As a kid growing up in Tennessee, I spent countless hours walking across freshly plowed fields, with my head down, looking for arrowheads. From time-to-time I still manage to stumble across clods of dirt looking for the next point.
I also keep my eyes open when walking through the crowded aisles of antique stores or while skimming through online auctions. Inevitably, I stumble across arrowheads offered for sale. An arrowhead recently recovered in Middle Tennessee by the author. In my attempt to answer that question, let me first address the three most obvious guides to purchasing just about anything: 1 if the price is too good to be true, then it probably is; 2 if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is; and 3buy from a trusted dealer who will stand behind the things they sell.
The majority of modern day reproductions, especially those made with fraudulent intentions, are extremely difficult to detect. A flint knapper using an antler as a soft hammer.
Those in the businesses of duping collectors approach their dishonorable craft with the discipline. In fact, it can be argued that they are better knappers than their ancient counterparts.
Many will invest in genuine artifacts to study and duplicate. They will also visit museum collections, invest in reference books, visit artifact shows, and consume themselves with research, all in the quest of mastering their craftsmanship.
Modern reproductions are now produced as exact duplicates, made of the proper raw material. Modern day knappers have access to quarried Obsidian, Dacite, Steatite, Novaculite, Chert, and various types of other material.
Being that most authentic arrowheads and stone tools have endured hundreds of years exposed to the elements, most have signs of weathered wear. Forgers know this and deploy several methods to replicate this effect. The more sophisticated forger will sandblast the surface of knapped stone to dull its high points and edges. After the object has been sandblasted, it will then be submerged in an acid bath.
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The acid breaks down the stone further and creates a natural, aged patina. This form of forgery is typically applied to larger flint blades and knives.
For example, a common application of this comes in the form of notches added to the base of a blade, dramatically increasing its selling price. In this example, notice the change in patina towards the front-third of the arrowhead. Such a change in patina is often the result of a reworked point. Another common rework is to repoint the broken or damaged arrowhead.
The more you handle authentic, ancient arrowheads, the more likely you are to distinguish between the real deal and a fake. In no particular order, here they are:. Long considered the bible of arrowhead identification, the Overstreet Identification and Price Guide is a must have. Arrowheads are organized by region and then alphabetically.
Each region also has a quick reference chart highlighting the basic styles indigenous to that particular region. The guide is full of detailed images and descriptions to help sharpen your knowledge and train your eye. Speaking from personal experience, my father, a longtime arrowhead collector, just purchased this book and has found it very useful.
In summary, this is an excellent reference book for knowing what authentic Ancient Indian Arrowheads look like! Microscopic surface analysis, patination investigation, and ultraviolet light evaluations are all discussed in detail, along with many other related topics.
With more than full-color photos, you will gain a very clear understanding of what to look for when examining the authenticity of an arrowhead. Having such knowledge will help you ascertain what a point should look like from flaking and edges to materials and patina.
Keep an eye out for those hucksters and charlatans peddling Indian Artifakes! Good luck! Connect with RelicRecord.He was a late comer to that profession after having spent many years on the Great South Bay off the shores of Long Island, N. Deciding to uproot in he headed for Houston, Texas and became a outside sales representative and legal lobbyist for Central Freight Lines. Robert made a name for himself in that business becoming the vice-president of the Bus and Truck Transportation Lobbying group known as B.
Not long after Robert was hired away by a competitor but the restless never sleep. Robert then pursued a life long dream of owning and operating a ranch in East Texas. He purchased a large poultry operation which helped him fund what he says was his true passion, raising a registered herd of Beefmaster cattle. Along the way he became a volunteer coach for the local baseball and basketball leagues where he coached his son who went on to become State Champion Three Point Shooter in It was the love of coaching that drove him back to college where he added a teaching degree to his resume and began teaching in until retiring in He says "seven years of High School 10th grade was enough", with a laugh.
The one passion Robert has never been able to quench is that of collecting fine artifacts, primarily Indian stone tools and weapons. This passion dates back to the summer of when he was out of town lobbying for Central Freight Lines in West Texas.
