A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

A Glimmer of the Past

Wealth of history lies inches below soil   
Have you ever driven past the Hurley cornfields after the harvest and maybe looked out in the distance to see figures slowly moving over the plowed furrows, staring intently down and occasionally stooping to pick something up?
Did you wonder what they were seeking? To the untrained eye it seems to be nothing but miles of dirt in every direction. But, the plows that come to the cornfields spring and fall dig deep down into the earth and pull up and scatter about a vast array of Indian artifacts. Made out of flint, shell, bone, and glass these knapped Native American arrowheads or points, hand axes, knives, and all manner of tools are lying inches below the surface.
With a hat to shield your eyes from the sun, a walking stick, a bag to carry your pieces home in, and permission from the landowner, you can have a thrilling day of seeking and finding treasure. Treasure as in the many different colors of the flint, to say the least. My late husband Earl and I would find points of translucent yellow, jade green, brown, gray and black, and the very rare phantom point with its two colors.
Your first time out might be discouraging as every stone looks the same, but with patience you develop a feel. The best time to go is after a rain fall as everything gets rinsed off and the flint sparkles out there like diamonds. When you have your find in the palm of your hand, and it looks as if it were dropped yesterday instead of hundreds of years ago, and you know you have preserved it from the blades of the plow, it’s better than if you had found gold!
With the warm sun on your face and the geese flying above, it’s a joy to walk over the fields imagining the villages and encampments—and holding history in your hand.