A Special Day

It seems that ninety five percent of the time when I find a hardstone relic, I will find a second hardstone relic too. I like those odds - it makes a body feel special. The date of May 20 1995 was one of those days - it was a special day for me. This was the day that my brother Doug and I searched for Indian relics together for the first time in approximately four years.

Doug, my younger brother, and I have been Indian relic hunting for years together since I lived in St. Louis Missouri in the 1970's and got him interested in the hobby. Since then we have both been searching for relics whenever time permitted. Time permitted for me more than him, but we liked to go together whenever possible. We both had a few years in the mid 1990's that kept us both busy and from searching for relics.

Ax found May 20 1995The stars lined up and our time line cleared, that mild summer of 1995. We struck out for a field close to our childhood home which I have been searching for the last 20 odd years. We talked about years past and the many good finds that we had made from the field, and that lately the finds have been thinning. As we arrived at the field, the fields close to the road were still unplowed, but the far corner of the field had been plowed some time ago in the early spring, and was now semi smooth, with an occasional rough area of hard clay. Doug and I suited up with our gear and made our way across the old cornfield to the site. The plowed fields were semi-smooth after a couple of months of rain.

We started walking our normal grid pattern on the rise in anticipation of some good finds. Not too long afterwards, I mentioned to Doug that I would like I will find an ax this day. No sooner had I said these words than right in front of me in a small trough was the obvious top of an ax with the pronounced groove exposed. I yelled over to Doug that I had indeed found an ax. Of course Doug thought I was joking since I had only a few minutes earlier said I would find one. He walked over to me looked in the direction I pointed, 5 or so feet in front of me. His eyes stopped on the ax and a few choice phrases proceeded to flow from him about my luck.

We started our pattern again, but finding only a broken point and couple of flake tools we decided to break the pattern walking and hit the hot spots, checking the ridge tops, then leave for another field were we may have better luck. Doug headed towards the center flat area on the top just off the rise, and I headed down the rise a bit to below where I found the ax. In years past I had found a few nice drills and knives towards the bottom of this rise.

After ten minutes or so Doug wondered towards the back of the rise. Since I had not found anything, I started to walk in his direction to discuss leaving and moving to another site. On getting to the flatter area on the top, I noticed that the top of the knoll was covered with footprints virtually everywhere from him searching. Suddenly I was surprised with finding what appeared to be a pestle surrounded by a multitude of footprints. I thought for a brief minute that he had intentionally left it there for me to find, or it was really not a relic, but one of those pesky look-a-likes.
pestle found May 20 1995, CLICK TO SEE THE DIMPLE !!
I walked over to within a few feet of the relic, without taking my eyes off of it. Without picking it up, I was positive it was a relic. I stopped and while staring at the pestle yelled to him asking him why he did not pick up the pestle. To which he replied that he saw the stone, but it was not a pestle. I walked closer until I walk almost on top of the rock until I was looking straight down upon it, and said a loud voice that this was indeed a pestle. I was sure of it. Once again Doug chided me for messing with his mind, and that there was no pestle there. So I picked it up and held it up for him to see. In the ground the curve of the handle portion and curve of the base was plain. Out of the ground it was even more evident it was a complete pestle, with the nice dimple in the center of the base clinching the proof. Doug once more said a few choice words which even at the distance between us, I could hear.

The ax is an undamaged full groove ax made of granite that has overall grinding with extensive bit use polish. At 4 inches in length, the 2-inch bit only has one small nick. In this area of Indiana most axes found are made of a greenstone granite common in the glacial drift. The brown patina is visible in the photo over the entire ax surface.

The pestle is classified as a hoof pestle and is also made of granite. This hoof pestle is 4 inches high and 3 inches across the base and has virtually no damage from plow strikes, prehistoric breaks or use. The bottom has a very nice dimple that is surrounded by use polish. The body still has the peck marks visible overall and lots of patina.

In the last twenty years of hunting this site, I have found eight axes, and one celt. This is one of the many times I have found two hardstone relics in the same field, the same day. But this day was especially important to me since it started my brother and I to search for relics more together again.

By Jeff Anderson
© 2000 Jeff Anderson

Tuesday, December 05, 2000