How to Identify Indian Artifacts & Rocks

Indian artifacts and rocks are an archeological documentation of ancient people.

Indian artifacts and rocks used as tools or construction material are a fascinating archaeological find almost anyone can make. Because Native Americans covered most of the North American continent before Europeans settled, the artifacts of their passing are relatively abundant if you know where to look. Identification of these items is based on a few simple observations of the artifacts to determine if it is a find of Indian origin and what it might have been used for.

Note the location of the area you are looking or have found an existing artifact. Settlements near rivers were common as travel by waterways was useful and water was a necessary resource. A search near a a river or old river bed may yield artifacts and rocks used by the inhabitants.

Compare the shape of the artifact or rock to items known to be used by native people. Arrowheads are common artifacts, as well as sharpened rocks for skinning or cutting animals. Pottery or shards of pottery are obvious man-used materials, which can then be further examined for origin. If the shape of the item looks like it has been altered for human use, it may be an Indian artifact.

Examine the material of the item to compare to known Indian tribes or commonly used materials from the area of the previous inhabitants. Items like animal skins or natural fibers don't often withstand the elements or deterioration of time unless they have been protected. Rock, pottery or bone artifacts can often be found intact. Determine if the material is consistent with the native inhabitants and compare it to documented items used by tribes in that particular area for comparison.

Take the item to a local expert for the native people in the area. A museum or archeology department at the local college may have displays or documentation and staff familiar with the area's previous inhabitants and have the expertise to help identify your artifact or rock as being part of a native collection.

Caprice Castano recently left the field of construction management to operate her own contracting business and spend time developing her writing career. Current projects include freelance writing for Internet publications and working on novel-length fiction.