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.
The 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.
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
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.
© 2000 Jeff Anderson
Tuesday, December 05, 2000