Many North Americans don't realize how long people have been living on this continent. Native Americans first arrived here thousands of years ago, and many ancient artifacts can be found lying buried or half-buried all over North America. Arrowheads are some of the most common artifacts collected by hobbyists, archaeologists and serious collectors. However, if you did not find the artifact yourself, you may have reason to doubt its authenticity. Unscrupulous dealers have been known to sell fakes and reproductions as real arrowheads. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid purchasing a fake.
Purchase arrowheads from a dealer or antique store that will guarantee the authenticity of the artifact. Dealers who do not provide such a guarantee may or may not be selling real arrowheads, but the chance of purchasing a fake or reproduction arrowhead from such a dealer is much greater than if you are working with a dealer who offers a guarantee.
Ask for information about the origin of the arrowhead you are purchasing or for information about the previous owner. This will enable you to compare the arrowhead to others found in the same location in order to determine whether it is authentic.
Check the edge of the blade of an arrowhead to see if the blade has circular, choppy dents or more rigid, rectangular dents or a perfectly uniform edge. A perfect edge or one with rectangular dents could be machine-made or fabricated using a metal chisel.
Join a local archaeological society. These societies will know about dealers of artifacts in your area, as well as ways of recognizing fakes and lists of features common to arrowheads found in your area.