Indian Arrowheads of the Piedmont - Carolina Country
September 2003

Indian Arrowheads of the Piedmont

What these ancient artifacts reveal about North Carolina's earliest inhabitants.

By Ron Harris

Indian Arrowheads of the Piedmont

Ron Harris holds a prized Southern trophy stone axe head found in 1940 by a friend of his father’s, who later donated it to the Harris collection. The axe was found at Lyle Creek, near Conover in Catawba County. Considered one of the finest ever found in the state, the axe has been featured in several archaeological publications. Harris is shown in his “relic room” with Indian arrowheads and artifacts found in the Piedmont region. 

Reminders of North Carolina's earliest inhabitants appear in the form of Indian arrowheads that were once plentiful in central North Carolina. These Carolina gems have been found in almost every area of North Carolina, especially in the central Piedmont region. There are numerous collectors throughout that area who have hunted, traded, bought and otherwise accumulated collections of various sizes over the past decades.

The earliest inhabitants of what is now North Carolina were the Paleo Indians of the Clovis Culture, who made beautifully flaked stone Clovis points (read about a North Carolina museum highlighting Native American culture). Fluted channels on the points aided in "hafting" or attaching them to a spear shaft. Clovis points date back 10,000 to 12,000 years ago and are infrequently found at various locations throughout North Carolina as well as other areas the United States. Clovis points are highly prized by collectors and are displayed with pride, considering their rarity.

Later cultures, like the Hardaway people, inhabited various areas of the Piedmont region in slightly greater numbers than did the Clovis. The Hardaway technology in the making of flint-tipped spears or "atlatl" darts changed to what is called the Hardaway-Dalton, and Hardaway side-notched style points. The Hardaway culture existed in what archaeologists term the early archaic period or about 10,000 to 11,000 years ago. Later prehistoric cultures or traditions to evolve in North Carolina included Palmer, Kirk, Rowan, Stanly, Morrow Mountain, Guilford, Halifax and Savannah River. These cultures existed through the early, mid and late archaic periods with a time span of 3,000 to 10,000 years ago. Spear points and flint knives from these traditions are found on knolls or ridges near streams and natural springs where these cultures camped while in search of fruit, nuts and wild game for food. These earliest inhabitants of North Carolina were considered "hunters and gatherers."

The bow and arrow wasn't introduced into use in North Carolina until sometime in the millennium after the birth of Christ. This was the Woodland period that dates from 3,000 years ago until around AD 1400. Projectile points during this period were small and triangular-shaped. These flint points were actually the first "true" arrowheads. They are found on Woodland period sites close to major rivers, streams and water sources. By this time, the Woodland people were more settled in their way of life and engaged in the planting, growing and harvesting of crops in the rich fertile river bottoms along major Piedmont waterways and their tributaries. Arrowheads from this period are called Yadkin, Eared Yadkin, Pee Dee, and Uwharrie. These are all named after major rivers in the area near where they are found.

arrowsThese arrowheads in the Harris collection were found during many years of surface hunting in fields of the Piedmont region where Indians lived hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of years ago.

European contact with the indigenous Native Americans began in the early 1600s and into the 1700s. This period of time is called the Historic period. Arrowheads used by the Native Americans during this period are called Caraway, Randolph and Hillsboro types.

The projectile points and cutting blades made and used by the ancient natives were essential for their survival and existence at that point in our prehistory. Today, however, many consider these flint points or artifacts as gems and even objects of ancient art. They are highly prized, treasured and collected by both old and young alike.

In the past, archaeologists excavated stratified (layered) sites where prehistoric people once camped or existed. They were able to establish a chronological sequence of the various ancient cultures and their associated projectile points by the carbon dating process. That is how we are able to differentiate between the various point types found today in plowed fields, gullies, washouts, riverbanks, construction sites, and elsewhere. Credit for establishing this culture sequence is given to the late Dr. Joffre Coe of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the 1940s and 1950s, he completed scientific surveys and excavations of stratified sites at Hardaway, Doershuck and Gaston among others.

Interest in Indian prehistory and the collecting of their arrowheads was so great that the Piedmont Archaeology Society of North and South Carolina was formed several decades ago and is still going strong. It is composed of individuals, enthusiasts, hobbyists, amateur archaeologists, educators and collectors who are genuinely interested in learning from and preserving the remnants of prehistoric life in North Carolina.

The Piedmont Society holds at least three or four relic shows each year at various locations in North and South Carolina. Admission is free and hundreds of member collectors and the general public as well attend to swap stories, display their artifacts, buy, sell, trade and generally exchange archaeological research information and updates.

About the Author

Ron Harris is a member of EnergyUnited, a Touchstone Energy cooperative. He lives on Lake Hickory in the Bethlehem community of Alexander County. Contact him at P. O. Box 1516, Hickory, NC 28603. E-mail: harrisheadhunter@aol.com

Comments (66)

  • I live here in Rowan County. I love to look for all types of artifacts. My favorite is indian artifact tools. When I first started looking for artifacts, I would pick up anything that was different looking to me. It took me awhile to stop bringing home creek rocks and gravel rocks. I decided to do research before I would go out after a hard rain and look for artifacts. I have found several celts but none that was polished. My family thinks its funny cause to them its just a bunch of rocks. But one day I hope to find something big. I love your collection, my favorite is the stone axe head. That's what I would love to find.

    Annette | December 27, 2012 at 8:53 | reply

  • I would like to speak with you. I too have a good collection.

    Sonia Neville | June 11, 2014 at 1:54 | reply

  • My name is Jessica and I'm trying to sell my fathers Indian artifacts and arrowheads. I can email pictures to anyone interested. If anyone could give me any information on dealers or people who collect the Indian artifacts would be greatly appreciated. They were all found in North Carolina.

    Jessica | October 07, 2014 at 7:42 | reply

  • Hi Jessica
    I may be interested in some of the artifacts you have for sell. If you could e-mail me some pictures and prices of what you have.
    Thanks!
    Shelton

    Shelton | October 08, 2014 at 5:45 | reply

  • Shelton,
    For some reason it will not let me reply to you via email. My personal email is Jessicaegebrecht@gmail.com. Sent me a private email and I will send you photos.

    Jessica | October 09, 2014 at 5:57 | reply

  • I have some really nice points and tools that were supposedly found in the Carolinas. Would you like me to send you some pics. Bob Kinney bobkinney@verizon.net

    Bob Kinney | October 14, 2014 at 4:23 | reply

  • Jessica, were you able to sell your collection? I may be interested so let me know if you have through my email.

    Troydewaynewilliams@yahoo.com

    Troy | December 31, 2014 at 10:03 | reply

  • I have a tote container full of arrowheads and other pieces probanly used for axes, spears ect.. I live in haywood county alot of these are quartz I really do not know much about them some are large and are broken (tips) i can send you a pic eventually please contact ne ! Thank you!

    amanda mullins | February 05, 2015 at 12:13 | reply

  • Hi Amanda Mullins
    I would love to see the arrowheads and spears that you have. My e-mail address is: srd0323@embarqmail.com.
    Thanks!
    Shelton

    Shelton | February 05, 2015 at 4:31 | reply

  • Please contact me! :)

    Levi | March 05, 2015 at 8:43 | reply

  • I started hunting points and tools a few months ago and need some advice on the type and age of the pieces I have found. Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Nick | March 08, 2015 at 10:08 | reply

  • Jessica, I would like to see pictures of the artifacts you have for sale. Thanks

    Cramer Kilpatrick | March 25, 2015 at 6:53 | reply

  • I have a very nice collection as well. I have pictures of them if you are interested.

    sonia neville | March 26, 2015 at 9:14 | reply

  • Yes Sonia, If you have artifacts for sale I would love to see pictures of them. Thanks

    Cramer Kilpatrick | March 27, 2015 at 10:30 | reply

  • Cramer if you would kindly email me at sneville63@outlook.com with your direct email, I will send some pictures to you. I have lots of them.
    Regards,
    Sonia

    sonia neville | March 29, 2015 at 11:14 | reply

  • I have a collection that I have from over 50 years of searching tobacco fields,tomato fields , rock shelters,building sites, etc. It has been a lot if fun over the years. The "cheapest hobby"I have ever had.

    TommyQueen | March 30, 2015 at 7:53 | reply

  • Sonia my e-mail address is ckilpatrick@eldecoinc.com

    Cramer Kilpatrick | March 31, 2015 at 8:58 | reply

  • 700 + arrowhead collection located in Morganton, NC. Very nice estate collection. Interested in selling ALL.

    Chuck | April 18, 2015 at 8:42 | reply

  • Don't know anything about hunting arrowheads ,would love to know where to start.

    Eddie Hendrix | May 20, 2015 at 10:58 | reply

  • Would you send me a list and pics of the collection you have left?

    Ron | July 17, 2015 at 4:22 | reply

  • Please send me the pics and info. Is this Tommy Queen from BC, NC?

    Ron | July 17, 2015 at 6:01 | reply

  • I would be interested in any Indian artifacts that anyone has....please send me pictures and other info you have to ronforrester@ymail.com

    Ron | July 17, 2015 at 6:15 | reply

  • please send me all the data you have for this collection. BTW, I am living in Texas but am from Gastonia/Bessemer City and have found many artifacts there.

    Ron | July 17, 2015 at 6:24 | reply

  • I have none to sell. Thanks

    Cramer Kilpatrick | July 21, 2015 at 12:53 | reply

  • SELLING Stone axe, Polished Celt, Tomahawks, Hand axe, Spear head, Hoes, Drill Bits, Pallets, Ceremonial Beads, Points, and more. Fifteen year collection even a midevil age crossbow bolt point. email eaglendskys040912@yahoo.com

    Darin Smith | July 24, 2015 at 8:23 | reply

  • I have a nice collection and will send photos. Send your email and I shall send pictures of what I have.
    Regards,
    Sonia Neville

    SONIA NEVILLE | July 24, 2015 at 8:49 | reply

  • Hi Ron! I live in western NC. Almost in Tennessee. I have "way" too many artifacts to photograph but I am still hunting every opportunity I get .

    Tommy Queen | July 25, 2015 at 8:48 | reply

  • Hey Amanda!I live in Haywood Co. also.I have collected for over 50 years.I have found most of what I have here.I would love to see your collection .Tommy

    Tommy Queen | July 25, 2015 at 8:56 | reply

  • I just moved to Hertford count nc any ideas on where to look? I have some Missouri points for sale as well just email me

    jordan | August 28, 2015 at 1:01 | reply

  • Join my new group on Facebook
    North Carolina Arrowheads & Artifacts
    http://on.fb.me/1iypIt2

    Ashley | September 11, 2015 at 4:16 | reply

  • Looking for arrowheads squiggy@skybest.com

    James | November 07, 2015 at 12:48 | reply

  • I have some. Pottery and pipe pieces as well.

    Sonia | November 07, 2015 at 6:38 | reply

  • I like the storys

    elijah | November 13, 2015 at 1:43 | reply

  • I would be interested in some of your collection if you have not sold it all

    Don | November 27, 2015 at 8:11 | reply

  • Please send photos and price

    Mike Russ | January 18, 2016 at 4:00 | reply

  • Hi I have a few nice collections if anyone is interested you can txt me at 229-630-6295 for pictures I am in Burlington Nc

    Kenneth | April 06, 2016 at 2:04 | reply

  • Interested in selling a collection. I was given a collection of Mortar stones and some flint from my dad. There are several stones from large to medium. ccoch1611@aol.com

    Sheila | May 08, 2016 at 11:15 | reply

  • I was hunting points on the Eufaula dam/Arkansas river and came across a Mammoth tooth. I would like to sell it and a few other petrified bones if anyone is interested.

    Malissa Byerly | May 17, 2016 at 9:11 | reply

  • Hello , I'd like to see some pictures so I can make a fair offer. Thanks Frank

    Frank Alexander | May 17, 2016 at 3:34 | reply

  • I haves collection of arrowheads found in nc. Im interested in selling contact me via txt or call 3364302211

    Kameron | July 09, 2016 at 5:50 | reply

  • I have a decent size collection of arrowheads, hand tools, pieces of pottery... too much to list. Would love to actually know what these things were used for. Anyone think they could help me out if Viewing some pictures. If so you can reach me at paskelhunter75@yahoo.com

    Jason | November 20, 2016 at 6:20 | reply

  • Still have Indian artifacts for sale? If yes please email pictures And prices. Thanks

    Charles parrish | November 25, 2016 at 4:55 | reply

  • Would love to see any Indian artifacts you may have for sale

    Charles parrish | November 25, 2016 at 5:02 | reply

  • I am interested in seeing any artifacts you may sell

    Charles parrish | November 25, 2016 at 5:07 | reply

  • If you are interested in N.C. coastal finds let me know. I've hunted the coast of N.C. all my life. And have some rare artifacts I've found over the years.

