Any state, county, city or village that was once home to a Native American tribe is a good place to find Native American artifacts and relics such as arrowheads, spears, net sinkers and paint pods. In Pennsylvania, Schuylkill, Dauphin and Northumberland counties are some of the favored places for avid arrowhead hunters to find these ancient treasures.
Find a plowed field (the fresher the plow the better), preferably close to or along a water source such as a lake, river or large stream.
Obtain permission from the property owner to search for artifacts on his property.
Walk the field in a pattern that allows you to cover a large portion of the field in your allotted time. For very large fields, you may find that walking the entire length of the field following the plow tracks to the end in each pass is best. For smaller fields or oddly shaped fields, you may find that walking the opposite direction of the plow is the best.
Pick up any piece of hard material that does not appear to match the color of the soil and inspect it. Many arrowheads do not appear to 'fit in' by color. Arrowheads and other artifacts were made out of many types of material including jasper, quartz and flint. Therefore, arrowheads can be many different colors including brown, red, white, black and green. Arrowheads were also made in various shapes depending on the tribe, area and intended use of the projectile.
Take a mental note of areas in which you find arrowhead chips or other evidence that an artifact is nearby. These areas are where you may want to sift deeper into the soil. Arrowhead chips are often very tiny and thin pieces of an original arrowhead that have broken off due to weatherization or possibly by a tractor or plow. Because they are broken pieces, the size, shape and appearance of chips may vary immensely.
Use a small rake, shovel and strainer to sift through soil more efficiently. Using a small rake to gently sift through a larger area of soil may help to uncover artifacts with less damage than using a shovel. Always gently scour the top of the area you wish to search without using a lot of pressure on any tool you are using. Using a small shovel, you can scoop up a decent amount of soil. Put the soil into a strainer or sifter and gently shake it around, or use your hands to allow the dirt to fall through the bottom. This method will allow you to sift through a larger amount of soil in a small amount of time. Most arrowheads and many chips will not be able to fall through the holes in the strainer. When the soil is removed you should be able to investigate the larger remains in the strainer with greater ease.
- Small shovel (optional)
- Strainer (optional)
- Rake (optional)
The best time to find artifacts without digging is after a hard rain. The rain often brings arrowheads to the top of the soil.
When looking for a field to search for arrowheads, keep in mind that you want the field to be as flat as possible and not on any type of hill.
Any field has the potential of holding arrowheads and other Indian artifacts.
Study the types of arrowheads found within Pennsylvania to give yourself a better chance at finding artifacts.
Most farmers will welcome you to their fields, but will not permit you to use tools other than your hands.
Do not attempt to search a field without permission of the owner.
Some property owners may allow you to search their fields, but not allow artifacts to be removed from the premises. Be sure to obtain clear permission before attempting to remove your finds.