Topic ID #7981 - posted 6/29/2010 6:34 AM

Incredible find: Record arrowhead discovered in western Kentucky creek

Jennifer Palmer


Staff Writer

For Darrel Higgins, finding an ancient arrowhead in a creek isn't surprising, it's actually expected. Finding a record-setting artifact that dates back to an estimated 14,000 to 18,000 years? Definitely unexpected.

Higgins has been hunting creek beds for artifacts since he began finding them on farmland when he was a child. But nothing he had found compared to the 9 3/4 inch by 2 3/4 inch specimen he recently found in western Kentucky. The item, described as a clovis point made of buffalo river chert, was submerged in a creek bed when Higgins stumbled upon it.

“As soon as I picked it up, I knew what I had,” he said. “It's usually a long walk back to my truck. Not that day, I was walking on air.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Post ID#17811 - replied 6/30/2010 5:42 PM


Post ID#17814 - replied 7/1/2010 11:02 AM


Obviously ceremonial or a marketing prop--that is, if it's genuine.  I have my doubts.  The points found in Wenatchee, WA were buried is a type of moist loam that was excellent for preservation of points and bone tools--yes, they are STILL there, were not allowed to be removed (I know, I was there).  This find was in an exposed stream bed.  Not that finding it is that unlikely, what is strange is that it is UNDAMAGED. 

This is like parking my car in an up-front Walmart space, leaving for a month and not having any dings from other car doors; outside a Divine intervention, an impossibility.

Am not casting aspersions, merely expressing my wonderment.  Also, the indentation for the shaft seems a might small in width for what has got to be a spear point.  On the other hand, if it was used as a prop, then this delicate of a shaft notch would demonstrate the skill level of this master knapper.

Post ID#17817 - replied 7/1/2010 2:27 PM


I have recovered many hundreds of artifacts in exactly this same way, most of the time any damage they have (other than polishing by the bed load) is ancient. The artifacts, being denser than the sand, will sink to a hard bottom, given enough time, and get caught there, and they are pretty well protected.

One very distinct possibility is that this point recently washed in, the process that puts them in the creek is an ongoing one, and it being exposed to being found visually suggests that it either hasn't been in there long, or the bed load where it was trapped got disturbed. So one scenario is that there was a Clovis occupation site, probably on a levee terrace, of this stream that has been eroded into by meander. There is a possibility that a portion of the site remains intact, and in my experience these artifacts usually don't wash very far, especially in small streams. Another possibility, of course, is that the stream has totally erased the land site, and locating it is impossible, the landform it was on doesn't even exist any more.

Another possibility is that the site was within the stream bed itself. Stream levels were considerably lower at that time, so a nice flat bank that was dry then could be submerged now. Numerous sites in the Tennessee/Cumberland drainages fit this description. Any site like this will usually be heavily deflated, but it could also be single component...I have walked sites similar to this on lakes, and most of the soil will be gone, so that Madison points will be lying on top of the ground with Paleos.

One more...Page-Ladson, and most likely at least a couple more sites in FL, were evidently located in stream beds that only flowed intermittently at the time they were occupied, so that the stream has no flow over most of its length, but holds water in the deeper pools, in exactly the situation today in Australia during the dry season. The animals used the pools for water, making them ideal spots for ambush. The sites get silted over, and even retain stratigraphic integrity, down in the stream bed.

It took me years to realize what I was seeing, but it finally dawned on me. If you're walking upstream in a creek, and there are artifacts/debitage in high concentration, then the cultural material suddenly stops, you're at the spot where the land site is, or was.

As for the authenticity of this piece, I'm always skeptical, but the commercial authenticators are very savvy at spotting fakes. These artifacts will "grow" microscopic mineral deposits on them even in an aquatic enviroment, and you can bet they went over this one with a fine tooth comb. If this piece does get sold, we'll probably never hear about it, but I would expect it to break six figures.


Post ID#17818 - replied 7/1/2010 3:53 PM


I agree with what you are saying about how finds can be generally made in creek beds.  My specific point is that this piece is so much longer and thinner than the usual points that it is very prone to fracture.   It would not take much movement to crack it.  This along with the narrow flutes makes me wonder. The story does not state who did the authentication and all such are not created equal.

If it is a genuine artifact, it is outstanding. Truly a master work.

As you point out, a search should be made to find the site for surely with a treasure like this there must have been a significant presence.  The finder may be somewhat reluctant to let professionals in on the location for monetary or tresspass/legal reasons.  Hopefully he will be satisfied with the money from his this first find and do the right thing for the rest (if it still exists). 

Post ID#17820 - replied 7/1/2010 5:17 PM


The article mentions Tom Davis, he is very highly thought of by those who put stock in those things. Authenticating can be a very lucrative business, $25 a pop, even ten artifacts a day would be a nice sideline business, a couple of dozen a day would let you quit your day job LOL. Some of the fakers are very sophisticated in their methods though, I actually wonder who has the upper hand in that game.

I do see some light damage in several places on the point, but yes I'd agree that it defied the odds to survive that period of time largely undamaged. 

Post ID#17822 - replied 7/2/2010 7:52 AM


I know of several people who have found artifacts in stream beds, so I find this to be totally plausible.  Whether or not the artifact is thin is hard to say.  The only photos I've seen of it are planviews.  As far as the possibility of there being other associated artifacts is hard to say.  I'm not familiar with that area so do not know if that is a distinct possibility or not.  Where I am from and work, these types of finds are very rarely ever found with other associated artifacts.  Nearly everyone ever found has been an isolated find.

We were once on a survey out here and found a perfect Eden point lying on the surface.  No damage to it whatsoever, despite the fact cattle used the area for grazing and the thing had been exposed for who knows how long to the threat of cattle trampling.


Post ID#17825 - replied 7/2/2010 11:36 AM


You all are talking about much smaller points.  Check the picture in the full story.  It is also NOT an arrowhead.  This thing is so long that it is much more prone to breakage than a "regular" point.  I have a beautiful spearpoint in my collection from the Mississippi Valley near St. Louis out of quartz.  Found on ground.  Perfect, but it's only four inches long.

Would like this to be genuine.  Think that it's weight and size might foster settling no too far from area where it was originally placed or lost.  The use of such points having perhaps a similar cultural or ceremonial usage from WA State to Kentucky is intriquing. 

With all the "clovis" points showing up in souvenir shops, am generally skeptical when there are no bona fides.

Post ID#17830 - replied 7/4/2010 3:19 PM


The artifacts I have found in stream beds, over the years, have all been fairly heavily worn by stream-washed sand. The flake scars on the one in the picture look far too sharp for it to have been in the stream very long. Also, the size is way outside the normal range for clovis points. I am suspicious... 

Post ID#17833 - replied 7/5/2010 8:24 AM


Wow, what a find!


Visit our Employment Network websites: - - For information on advertising on this website, contact