Profile of Mel Ross

-I presently live in Morganton, N.C.

-Most of my collecting of artifacts is from Iowa and Illinois

-My favorite point is the Agate Basin

-I have been collecting for 25 years

    I enjoy the hunting here in North Carolina but the average items found are crude here in the mountains and foothills.


Agate Basin. Found in Lee County, Iowa. April 1993.

"Find of a Lifetime"


"Squaw Knife" from Lake Kabetogama, Minnesota. June 1972

Tiny flake arrow points. Found April, 1982 in Henderson County, Illinois.


My wife and I awoke early Saturday morning and glanced out the picture window to notice the trees blowing about. We then checked the thermometer we had outside and decided that to go relic hunting as we had planned the night before, we would have to wear winter clothes. In Iowa, winter does not loose its grip until at least the first of May and this was just past the middle of April.
We had breakfast, found our ruk sacks and relic sticks, loaded them in our trusty Mustang and off we went. Being a surveyor, I had many opportunities to tramp the Iowa countryside and determine where the plowing was and if it looked like good relic country. I had picked a site overlooking one of Iowa's major rivers and it had been fall plowed so I figured it wasn't going to get much better.
As we headed West from our home in Bettendorf, we happened to pass a field with a fairly large herd of buffalo and my wife had never seen a real buffalo so we casually pulled off the road and took video footage of the animals up near the fence. We then continued Westward to a small town not far from the river where we decided it was time for a cup of coffee already. One thing I have learned over the years: there are relic hunters and then there are tag-alongs with relic hunters. I won't elaborate any more.
After what seemed forever to me, we arrived at the site I had picked. We stopped and asked the owner for permission which was quickly given and we drove a short distance to the field. My excitement was running quite high as I looked toward the river bluff and noticed at least ten burial mounds in the area. I quickly video'd them also to go with the buffalo just in case the Lord had nothing in store for us. We climbed the fence and immediately began to look in the rich, black Iowa soil. My wife again marveled as she is from here in the mountains of North Carolina and had never set foot in that type of rich soil before.
We hunted for about an hour and my wife found a couple of knives and a broken arrow and I had found nothing, not even a flake. She was about fifteen feet behind me and about ten feet to my right as we looked toward the river bluff. Then, as I noticed a white piece of flint sticking up out of the black soil immediately behind a root ball from a corn plant, I yelled to my wife to come quickly. I got the camera off my shoulder as she approached and asked what the commotion was about. I , by this time, was almost speechless as I gazed at the piece of flint. I could only point as I bent down and began to film the piece. I reached down and pulled the piece gently upward from behind the corn root ball ever so slowly and I managed to tell my wife that it was probably broken anyhow. Her remark back to me was that I had gotten in her "row" and really it belonged to her. I finally cleared the corn root ball and my stomach flipped with excitement. It was the nicest complete Agate Basin point I had ever seen! As I rubbed the dirt off and turned it over, I realized that it was paper thin. I held it up to the sun and it was glowing in my hand! All of a sudden, the cold April wind didn't matter any more!
As I handed it to my wife for examination, I told her-this truly was a FIND OF A LIFETIME. The Lord surely had been good to us that spring of 1993.


Hardin. Found May 1955 in Warren County., Illinois

Slate arrowhead from Fulton County, Illinois. July, 1982

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