Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies


Keith Couch
Central States Archaeological Societies 2001 January Journal
Calvert City, Kentucky

We have all heard of beginners luck. On August 29th of last year, I got to see it first hand. My wife Joy, son Jake and I all decided to go to the lake to see if we could find any artifacts. The weather was typical for early fall in western Kentucky, cool in the early morning and warming up by lunch time. We hooked up the boat and off we went to Barkley Lake. Both Joy and Jake were novices and had only been artifact hunting a few times, whereas I go hunting on a relatively regular basis. We launched the boat and headed to a spot I had discovered back in the previous winter.

There was a little flint around where we beached the boat but the best place to hunt was across a small mudflat, a little ways away. Joy and Jake decided not to walk the mudflat and told me to go on ahead. Joy said, "They would look around and throw some rocks into the water for entertainment." As I started across the mudflat, I immediately found the broken end of a Dovetail drill (St. Charles point) and some other pieces. Then, all of the sudden, Joy yelled out, "I found an arrowhead. It wasn't broken and really big." I watched as she carefully bent down to pick up the point and I hurried over to her. I was never so surprised as when I got to her and saw that she had found a really exceptional Dovetail point! It was 4 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide and that had been resharpened very little. The color of  the point is caramel with a chocolate colored edge and chocolate stripes on the base. It is a truly beautiful example of prehistoric flint knapping.  


St. Charles Dovetail point found by Joy Couch while artifact hunting with her family. It is shown actual size. Keith Couch collection. Photo by Ron Smith.

After getting home, all Joy wanted to know was how much it was worth. I had no idea. Considering that Joy at the time was 7 months pregnant. I imagine, that she was thinking of how many diapers it could buy if we sold it. I told her, "We shouldn't sell it, as it would be a nice keepsake for our baby." Truthfully, I was thinking of myself,  and that just maybe it might end up in my collection. I have been looking for artifacts for about five years but never found anything near the quality of this point.

As it turned out my birthday was a month later. Joy had asked me several times what I wanted for my birthday present, but I never gave her an answer. I knew what I really wanted but was afraid to say. When I got home from work on my birthday, there was a card and note from Joy and Jake. The note inside said the Dovetail was my birthday present! Maybe next time Jake will have some beginners luck and find a point as nice as his mother's. Hopefully, he will remember what his dad likes to get for his birthday.

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