During the spring of 2009, I plowed a section of my property that had probably never been plowed before. The site was very near the old farm barn and appeared to be very fertile. The plowing turned over about 8-10" of heavy sod. After plowing, I let it set for as long as practical waiting for the sod to decompose, but ended up running my roto-tiller through it just enough to make planting rows for the corn I wanted to plant. As I was tilling I would pick up any surface rocks and throw them into piles around the edges of the plot. A couple days later, after a heavy rain, I was walking by the plowed area and noticed a strange looking object in one of the rock piles. The object was so obviously man-made that I set off on an internet search and posted questions and pictures on a few archeology sites. The answers came back much sooner than I expected and all said the same thing. The reply that really got me going came from a professor that was head of the archeology department at the University of Florida. He said that it was a fairly significant find, probably dating to the Late Archaic era (3000 - 500BC). It turned out to be a quadra-concave gorget. Close examination showed that the gorget was clearly worn tight against the front of the neck. The top and bottom edges are extremely smooth and show evidence of considerable use. Unfortunately, my rototiller scraped a few areas of the surface, but the piece is overall in good condition.
I then set off on another internet search and absorbed as much information as I could, looking at pictures and reading a few articles. I narrowed my search to 'ancient Indian artifacts Ohio' and looked at many more pictures and read a few more articles about Adena Indians, Late Archaic artifacts and Ohio archeology in general.
Armed with my new-found knowledge I set off to search the accumulated rock piles for more ancient artifacts. Searching through a few hundred rocks, I found one familiar item that was an obvious hammer stone identical to several I had seen in pictures. I then set off searching the freshly plowed plot that had been washed by a couple of nice heavy rains since the plowing. I picked up several small pieces of flint, and found what I immediately recognized as an arrow shaft scraper. At that time, my collection included several significant stone tools, some small thumbnail scraper tools, four hand sized tools, and some objects that look like teeth from a large animal. At this point we called in a local paleontologist to examine what we had found. He confirmed every single piece that we showed him except for the teeth like objects, which he classified as coral formations.
From the start, and with the encouragement of a local paleontologist Zarko Ljuboja, I became interested in many of the crude smooth surface stones that appeared to have been used as grinding or pounding tools. I immediately developed criteria for judging which of these were most likely to have actually have been used as hand tools. The stone had to fit comfortably in the hand, the grip had to be secure and there had to be evidence of use on the "business end" and well as some signs of handling wear. After I had collected several possible specimens I found a website that seemed to be concentrating on the exact items which interested me the most. I can't begin to describe the joy and elation I felt when the website owner answered my inquiry and confirmed my criteria as well as the authenticity of the items I had classified as tools. The website is http://www.forsakenartifacts.com and I have an un-payable debt of gratitude to its owner Ken Johnston. Ken has provided me with encouragement and advice and has freely shared his knowledge, without which I would likely have taken a different path. My present path and objective is one that is clearly explained on Ken's website in the quote from Warren K. Moorehead. I have a great opportunity to collect, sort and catalog all of the finds from a single site, including the imperfect, crude stone tools and broken tools and the well-made good quality tools. And yes, even the 'pretty' desirable tools and points collected by most archaeologists and collectors. To my thinking, someone who collects only points or beautifully made flint axes and knives has limited his quest for knowledge to a single aspect of the ancient's lives. My collection will show how they lived day to day. It will show the tools they used to craft wood and leather, the tools they used for processing food and the tools they used to make tools. In short, the tools and artifacts that they used to live. Early in my collecting, I one day sat by the site and tried to picture what it was like a few thousand years ago. I imagined many things, one of which was a woman sitting by a stump or large boulder with a small pile of rocks at her side going about her daily routine. It was then that I decided that my goal would to be to collect everything I could find and try my best to arrange for it all to be displayed in a local museum.
Perhaps the most speculative finds are various sculpted effigies shaped like the head of a bird or other animal. Many have a 'carved' indentation where the eye would be and one even has a quartz crystal for an eye. These stones started turning up right from the start. At first I discounted them and threw them back down. I then found a small blue-gray sandstone rock that so perfectly resembled a birds head that I had to keep it. This convinced me that these rocks might be just what I imagined them to be, so I started saving them. Again, being skeptical, I only kept the ones that strongly resembled my concept of what they should look like. The more of these I collected, the more varieties I've found and therefore, I've started saving everything. I would later weed out the ones that didn't fit. I now have a few distinct shapes of bird head stones and a category for animal heads. The sheer number of these effigies is so overwhelming that I am now convinced that they are just what I imagine them to be. I still have many questions about their significance in the culture of the era, but there are just too many to discount. So far, these have all come from the original plowed plot, roughly 40' x 60' and a nearby hillside. I showed these to a Native American Archaeologist and asked about their significance and why would there be so many of them in such a small area. She explained that her ancestors believed that if you possessed the likeness of a bird or animal then you acquired some of the characteristics of that animal. She further explained that not only did "my people" make these, but if they found one away from the settlement, it was seen as a sign and they would take it home with them. These effigy stones are no longer speculative as to what they are, the speculation is only in the importance they played in ritual or worship.
As you browse through the enclosed pictures of stone tools, ancient artifacts and effigies remember that aside form 3 or 4 of the larger tools which were found in a field 300+ yards away, and a handful of items found on a hillside 100 ft away, everything you see came from a plowed garden no larger than 60ft x by 40ft. This represents only a very small percentage of what may have been a settlement that covered many times that area and perhaps the entire area back to and including part of the now cleared farm field.