story (mp3) or read below
Native Americans left behind stone tools and other artifacts that have stood the test of time. If you search your land, you might be surprised at what you find.
Steve Lewis is an avid artifact collector with American Arrowheads dot com. He says artifact hunting on most public ground is illegal, but is usually allowed on your own property. Arrowheads, blades, and other tools are tough to find. Knowing key places to look will increase your odds. "Any place that's plowed, generally after a good rain. If you have fresh dirt the rain washes the dust and loose dirt off the tops of the artifacts and exposes them," Lewis says. "Secondly if you have a source of water on your property like a creek or if it joins a river, the shorelines are always excellent areas to look. Anyplace where the topsoil gets disturbed gives a great opportunity to hunt artifacts."
Lewis says Native Americans lived and camped near water and on high ground. Unless you know there was an ancient village on your land, don't bother digging. Most artifacts will be spotted on the surface.
Though rarely found, Indian graves or human remains of any kind should be reported to authorities. However, you may find signs that you are near where a burial once existed. Lewis says, "Whenever you find a high concentration of beads, loose shell beads, or stone beads, it's probably a pretty good indication that there's a gravesite there or very close by. It's not to say that you can't collect beads, but be aware that they were probably adorning some poor deceased relative many hundreds of years ago."
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether a find is truly an artifact or just an interesting rock. Lewis advises buying a reference book on Native American artifacts, or search online. Possible resrouces include: