History takes center stage during artifact show

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News


Bob Daniels has attended the Mt. Pleasant Artifact Show since its inception about 20 years ago. His passion for Iowa?s archaeological artifacts, however, began nearly 60 years ago when he first started hunting arrowheads on his grandmother?s property.

?My grandmother had a few arrowheads and I always liked them,? Daniels said. ?So I started looking at the ground trying to find some.?

And find some he did. Daniels? two displays ? one of colored arrowheads and the other was hardens ? were just a fraction of his collection that he decided to showcase at the Mt. Pleasant Artifact Show, held in the Howe Student Building at Iowa Wesleyan University from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Sunday, Jan. 21. As for how he decides which arrowhead displays to bring, Daniels said with a chuckle, ?the easiest ones to get to.?

Katy Lovitt began hunting arrowheads in the 1980s after she and her husband bought a farm in Southeast Iowa. ?We plowed and the relics just started to turn up,? she said. As farms became no-til operations, Lovitt said she?s seen a decrease in arrowheads and ancient artifacts being found.

Across the way, Jim Roberson was showing off his new book, ?Prehistoric Artifacts of Iowa? to two eventgoers. Roberson said he put the book together for the Hawkeye State Archaeological Society of Iowa and it is a compilation of artifacts found all across the state.

?These artifacts are prehistoric art. And some of them are our only connection to the past,? he said of the featured artifacts.

Sunday?s event wasn?t just about reconnecting with the past. For Roberson it was also about connecting with old friends and making some new ones as well. ?You get to meet a lot of really interesting people from different walks of life,? he said.

For Albia resident Connie Judge, Sunday?s event was a chance to get out of the house. Judge came to the artifact show with a friend who is a collector. Judge said she had done some rock collecting in her past, but nothing as expansive as the displays before her.

?We just got here, but the coolest thing I?ve seen is the ax over there,? she said pointing toward Doc Savage?s booth.

The ax Judge pointed out was magnetic. Savage said the iron ore ax would have had to been heated over 2,000 degrees in order for the molecules to oxidize. ?Theoretically it could have been a meteorite,? he said.

Savage?s treasures spans from arrowheads (including the first one he found in 1957), to axes and swords (one used in the Indian War of 1862). Savage lives on a 300 acre farm near Salem, which has been in his family for 150 years. The property, he says, also has an Indian campsite on it. ?Naturally we find Indian artifacts on the farm so we bring them to the gathering every year.?

Savage?s arrowhead display includes clovis points, which go back to 10,000 B.C., and notch arrowheads that were used in 5,000 B.C.

It?s not just his discoveries that brings him back every year, it?s the people he gets to meet and the history he gets to impart on them.

?History is important and history tends to repeat itself,? said Savage. ?We try to learn the past history so we know the future.?