Head Banging Relic Hunt - Monday, January 17, 2000
What did I find that day? That is the question I was asking myself as I was
sitting at my desk that holiday of 1/16/2000. This was the first cold day
all weekend. I was aching, tired and sore from a long two days of walking
The previous weeks had been good so far. An undrilled 4.5 inch slate pendant,
a 3.75-inch cache blade,
and a few decent whole points. Not counting the broken point parts, it had
been a good month already and the start of a good year.
As I drove to the sites I had planned for the days search, I was thinking of
some of the areas sites and which would be good hunting. I decided my first
stop would be a creek hunt, but I stopped first to speak with a farmer, to
ask permission to search his field later in the day. I felt I might as well
ask early since he might be gone later. He was gone the previous day, and he
was gone again this day. Well I thought, I can try him again an see if he is
Pulling up to the creek, I was slow to check out the fields on both banks.
Unplowed fields stare back at me. These fields have not been plowed for three
plus years, only chiseled for planting. I parked along the bridge and got prepared
for the creek.
Last night I went to the WalMart and purchased a new pair of wading boots.
These came up to below my knee. I had thought about purchasing the boots which
where not as high, but I figured they were the same cost and I could always
wear them to shovel in the snow.
Pulling on my boots and baseball hat I walked to the bridge. Walking through
the weeds, I had to move the long branches and weed remains out of my way and
I moved around the bridge embankments. Bang! All of a sudden I hit my head
on a low hanging beam. I grabbed my head as I stumbled backwards and started
to go down, attempting a controlled sit-down. It turned out to be a fall down
after getting about halfway down. My head was swimming and I saw stars.
Well that's a hell of a way to start the day. I am sitting in the sandy gravel
under the bridge holding my forehead. I pull my hand away and look at my hand
to see if, and how much I am bleeding. There is a big spot slightly larger
than a quarter. That is not too bad, but the wound just occurred, sometimes
it takes a minute for the blood to really flow. I am lucky, while the blood
keeps flowing, it is never a lot. I felt like I had almost knocked my head
off and I thought for sure there was a big hole up on my forehead.
I walk on the country road to my truck, cussing my luck. Not even nine o'clock
in the morning and now I was looking at up to a two hour delay, if I could
keep hunting. I open the truck and get a towel and pour water out of my canteen
onto it. I wipe the cut gingerly as I watch in the mirror. Damn the luck, I
can not see that close without my glasses and the cut looks to be in an Y shape
with the long base about a quarter inch long and open. I contemplate having
to drive back to town and sit in the hospital for two hours to get stitches.
Bummer because I know this town has no Med-Checks and no doctors are open on
Sunday. I pull out the flashlight and use the big side mirror to attempt to
validate my fears of stitches, but I still cannot see that well.
I sit in the truck for ten minutes or so to get steady, and debate the stiches
or dressing. The blood has stopped and it does not look too bad. The location
is not the best in the world, but I can place my baseball cap on top of a bandage
to apply pressure. After much looking, I decide to forego the stitches and
hunt the creek. Sitting on the tailgate I pull on my boots thinking about how
they look like firemen's boots.
I walk to the other side of the road to go into the creek, giving the side
that banged my head a wide birth. I do not even want to go down by the bridge.
I walk along the bank to a sandy area and wade into the water. My feet sink
up fast into the saturated sand. I move slowly to a sand bar, thinking it is
dry in the center and I can look on it for relics. But as I reach the sand
bar, much to my surprise the dry looking sand is actually saturated too even
though it is much higher than the water level. I find his out as I step on
the sand surface only to feel my foot sink quickly almost to my knee and real
close to the top of the boot. Visions of quicksand fills my mind with the realization
that had I bought the smaller boot the sand and water would have been five
inches over the top.
I struggle to get my foot out as my back foot sinks slowly. I quickly decided
not to go up onto the sand bar but start back towards the bank. It is rough
and slow going since my feet both sinks so deep but I finally reach the side.
I am tired, still dazed and amazed at the sand. It is no wonder that no one
talks about walking these creeks. Besides having visions of the quicksand in
Tarzan movies, I saw only small gravel and nothing that would hint that an
artifact, if was in the creek at all, would not have sunk to bedrock long ago.
Still shaky from the hit and the sand, I decide to take the time and get the
wound dressed. Since I can not see it well, and my insurance would pay for
it, I decide to head to the hospital. The sooner in; the sooner out. As I drive
slowly, I call my dad to let him know I am going to the hospital.
Once at the hospital, I wait for the receptionist to put the phone down so
I can inform her that I would like to see a doctor and sign in if required.
After a minute she takes the phone from her ear and request that I sit down
and she will call for me in a moment. So I sit down and drink a coke, thumbing
through the wrinkled aged pages of those magazines one seems to only find in
medical offices. After my coke was finished I asked the four others sitting
across the isle from me how long they have been waiting to see the doctors.
From the four I get varying answers with the time no less than a half an hour.
Great, I have at least a two-hour wait to see the doctor, and that is after
getting registered, which I still have not done after waiting 15 minutes.
The gabbing of the receptionist is constant, talking about everything under
the sun. Thoroughly disgusted with the slacking attitude of this country nurse
with the patients, I get up, throw my empty can away and walk out the doors
to my truck to go to the pharmacy. When I enter the local CVS pharmacy, I inquire
at the cashier where the butterfly bandages are located. She looks at my head
and agrees I need something and leads me to the isle. Still groggy, I take
my time deciding on which fixings I need. Hydrogen peroxide, bandage, Neosporin,
cotton swabs; OK, I am ready. Ten bucks lighter later, I swab up my forehead
and apply the butterfly as well as possible and head back out to the fields.
Finally after an hour I am on my way back out to the fields. I decide to forgo
any other creek searching for a while. Instead focusing on an area I had not
visited in a while. After speaking with the farmer and obtaining permission,
I parked on the farm lane along side the creek. The field was plowed and smooth
on the rise tops from the recent rains. I suited up and hit the dirt, only
to see footprints which looked to be old based upon the amount of erosion around
the print, and calculating the amount and days it had rained.
I decided to search the field anyway based upon the nice relics I had found
there in the past, and so, set out a grid in my mind to follow. Here and there
I saw nice flint material and picked up relic sections and complete points.
It always beneficial to walk a disciplined pattern in the field instead of
zig zagging around.
What did I find that day? A nice thumb scraper, a perfect stemmed point made
of my favorite material; Harrison
County flint, a complete Choncoton
Flint Hardin, a complete nice white Thebes, a complete cobbs triangular,
a complete Lecroy, three complete stemmed hafted scrapers, a complete side
notch hafted scraper, five nice flake scrapers, three whole field grade points,
23 point parts. Not bad for a searched field, finding many relics within inches
of footprints. Was the head banging experience worth it? Sure. Those crazy
things happen. Oh yeah, the "Y" shape cut on my forehead healed up
fine, with minimal scarring. I did a pretty good job with the butterfly bandage.
Tuesday, January 25, 2000
© 2000 Jeff Anderson
November 24 2001