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 fields.

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.
Slate Pendant

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 home.

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.

By Jeff Anderson
Tuesday, January 25, 2000
© 2000 Jeff Anderson
November 24 2001