    Pete Lozica | December 10, 2016 at 11:56 | reply

  • Yes I would like pictures and pricing

    Charles parrish | December 14, 2016 at 1:56 | reply

  • I am living in South Eastern Va. Now need a way to send you some pictures. I have pipes,scrapers,arrowheads,knives,drills,celts,gorgets,etc. All from coast of N.C. Carteret county,pamlico county,craven county,& Beaufort county.

    Pete Lozica | December 16, 2016 at 12:39 | reply

  • I have a few I need to sell and the only reason is I'm a single parent on a fixed income..I have a Halifax 2"x1" wide if interested I'll send pictures.. Thanks.

    terry | December 17, 2016 at 9:09 | reply

  • Please send me some photos so I can evaluate your collection and make you an offer. Thanks

    Frank Alexander | December 19, 2016 at 11:37 | reply

  • Not sure how to get up with anyone on here that's trying to buy artifacts from N.C.. Here are my finds if anyone is interested in them. 44yrs of looking here on the coast of N.C. all found by me. So if anyone is interested let me know. I would be interested in selling but not going to give them away as some are quite rare & likely never find another in my life time. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1790295641226425&id=100007380192543

    Pete Lozica | December 19, 2016 at 4:53 | reply

  • Charles I picked up your name from a forum. My brother has been a collector of fossils, arrowheads and native american weapons. He recently passed. I am looking for a buyer. Can you help or lead me in the right direction. I live in the mountains of Northern Georgia

    vince petti | December 22, 2016 at 12:26 | reply

  • Charles, are you still trying to sell your brothers collection? Call me if so. 803-960-4375

    Todd | February 12, 2017 at 5:00 | reply

  • Call me if you want to buy some genuine NC relics, Frank @ 252-478-4100

    Frank Alexander | February 13, 2017 at 5:31 | reply

  • Are you still interested in buying arrowheads and a few ax heads? I have my father's collection, only party organized, collected over 3 decades.

    Andy | February 25, 2017 at 3:18 | reply

  • hi---could you tell me a good place to bring my Son to look for arrowheads ?--I live in Apex (near Raliegh) thank you

    rich carstens | April 25, 2017 at 4:23 | reply

  • I will be in NC July 10-15 I would be interested in seeing any artifacts for sale

    David Mauldin | June 05, 2017 at 7:37 | reply

  • still have ur indian collection

    Jimmy Williams | June 11, 2017 at 10:04 | reply

  • i have a small collection that i have collected over the past 70 years, i would like to know what they are worth they come from Richmond cty.

    wayne wallace | September 19, 2017 at 10:11 | reply

  • this odd stone is goose egg sized and shaped with a hole drilled into one end. is symmetrical and smooth ground all around. It was found in Abbeville Alabama, i reside in hickory nc now. Local museum guys in Alabama were stumped having never seen one, suspected it was an unfinished weight or for ceremonial mixtures in top. Otherwords, they didnt know hahaha! seen one before or know how it was used? Thanks to all. hmm no place to link my pics...

    james | October 05, 2017 at 3:05 | reply

  • Do you still have the arrow head?

    Jerimiah | March 08, 2018 at 3:09 | reply

  • I live in Johnston County North Carolina and Have found that I am most at peace when I am nature walking thru the fields connecting with the earth and the ancients. It’s a sort of mediation for me to look for arrowheads and there are few days when it’s not raining that I am not in a field at some point during the day. With that said I have found some pretty awesome points and tools, arrowheads etc and am interested in finding out what I could sell the collection or individual pieces for. I consider these gifts from the other side so I originally wasn’t going to sell them but after praying about my finances, dreamed that those gifts were were the answer to my prayers. Figured I should see what I could find out about their worth. If anyone would like pictures of what I have my email is mindyk1210@gmail.com.

    Mindy | March 10, 2018 at 12:30 | reply

  • I found what I think to be and indian spear of some kind in my yard. I would love to see if someone can help me identify what it could possibly be. thanks

    Sunnie | May 19, 2018 at 2:18 | reply

  • I'd like to see pictures of your artifacts and tell you what they may be worth. Thanks Frank

    Frank Alexander | May 20, 2018 at 6:38 | reply

  • Where should I send the pictures?

    Mindy | May 20, 2018 at 1:18 | reply

  • My email address is frankster0200@centurylink.net if anyone has some NC artifacts they want help identifying or have a collection they wish to sell. Thanks Frank 252-478-4100

    Frank Alexander | May 20, 2018 at 4:36 | reply

  • can you send a pic here to this addy jamesjr191@yahoo.com

    james | May 20, 2018 at 5:46 | reply

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