Ray Vaughn Artifact Hunter

Ray Vaughn
Some background on me and a few frames from my collection.

Collecting Indian Artifacts by Ray Vaughn

I have collected Artifacts since I was 6 Yrs. old. I found my first native American point walking down a dirt road with my dad when we lived within 500 feet of the old Choctaw Coosa Town village site in Lauderdale county. Collecing artifacts off and on for nearly 40 years,  most of my early points were found walking in rocky creek beds in Kemper County, MS where I picked up points that caught up on top of the rock bars. Another favorite hunting place was in plowed fields on old village sites. Most of my early points were from the Woodland or Historic period and along with these points I found many pieces of broken Choctaw pottery........much of it with decorative designs.  I have found several grooved axes and one heavy quartzite chipped axe on these Woodland-Historic village sites.

During the late 60s, I began to study the historic Indian village sites and their locations as recorded in the Mississippi State Historical Archives. These were published from early accounts of English explorers to East Mississippi. Not many people were interested in hunting points at this time. I was one in a very few. I developed a love for arrowhead hunting when my dad took me to his old home place in Kemper County and showed me how to find points in the creek. He said that there were so many when he was growing up that he and his brothers would shoot them in sling shots. In the 70s I met John Williams in Meridian and we hunted extensively around  the Meridian and Kemper county area  locating many new sites together.  These were all Choctaw period sites with mostly early Woodland to Historic period artifacts.

Then, after taking a few years off from point hunting,  in the mid 90s my friend, Melvin Tingle,  (Mississippi Outdoor TV Series) told me about a pharmacist in Meridian who was building a fantastic Indian artifact collection of Tallahatta quartzite points. The pharmacist was Bobby Boyd.  I called Bobby and arranged a meeting at the pharmacy where Bobby showed me his collection and shared some of his point hunting experiences.  This got me fired up. I had never considered digging in a creek rock bar looking for arrowheads. It seemed like an impossible task. But, it stands to reason that if they are laying around on top of the rock bars, then there would theroretically be even more under the surface waiting to be found.  Bobby invited me along on a trip a few weeks later and I made my first nice creek find. A large well formed Morrow Mountain point that was 4.5 In. long and 2.75 In wide. It was a massive piece as these large Morrow Mountain-Bascom points tend to be. Bobby Boyd found a killer Adena point on that day digging beside me. I was hooked on creek digging and since that time I have not been able to quench my quest to find points.  Bobby introduced me to Eddie Spears and I began to hunt points with Eddie on a weekly basis. During the next 3 years Eddie and I found many nice points and had great times spending entire days walking along streams and rivers and digging camp site locations.

In addition to Eddie, I met Rex Anderson and Steve Horne, who also became friends and point hunting pals. I have thoroughly enjoyed hunting and finding points with these guys from Meridian. It amazed me to watch them study creeks and theorize where points would be holding in rock bar and I was frequently surprised at the points they found searching these locations. Not only were they skilled artifact hunters but they were persistent and could consistently find points. They all had point fever just like me. I guess only another arrowhead hunter can understand that condition. It's like the prospectors in the 1800's finding gold and getting gold fever. You could say that arrowhead hunters have point fever. Can't wait to get out and find the next point. And if we are not the lucky one who finds the point, it's great to be there and see someone else find one.  And, I should mention my other point hunting pals here. Mike Thornton from Laurel, Ed Kampe from Hattiesburg, Dr. Keith Lay Jr.  from Bay Springs and Dr. Bob Bailey from Hattiesburg.

As Bobby Boyd told me, it always amazes him that someone can go out into the woods, get in a creek and dig up an arrowhead. Sometimes many arrowheads.  We sometimes get together, the whole group and spend the day point hunting. I remember one July a few years back, we found 29 points that day. A good day. I found 11 myself.  On another day I watched Bobby Boyd find about 22  points by himself. And, the creek hunting in East Miss. and West Alabama is a great place to find Paleo, Trans Paleo and Archaic points. Mostly Tallahatta quartzite, very fine in composition, quality and workmanship and often perfectly preserved in the creek beds under rock and water where no free oxygen can promote the oxidation of  the material. This Tallahatta quartzite, with it's opaque translucence and white snow flake inclusions is some of the most beautiful and sought after material in the point world today. And in this area, sometime the points are large, even massive.  During the past 10 years, I have been lucky enough to find 2 Tallahatta quartzite southern Clovis points.  One of the greatest feelings when you find a point and hold it in your hand is realizing you are the first person to hold it since it was lost by it's maker. You hold a tool that another ancient human made and used to live by and to feed his family during prehistoric times.  It's an awesome and inspiring feeling that connects you  personally to the ancient past in a unique way.  It makes some arrowhead hunters want to shout. It really like living an Indiana Jones adventure every time you go on an artifact hunt. An adrenaline pumping high that is really hard to find in today's busy world. And after the hunt is over, you can't wait until the next one. This is the artifacts hunting experience.

The Point Possee from Meridian
Photo taken by Eddie Spears on Allen Creek about 2002.
Watching these guys from Meridian walk out into a creek, get onto their knees and dig up a point is something that I continually rewind in your mind. You wonder why they chose that spot to dig when there are some many other places to dig all around. And if asked, a normal response would be " It seamed like as good a place as any to start."  Since hunting points with this group, I have respectfully and privately referred to them as The Point Posse.  They track the points down, round them up and bring them home. As a good friend of mine,  Dr. Robert Bailey from Hattiesburg observed, these guys are professional point hunters. And that is true ! And these fellows all have fantastic artifact collections which I hope to highlight in the future on this site.

The Indians were everywhere in North America. Almost anywhere close to water you will find artifacts.  By the 1400s, the Americian Indian populations numbered in the millions and they had been in North America in numbers for more than 10,000 years. Now, new carbon 14 dating is pointing to even earlier dates of 16,000 years. The fact that so many points are found brings one to the realization that there are trillions of arrowheads left by these ancient Americians. Even with all the points that have been found, there are still that many and more waiting to be discovered and some of these will be the very rare, fine and unusual points. Many of these large Tallahatta quartzite points in East Miss. and West Ala. are perfect and fine in workmanship detail.

So, here's wishing you all good point hunting. Hope to see you out there sometime.
My direct contact email is;  rayvaughn33@hotmail.com
Thanks for looking at my story and send me an email if you have anything interesting to share.

A Few Frames from My Collection

Top Center above- 3 In. creek stained Tallahatta quartzite southern Clovis found Lauderdale Co., MS and just below it a huge 6.75 In. Kirk from same creek.

Frame above of points I restored mostly found
Lauderdale & Jones Co., MS.

Top Center above-3 In. Tallahatta quartzite Southern fluted Clovis
 found Lauderdale, Co., MS

A 6 In. creek stained Tallahatta Quartzite Dalton
 found in Lauderdale Co., MS   restored tip

Above Caddo friendship bowl from northwest Miss. and
a Rabbit Effigy pot from Lee Co., MS

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