Hunting For Michigan Arrowheads? A Few Things You Should Know…
Lately, at least judging by social media posts, more and more people in Michigan seem to be stumbling upon a plethora of arrowheads.
Specifically, these posts have been popping up in the public Facebook group Michigan History. A man named Dean W. found at least 13 Native American arrowheads and other tools on his farm in Shiawassee County. Steven S. stumbled upon a couple of arrowheads just walking through mid-Michigan. And, Marcia H. randomly found one in her own backyard.
The question is, why are so many people suddenly finding arrowheads? Is it a coincidence or are there just that many to be found throughout the state of Michigan? And, what do you do if you find one?
First, some history:
The Indigenous Tribes of Michigan
A quick internet search reveals a history that is too complex for me, a simple radio personality, to break down accurately. But, according to michiganology.org, there were a number of tribes native to Michigan. The three main tribes consisted of
Michiganology.org goes on to say, "Together, they are Anishinaabe or original people.”
Present-day, there are at least 12 federally-recognized tribes and 4 state-recognized tribes throughout the state of Michigan, according to bridgemi.com.
Where to Find Arrowheads
This part is a little tricky and will require research on your part.
Since the Indigenous people were here first, before any of the French or German settlers reached Michigan, it's hard to point to one specific region that's more likely to have arrowheads for you to find. As mentioned above, some people are finding them randomly in their own backyards.
However, at least one person has had luck very close to lakes in Michigan. Check out their video below:
You can find more tips for finding arrowheads at treasurepursuits.com.
Now, what to do if you do actually find an arrowhead or other artifact...
Finders Keepers Doesn't Really Apply
So, you've found an arrowhead. Now what? Throwing it in your pocket isn't the way to go. Is it against the law? In some cases, yes.
According to Michigan state law, Public Act 173 of 1929, prohibits people from removing all historical and archaeological resources on state-owned lands, according to an article from petoskeynews.com. The loophole would be, of course, if you find the artifact/arrowhead on privately owned land and then acquire permission from the landowner to remove it.
However, while that arrowhead or artifact may not hold any monetary value, removing it from the location where you found it could significantly decrease its historical value. In that same article from petoskeynews.com, Lynn Evans, curator of archaeology for Michigan State Historic Parks, said,
It totally devalues what the artifact is, because without knowing what it is and what else might be in its surroundings, it is just another pretty thing.
Take a picture, put it back, and perhaps contact the local museum or archeological society. That's the best course of action.
If you're looking to expand your knowledge of the Indigenous tribes in Michigan, there are several museums that offer an inside look at both history and culture. You can find that full list, divided by region, here.
Besides arrowheads, there are plenty of historical artifacts just waiting to be discovered in Michigan. Check out a few finds from Michigan treasure hunter, James Stottlemyer: