Dec 18 2021 The hunt for the elusive hardstone


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Apr 15, 2009
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The hunt for the elusive hardstone

Friday evening the rain started, a steady cool rain accompanied by strong winds. There was a strong front the week prior which brought record tornadoes to the Midwest including Bowling Green KY, the hometown of my wife’s family. Very thankful we sold our lake house outside of there this spring and did not have to possibly deal with that on top of the covid crisis going on and other family crisis.

Saturday started cold, the constant steady overnight rain was rising the water in the creek by our house to reach its banks. The ground in the back field had pools of water. Signs that a lot of rain fell overnight. The fields I scouted three weeks ago would be primed to get into.

My search target fields were one, possible three. #1 I had hunted before many times, the second was a close field to #1, directly across the creek, but until recently not hunted extensively, #3 was a creek a mite down from #2 which I had not searched before. I did not know how many I could get to with the overcast sky’s bringing an early dusk.

The temperature was 38 when I left the house. Forecast calls for dropping temperatures after the front moved through. Winds from the northwest at 13 mph with gusts. It was going to be chilly, soupy and cold.

I got to the field at about 12:45 pm and suited up, put my light gloves in my camo pants side pockets along with a small towel, putting my heavier gloves on. From my parting location on the farm, I had about a quarter mile walk to the field with a few creek crossings using the farm lane. Without the farm lane culvert there would be no way I could get to the field with the high water. Smaller creeks I would just walk through wearing my muck boots.

The winds and drizzle made it very cool, walking along the field edge the low area had a lot of water and after walking through a few I knew my muck boots had sprung a leak. Bummer but even though my feet were wet the insulation on the boot kept my foot warm, sort of like a wet suit.

When I reached the first small creek, I saw the rains had made the creek a wide, deep and fast flowing. With those conditions he low temps I could not risk walking through it. I spied a farm culvert in the cow pasture and climbed the fence. Making my way across the culvert and to the field I had to again climb the fence to get into the field to hunt.
As soon as I got over the fence into field #3 I saw my first point. The field was very wet with large puddles in the furrows and mud accumulating around my feet making them very heavy. I put my light zip up sweatshirt hood up under my hat. As I huffed and puffed my way in the field I switched from heavy gloves to the lighter camo gloves. I was getting warm due to the physical exertion even through the winds were whipping any my ears were chilled. As I got to the top of the hill I stopped and put my second hood up – the rain jacket hood, up under my hat. Now my hat was very tight but my head was now warm. I probably looked like a blind hobo dressed me, with the different colors and clothing layers.

Walking back and forth along the ridge top, I found many flakes indicating this location should produce. I picked up a broken relic every now and then. I found during a pass one of my light camo gloves fell out of my pocket somewhere when took it off to pick up some flakes to inspect and left it off. That took me a while to find, but I found it.
In two hours in field #3 I found three broken relics, grew very leg tired but wanted to hit field #2 while I was there. It was a tough walk. I got to the field edge thinking to walk the stubble to the fence to climb over. Stopping at the field edge I looked at what I had to cross, another cow pasture and another swollen creek. As I walked along the edge I came to a fence section with no barb wire and the fence was down low. I climbed over with difficulty due to tired legs. Walking across the field to the next culvert I looked at the field and determined my locations to check.




I cross the culvert and climbed a gate this time, easy compared to a fence with barb wire. Slogging into the muddy field I headed along the creek to the left rise. Right away I starting seeing nice flint chips. I started along next to the creek and walked my pattern back away from the creek. About the 3rd pass with would be about 18 rows back, I thought was a leaf turn out to be a fully exposed point. Very nice Lerma 3 1/2 inches long x 1 1/4 inch wide. Walking a few more steps I spied a nice drill, again fully exposed.

I continued to walk the area, deciding to eat my snack of tangerines. Taking off my gloves and snacking I walked the rest of the rise and then walked to the field edge to more easily make my way to the main area along the larger creek. I was almost to the gate when I realized rats, I lost my gloves again. Back to the rise I walked a few passes and found them – again. In the overcast skies the camo gloves were not easy to see. It was an irritant the second time.


Walking to the main hunting area, this area was about an acre in size. I was growing weary but I kept thinking all day there could be something nice in these fields. Axe, celt, peste or banner. All possibilities. Over the last 30 years, this region has produced at least 15 axes, 4 pestles, 2 celts, and numerous celt bits I still hope to find the body for, and three broken banners – see past post and my 2020 year wrap-up where I found hardstone every weekend day for 3 months straight- and my largest axe ever in the spring of 2021. I felt it had to be there, maybe not this hunt but its there somewhere.


Walking the edge I was finding nice flakes then spied what appeared to be a broken slate relic. Pulling it out I am not sure if it’s a broken gorget or banner, but its decent size at 4 3/8 inches long.


Walking the next pass with dwindling light I then saw it. I said to myself “there it is, I knew it was here, that looks like an exe to me”. Pulling it out it was a well-made three quarter groove axe 4 3/8 inches long with a nice bit and very little plow strike damage.



I continued walking the rows picking up flakes, and again realized I lost my gloves again.
Dang. OK now this was getting nuts. It took me another 5 minutes to walk my steps back and find them. I may need some kiddie mitten clips eventually. Now that’s a decent hunting day and I decided not long after to start my exit. I walked another 15 passes or so, finding a few more broken points but finding it harder to see and realizing it was getting dark I headed back out, walking the quarter mile back across the two culverts and pass a group of large cows who eyed me suspiciously.

The body buzz started to set in almost immediately when I removed my muck boots at the truck. Cold, wet and very tided I put it in four wheel to get out of the muddy field. Darkness was fast approaching in the deepening overcast. It was 5pm when I pulled out of the farm. A hard days workout for me.

Starting dinner I hopped into the hot tub outside for a good soak to loosen the fast aching legs. Too body buzzed up in my age I am writing this early Sunday morning. I hope to head back out to the same field in a few weeks once I recover and the holidays are over. I can feel the body buzz pretty strong today, expecting my legs and back to feel it into Monday.

Good luck in the fields to all, Happy Holidays.


Just a note for the readers, I write my notes in this manner for my relic cataloging. So that later, sometimes years, as I look at the photos in my catalog, the relic hunt can be recalled well.


Upvote 22

newnan man

Gold Member
Aug 8, 2005
Beautiful Florida
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Enjoyed your finds & the story. I wish I had kept better notes over the years. I have stuff from when my brother & I were kids that now I cannot recall who found what, where, & when. Thanks and keep them coming.


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Jan 27, 2009
South East Tennessee on Ga, Ala line
🥇 Banner finds
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What a good post with finds. Great insitues ! You had a killer day. Glad the family was safe sure was a lot of rain.
Epic hunt!



Silver Member
Apr 15, 2009
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The bi-pointed artifact I think is a lerma. It has flaking on the entire surface of both sides of the relic.

The blade has what appears to be minor basal grinding as one can feel the difference on the edge towards one end. Under magnification the edge is smoothed. The smoothed edge is evident on both sides and extends all the way around the basal end.



Sr. Member
Mar 16, 2019
Old Virginny
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Great finds and great story Dognose. Those finds get the blood pumping.


Hero Member
Feb 16, 2014
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Awesome post- thanks for putting it up. Great finds all, but that axe is way cool !! Congrats!

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