So, as he tells it, that was the beginning of his one, and still going strong, extra-marital love affair. This turned out to be a life long study of North American Indians and the collection of their relics. This long running love affair has lasted almost as long as his very real marriage to the real love of his life, Sarah, to whom, "I owe my love and devotion for her patience and strength while putting up with me and my consumption by Indian relics". As it turns out Robert had been had by a very clever fake known today as a "Gray Ghost".
Right down to the last detail so he thought. It never entered his mind back then that someone in modern times would or could be so clever as to make one of these beauties. As it turns out these were made by the hundreds by Mr. Brian Reinhardt in Texas back in the 's.
And though a FAKE they have become quite collectible in their own right with some of them being worth two hundred and up. Several years after this purchase Robert went to an artifact show with his spear point and pride busting out all over knowing that nobody had anything like it.
To his astonishment and tremendous disappointment he was told that he in fact had been had. Almost ready to start a fight right there in the middle of the show he took his bruised ego and headed home vowing to get more opinions.
From that moment on he decided to never get taken again by being fooled into buying a modern made point or by fraudulent seller. That was the beginning of many years of study and collection, 27 years to be exact. He has studied everything from the Paleolithic Indians to the Plains Indians.
Studying and researching their life styles, hunting habits and killing strategies. As time went on Robert purchased his first micro-scope when few people were using them to analyze, document and compare the various flaking styles that different Indians used.
When he did purchase a point or tool he sent it off to one of three authenticators whom he began to trust as authorities in the field.
Finally, as his trust began to wither under increased unethical behavior both by fraudulent selle rs and authenticators alike he began to paper his own points and extended that expertise to friends and locals in his area. When Robert began to teach full time he became the only History teacher in the area who incorporated a special unit at the beginning of each semester devoted to studying the various Indians of Texas and North America.
He finally got permission to make it apart of his own curriculum, titled, "Ancient Indians of North America". He states the students loved it so much that new students each semester would ask if they would be studying the Indians because they had a brother or knew someone who talked about it. Yes, even kids, especially the boys knew a good thing when they saw it.
They, like many of us could discern very quickly what a master piece was and seemed to show little interest in weak field grade pieces. However, most were captivated by the weapons, especially "War Clubs". I used to allow them to handle many of the relics I brought in but it wasn't long before I heard the dreaded "clink".Welcome to The Artifact Company!
Premier Artifact Authentication The principals here at The Artifact Company have examined and authenticated nearly half a million relics in their careers — it is our business to keep track of what the modern makers of reproductions and by association, the agers and fakers who try to pass these recently made items off as authentic.
We take great pains to pre-screen and properly describe items before they enter our sales so as to prevent a buyer from purchasing a misrepresented piece. Click here to read more….
We Buy Collections! We are always in the market to acquire artifacts of all types, not just Indian Relics.
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We offer top cash for purchase and in many cases can travel to you! We are currently buying everything from Museum-Grade pieces down to the common relics. Artifact Consignment For those not interested in immediate sale, we offer highly competitive consignment rates at auction or for private direct marketing. April 12, April 12, We started …. April 5, April 8, June 13, April 8, April 26, April 8, Skip to content Welcome to The Artifact Company!
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Latest Articles View All Articles. May 9, May 9, - by Alex Przygoda. Buy the ROCK! NOT the paper.Login or Sign Up. The Problem with Authenticators. Posts Latest Activity. Page of 1. Filtered by:. Previous template Next.
The Problem with AuthenticatorsPM. When everybody becomes expert, then there are no experts anymore John F. During the past twenty years, the artifact collecting community has seen a plethora of artifact authenticators come and go. A few of the early respected authenticators survived and they will continue to enjoy our respect.
Seventy six persons claimed the title of "Artifact Authenticator" in What happened? The hobby did not have room for so many, and those with little or no respect, disappeared from the scene. What is the crux of this problem? To be a respected evaluator of any type of collectible, you must have a deep understanding, good identification of the subject and a wealth of experience from working with, examining the product and lastly, know good from bad!
How does that relate to today? Some previously regional authenticators those who specialize in a particular area, region or type of artifacts recently ventured beyond their area of expertise. Now they will examine and make decisions on any artifact from anywhere for anybody.
This reduced the value of respect of their work on current evaluations, and creates concern about their past work. No one person can know everything about everything! Some were clever enough to upload a "dealer For Sale web site", and enjoy a few moments of success then proudly proclaimed authority as an expert authenticator. I can't help but think about a party from the midwest who I thought was a fairly good examiner on flint items, and said that stone is stone no matter where from, then proceeded to make decisions on items out of his expertise.
What is the real culprit? My opinion is greed! It seems so simple.We pride ourselves on our world renowned Artifact Authentication service. To date we have evaluated over 2, ancient and historic era artifacts. We have built our reputation through consistent scientific analysis of the artifacts to determine their authenticity.
For many years we were known for selling quality Indian Artifacts through our sales catalogs and the Internet. We still sometimes offer a variety of artifacts for sale but in recent years we have directed our focus primarily to our Authentication and Appraisal services. Our approach to Artifact Authentication is completely objective and highly scientific.
Our well-founded process is reliant on a highly scientific methodology based on facts compiled and corroborated by numerous related scientific papers by geologists, microbiologists, archaeologists, and forensic scientists… Click here to find out more.
Not only are we able to evaluate authenticity but also are willing to teach you how to do it too! Click here to find out more.
October 9, April 9, April 8, April 8, June 13, April 9, Many Indian objects raise important legal and ethical questions. Are they okay to own, or buy, or sell? Multiple laws make a complicated field. The pot was most likely made between and A. But this prehistoric pot, like many other Native American objects, raised an important question often asked by owners and collectors of Native American objects: What should be done with prehistoric and other Indian objects that you may possess, and when is it okay to buy or sell them?
Are they grave goods? Were they made from an endangered species? Do you have good title? Are they stolen? It's a lot more complicated than it was 25 years ago.
Numerous laws relate to the subject, and most affect the buying and selling of prehistoric pieces. Many laws forbid the taking of Native American artifacts from Indian and federal land, including national forests, parks and Bureau of Land Management land, unless granted a permit to do so. States, counties, and cities have passed their own laws restricting the taking of Native American objects.
The Endangered Species Act forbids the sale of any Indian object — old or new — that uses animal parts from endangered or protected species, such as eagles and other migratory birds. And Buxton notes that some of these laws — such as those overseeing the buying and selling of objects that include ivory — are "totally in flux.
The animal protection laws are meant to curtail the killing of animals to make into salable Native American objects. Shackelford notes that other laws are designed to respect the graves and belongings of Native American groups — sometimes calling for the return of prehistoric and other objects to ancestral peoples — and to protect archeological sites and gravesites from ransacking.
If someone goes there and contaminates that site" — which is inevitable when objects are illegally excavated — "it's done. But to the unscrupulous dealer, it's just widgets and pots. They want things that can be sold in isolation. We have an obligation to preserve history for future generations, and not just have things for our living rooms.The practice of authenticating artifacts has been around for quite awhile but never has it been performed on such a scientific level as is being offered here.
The laser and computer equipment being used here at Insight is top of the line, cutting edge technology at work. We conduct true testing on every item that is sent to us for an evaluation. We take an honest and straight forward approach where evaluating your artifact is our top priority.
Insight believes that our clients want to know the truth about their collection, and although an items provenance is an important thing to preserve, it should not be used as a standard while determining the authenticity of that item.
Simply said — the provenance of an artifact is a very interesting story after authenticity has been proven. We believe the most important thing being done here at Insight is that by conducting the proper test it is allowing the item being tested to speak for itself so that no opinion on our part is needed.
It is this fact which separates us from the status quo of the other authenticating services being offered. In addition to the laser testing, Insight also examines items using the old school method of microscopically checking for correct manufacturing techniques along with the proper mineralization of an item. The main purpose we have found the microscopic examination of an item useful for is that a micro photo can then be taken and provided if need be to our clientele to show artificial deposits or surface treatments which should not be present on an authentic item.
At Insight, we not only would like to provide our services to you, we would like to earn your trust along with your respect and your friendship as a fellow collector. Hello and Welcome to our site!