American Indian Arrowhead Identification: A Resource Guide

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obsidian arrowhead made by ancient native american indians
credit: Darron Birgenheier





In North America, over 2000 different types of Native American Indian arrowheads have been identified. With so many types of arrowheads out there, arrowhead identification can be a very challenging task. But this challenge can be just as much fun as actually heading out into nature and looking for arrowheads.

For tips on looking for arrowheads, read my article, How To Find Arrowheads In The Woods. 

Finding An Arrowhead Is Just The Beginning

For many of people that enjoy hunting arrowheads, finding the arrowhead alone is reward in itself. For the rest of us, however, there is are many more questions we want answered. Typical questions we have are:

What type of arrowhead is this?
When was this arrowhead made?
Who made this arrowhead and what was the culture like?
Is this an authentic American Indian arrowhead?
And perhaps we may even want to know, what’s the arrowheads value?

Generally, there are many more questions along with these that we want answers to. This is why it’s important for arrowhead enthusiasts like ourselves to not just know how to hunt arrowheads but also how to identify Indian arrowheads.

 

Arrowhead Identification Resources

Best Books For Arrowhead Identification

With such easy access to the internet, arrowhead identification has never been easier. Even with this vast wealth of information at our fingertips, we still may need to refer to printed material for positive Indian artifact identification, especially out in the field where internet access is not always available. In that case, The Official Overstreet Identification and Price Guide to Indian Arrowheads is probably the best tangible resource for arrowhead identification and determining arrowheads value.

 

Best Websites For Indian Arrowhead Identification

There are a lot of websites available for helping you identify arrowheads as well as determining an arrowheads value, but I’ve compiled a few of the best resources. Using these sites together in researching your arrowhead will work best. One website may be able to help you narrow down your search, while another might help you really hone in on what type of arrowhead you have.

1. Projectilepoints.net

Projectilepoints.net is my favorite website for arrowhead identification. You can perform a visual search based on multiple pictures of arrowheads, or you can do a regional search. But the best feature that this website offers is the “search by state” option. This really helps in quickly narrowing down your search.

The information you can find on this site includes the name of the arrowhead, a picture (or pictures) of the arrowhead, a description of its shape and its size as well as the cultural period the arrowhead came from. This is excellent information for diving into the history and the background of your arrowheads.

2. Typology.arrowheads.com

This is another great resource for arrowhead identification. It offers the same search features as Projectilepoints.net except it doesn’t give the option for searching by state, which for me has been the most powerful and useful search option.




 

Things to consider when identifying Native American Indian arrowheads

Location

Where you found your arrowhead will play a very critical role in starting to identify it. As I mentioned earlier, when you go to projectilepoints.net, you can go directly to the state where you found the arrowhead. This will eliminate hundreds of other arrowheads that may look similar as yours.

Shape

Note the shape of the arrowhead. Is it stemmed or stemless? If it’s stemmed, does the stem contract or expand? Or is the stem straight? You also want to pay attention to the notching on the arrowhead. Are the notches on the side, the corner or the base?

Knowing the location and the shape of the projectile point is enough to narrow the type of arrowhead to perhaps only a dozen possibilities!

If you have more questions about arrowhead descriptions and the names that are used, lithicsnet.com is an excellent resource to use to become familiar with the terminology.

 

Other Highly Recommended Resources For Identifying and Hunting Indian Arrowheads