June 3rd, 2013

Historic Treasures in Our Backyards

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When my kids were small, they loved looking through our garden after my husband tilled the soil.  They would explore the newly turned dirt in search of treasures they hoped had been brought up from their hiding place in the earth.  Alas, all they ever found were some interesting rocks and a couple of lost toys.

Despite my kids’ lack of success, there are actually treasures buried in Maryland’s dirt, in the form of arrowheads.  These are historic treasures, rich in the clues they provide about Maryland’s first inhabitants.  Long before Captain John Smith navigated through Maryland’s waterways, several different Native American tribes made their homes along Maryland’s bountiful forests and rivers.  Now and again, some of the tools they used, including arrowheads, rise out of their hiding places to remind us of the past.

There is actually much more to an arrowhead than just a sharp point at one end.  Archaeologists and collectors examine arrowheads for several different features.  What type of mineral was used to make the arrowhead?  How was it made and how might it have been attached to the shaft of the arrow?  The answers provide helpful clues to technological advances and other aspects of Maryland’s first inhabitants.

Whether you have ever found an arrowhead in your back yard, or just wished you had, you can learn more about these fascinating artifacts at the Perryville Branch Library on June 11th.  Dan Coates, President of the Archeological Society of the Northern Chesapeake, will present a program on Prehistoric Projectile Points, and he will bring arrowheads and other tools to display.  Mr. Coates will also describe why certain shapes were used for specific functions, describe the local mineral resources that were available, and talk about what we can learn from these tools.

The program begins at 7:00.  You can register online or contact the library to register at 410-996-6070, ext. 3.  Bring your own artifact to compare with those on display!

What treasures have you unearthed in our area?

Photo credit: “Cloddio Archaeolegol – Archaeological Dig” by Parc Cenedlaetho Eryri




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