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History: Reporter describes artifacts

1970
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The Bossier Banner ran an article about arrowheads in its October 4, 1923 issue.

“Lying before the writer, in a neat frame with clear glass front, is an exhibit out of the ordinary.  It is comprised of 132 arrowheads, all presumably of Indian make, and of varying sizes, colors and shapes.  The collection, as pretty as any we have ever seen, we believe, is the property of Mr. Robert E. Wallace, of Benton, and he expects to exhibit it at the Parish Fair and later at the State Fair.  It will doubtless attract considerable attention at the fairs, as it has already done since being left at this office some days ago.”

“These primal implements of war and the chase of game among the primitive Americans Mr. Wallace picked up from time to time on the Wallace old home place, located about four miles southeast of Benton.  They were not scattered over a large plot of ground, indicating that the spot where found, about 300 yards east of the Wallace spring, was long a camping place for some Indian tribe—not likely a battleground, as the arrowheads were not widely scattered.  Again, as arrowheads have been picked up at the site by the hundreds, one naturally speculates as to why so many were lost or left behind through carelessness.  It may be that disease (perhaps cholera) swept the camp and the arrowheads and pottery (all that has not since perished) left behind proved too great a load for the survivors to move.”

“The American Indians are said to have shaped flint and other rock into arrowheads, spearheads, etc. through the use of fire and water—by heating the rock and then applying drops of water here and there to make particles of the material crack and fall off until the desired size and shape were obtained.  This must have been a slow and tedious process, requiring skill.  All considered, then it must have been a task of the squaws—a kind of before-bedtime pastime—and not of the ‘braves,’ who are credited with having had much aversion for work of any nature.”

“The collection challenges both admiration and study.  The beads vary much in size, perhaps from a fourth of an ounce to four ounces in weight.  The larger and longer ones may have been spearheads.  Those of least size may have tipped arrows used in hunting small game, or perhaps the squaws made them up for use of the children.  Some are long and pointed; others so blunt that one is led to imagine that their arrows were merely used to goad the loose points along.  Some few of them are barbed, but most of them have smooth corners; some are pretty in shape, others irregular, and some few of odd shape.  A wide range of colors and color tints are represented.  You should see the collection and form your own estimate of it.”

While we are unable to see this collection that was collected so long ago, we will be celebrating Archaeology Month in October.  Plan to attend special events for the month at the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or amiddlet@state.lib.la.us