Treasure Finds and Stories
2,500+ Year Old Copper Spear Point
After a few days of research due to being housebound from non-stop down pouring I had a couple days’ worth of hunting planned and mapped out. I started my hunt at 8:00 in the morning in one of my favorite hunt spots. I’ve been searching and recovering from this particular site for over 3 years now with every winter passing it turns up new finds. I spent the majority of my morning there not finding much. It was probably due to the amount of time I had already spent there in previous hunts. Just before I was about to leave I got a sweet dime signal at 5 inches down. I dug until I could see the back of the barber dime glistening at me. After brushing it off I discovered it was a 1900 New Orleans mint Barber dime with hardly any wear. Not as prosperous of an adventure as before but at least I found something.
Since my first location turned out to be a bust, I headed on to my next location which was an old picnic area from the 1950’s. The second site proved to be much better than the first, despite the soupy mud I was trudging through. It was raining and everything was muddy but it wasn’t about to stop my search. After about 15 minutes of detecting I recovered a 1952 Roosevelt silver dime. It was roughly 7 inches down from the surface. Within 2 minutes after my first discovery I found a second 1952 Roosevelt dime again roughly 7 inches down. I was finally off the bench and making progress! A few minutes later I managed to pull a 1944 silver Mercury dime out and to my surprise 4 feet to the left I got another 12.44 signal. It was another silver Mercury dime 8 inches down this time it was a 1941. After hitting it hard in the rain for the majority of the day I headed to the truck to return home. As I strolled back I decided not to waste the walk and continued to swing my coil. I got another 12.44 signal and it ended up being a 1951 silver Roosevelt at 6 inches down. I recovered a total of 5 silver dimes in this location within an hour of detecting. This spot definitely proved to be flourishing with silver and was an excellent find.
Once I got home I was still not fully content with what I’d found due to the first one being such a bust. Winter in Wisconsin just seemed to drag on this year and I was happy that the ground finally thawed enough to dig. I decided to search the back corner of my own property to see what else I could find. After pulling up a few good coins and relics with my Minelab I got a solid 12.42 that read 10 inches deep. After digging down 10 inches and dropping my pin pointer in the hole I couldn’t find the signal, slightly puzzled I continued to search. I knew it couldn’t be deep trash because it was giving off copper numbers and tones. I dug down 4 more inches and my pin pointer finally started to pick up something. Reaching down with my hand I cleared out a little more dirt from the hole. I noticed a bright green color or commonly known as patina of aged copper staring out at me. I knew it had to be larger than a coin due to the depth so I carefully removed it and to my surprise it was a copper spear point! The elusive copper spear point ended up being 14 inches below the surface. I honestly didn’t think it was a spear point because I had never seen anything like it. The spear points condition was amazing it was fully intact!
I began to do more research and was able to confirm that it was a solid copper socketed spear point that is at least 2,500 years old. Through research I learned that Wisconsin is one of the states that are home to what was called “The Old Copper Complex” which was the first North American miners. There is archaeological evidence that indicates prehistoric Native Americans began to populate the area we call Wisconsin at least 11,500 years ago. The end of the last Ice Age allowed the first human inhabitants to arrive in the Western Great Lakes Region. As the glaciers receded new territories were available for habitation. These post-Ice Age hunter-gatherer cultures have been named the Archaic Period. In the Great Lakes Region the Archaic Period spanned from about 8000-1000 BC. During this time period the effects of the last glacial period on the Great Lakes Region was the scouring of the rock that holds the copper deposits. Glacial scouring exposed veins of copper, sheared off copper pieces of varying sizes and transported them miles from the original source. This transported copper, found mostly in glacial gravel deposits, is known as "float copper". It was deposited as the glaciers melted and receded northward. This float copper is found in sizes from that of less than a pea to several tons in weight. Float copper was readily available to the indigenous population during the Archaic Period and would have first been found while looking for material from which to manufacture stone goods. The first indigenous people who actually mined and utilized the copper were labeled "Old Copper Complex" by archaeologists. Old Copper Complex artifacts include varieties of fishhooks, harpoons, spears, dart points, awls, knives, socketed spear points, as well as beads and bracelets. In conclusion I’m very grateful to have recovered this artifact and this is just proof that there is still much to be found.
My advice to fellow relic hunters when you get a deep signal don’t stop digging until you have recovered it, you may be surprised what you discover. This artifact marks the most amazing discovery of my life while metal detecting. I don’t think I’ll ever find anything this prestigious again in my lifetime.