Son Anderson Articles

Son's Current Article

I'm known as "Son of Seminole" in Donalsonville Ga and the surrounding area for writing the outdoors column for the local paper for over 23 years. Covering Seminole Co, Lake Seminole and other areas. But you might say this page is for "arrowhead collectors", a common term used for collectors of prehistoric Indian artifacts. We collect anything prehistoric man made in the USA, pottery, stone, bone, flint, coral, chert or whatever else they used. The author of this site focuses mostly on Florida artifacts, although he has experience collecting in many other states such as, Alabama, Arkansas, Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and a bit in Mississippi and Mo. Most everyone likes nastalgia, so why not a discussion about how Prehistoric Stone point typology came about in Florida? Several years before the professional publishing by R.P. Bullen, several Tampa Bay area collectors had already began using names for the stone points they were finding. Using names of themselves, prominent professionals and places, they had a point type thing going. No, they didn't have the cultural periods completely figured out, but they well understood what types of artifacts were associated in different type sites. They had also figured out early sites from the more recent ones, Paleo to Mississippian. Although their timing in between may have been a little off, they were off to a good beginning throwing around names such as "Palm River", "Cooley", "Hart", and "Gibson" to name a few.

In 1964 Dr. Jarl Malwin published a paper containing the names used by Florida's first point typologist. Being passed around without fee the use of the first names became common with the majority. About 1968 Ripley P. Bullen met with several Florida collectors and discussed typology. They offered their names and opinions, but Bullens chose his own. As you can imagine, this didn't set well with the collectors, and to this day many of those old timers continue using their old names. Most collectors taking up the hobby after the publishing of Bullens book adopted the new names. Sometime after 1978 Bullens publishing became difficult to find and for the most part, out of print. R.P. Bullens book was published by Kendall Books of Gainesville Fl., Kendall was Ripleys wifes maiden name, evidently Kendall was her company. In 1979 a line drawing point typology book was authored by George D. Robinson. Robinsons book was so much like Bullens book, Kendall books made him mark it as a revised edition of their book. Copies were limited, so collectors can consider themselves lucky if they have a copy. To fill the void, and with the encouragement of Professor Roger Early of Hillsborough Community College, Son Anderson Sr. published His first Florida point type book in 1984.

Continuing with Bullens typology and adding three types, Cowhouse Slough (middle Paleo), Fl Cypress Creek (Middle Archaic), and the Weeden Island, (Woodland). In 1987 Anderson again published, This book was named "American Indian point types of North Florida, South Alabama and South Georgia". The original Bullen names were used along with types found in the southern most portions of Alabama and Georgia. In 1987 a few names from Malwins paper were picked up as Bullen had not named some point forms. Those names are Six Mile Creek, Osceola Greenbriar I and II, and Waller Knife. Two new names were added, Boggy Branch and Seminole. Mr. Ralph Allen of Montgomery asked Anderson to name a type he had found in Henry Co. Alabama as they had never been recognized.

Anderson asked if there was a creek nearby, where the type had been found, Mr. Allen said, "Boggy Branch", so that's the name Anderson used. Meanwhile in Seminole Co. Ga. Anderson had discovered several late archaic sites containing Clay points with many pointed barb points associated. It was just several years before that Anderson had personal conversation with a collector in Levy Co. Fl. who told of the same. Not being named, these pointed barb points had been mistakenly grouped with an earlier type called Levy. In an effort to place the type where it belonged, the name "Seminole" was given. The Seminole example used in the book was found by Mr. Percy Jones of Donalsonville, Ga., and a fine example it is. In 1999 Andersons 1987 publishing was revised with the type "Safety Harbor" from Malwins paper, and Florida types that had previously been ommited were also added. Presently it's the interest of several collectors to publish another Florida point type book. One that is correct in typology, following Bullens lead, including some of Malwins types, adding accepted new names and including actual pictures instead of line drawings. Many Florida collectors may remember the Peninsular Archaeology Society Inc., In discussion at this time is an idea to compile a book containing many interesting articles, pictures and drawings from a libarary of "The Early Man" journals, Known in it's earlier days as "The Peninsular Archaeological Quarterly". This book would be of great interest to anyone who enjoys the nastalgia of Floridas collectors. And a great chance to see how those early collectors saw the hobby.. If you have an interest in this book, email and let us know.

Florida Point Types and why the subject is so confusing these days. When typing Florida points I use Ripley P. bullens book, A Guide to the Identification of Florida Projectile Points, 1975, revised edition, Kendall Books. Other references published prior to 1990 are also used. The Jarl Malwin Paper 1964, Early Man Journals of the Peninsular Archaeological Society Inc. and thru personal conversation with other Florida collectors, especially the senior ones. Such collectors as Bradley Cooley, James Gibson, Michael Harrell, and the list goes on. Several Senior Florida collectors can be viewed in the Who's Who publications. They were in on the beginning of Florida point typing and were consulted by Bullen before his first publishing of 1968. If you have copies of pre 1990 Florida point type guides feel fortunate as they are most difficult to find. I published a Florida point type guide in 1984 and another point type guide in 1987 that covered Florida in part, both are out of print. The scaricity and difficulty of finding the original point type guides have given new publishers an open door to change point type names. Usually without challenge because most collectors don't have the original references. But who cares? Well, some of us do and it's a fun challenge to try and get the types right.

A collector that's interested in point typology will usually have all grades of artifacts in their collection. That's what it takes if one wants to include all the Florida types in their collection. Imagine trying to get all the types in a grade ten as some call the best, you can see what I mean. A Florida collector can't possibly find all the types in their region because some types aren't found throughout the state. This gives cause for collectors to travel, buy or trade to complete a Florida point type collection. I would imagine most point typology mistakes in new publishings are the result of incomplete research. With over 45 years of collecting and point typology experience, speaking for college classes, association with professional archaeologist, anthropologist and Library research, (even in the guarded "Closed Stacks" in the Tampa Main Library I feel qualified to speak out on this subject and challenge incorrect publishings. Publishing will go on without correction because the books are marketable. People will buy them for the pictures if nothing else. In many cases the books will picture points from the collections of the buyers. The person or persons photographing your points compiles quite a collection of information and is the first to make a profit from your collection.. Such as, who has what and how many for possible buying ventures in the future. Let me end this discussion by saying, I will never co-author another point type guide. If a future point type guide is published by me it will be solo and my references will be strictly guided by personal experience and pre-1990 information provided by Florida Professionals, the first Florida point typologist, Senior Florida Collectors, and any new info that is accurate. REfS: Peninsular Archaeological Journals, Early Man, A Florida Publication A Guide to the Identification of Florida Projectile Points, Bullen, Kendall books 1975 Outlines and other data on West Central Florida Projectile Points, George D. Robinson 1979 Certain Heretofore unclassified Florida Projectile Points, Dr. Jarl Malwin (60's) Florida Archaeology, Bibliography of Florida Arch. through 1980, index to bibliography of Fl. Arch through 1980, for complete research prior to 1980 copyright 2006,.

Let it be known, Son Anderson or Seminole Co. ga., and Robert Palmer of North Ga did support collectors and managed with the help of our Legislators, defeated unacceptable wording Oct 15, 1991 In house Bill 457. We combined, saved our collector liberties for another nine years. You can read below my response to HB 457 in 1991.

Dear Senator:
I write to you in reference to HB 457. Allow me to begin by making you aware of the existence of two large, organized societies in the state of Georgia whose participants collect and regularly display prehistoric to modern American Indian artifacts for personal enjoyment and public enlightenment These two societies are the Peach State Archaeological Society, founded in 1975 and an affiliate member of the Central States Archaeological Society (an organization representing the entire eastern region of the United States), and the Kolomoki Society, along-established organization named after Georgia's Kolomoki mound complex and representing die coastal plain region of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. The memberships of both of these groups are unanimously and very strongly opposed to significant portions of HB 457 for a number of reasons, some of which I will address in this letter to you. First, and in a general sense, the archaeological societies to which I have referred are comprised of good citizens mat are professional archaeologists, amateur archaeologists and students of American ethnology and cultural anthropology, and just common, decent people who share an interest in and a love for the past and the physical remains—the artif acts-of mat past Many who are members of these organizations or who frequent our shows are persons of Indian descent who have no qualms about viewing, collecting, or displaying these artifacts. Bluntly stated, HB 457 would smear the collective character of all people involved in the collecting and display of prehistoric antiquities. It appears that a few individuals in secrecy-shrouded special interest groups are concerned about collectors somehow making an occasional profit through this hobby. We are no different from those who collect other things (such as antique cars, baseball cards, stamps, coins, comic books, and so forth) in mat we enjoy our hobby, often as a family-oriented recreational and educational activity, and the relatively small amount of buying, selling and trading of artifacts that may occur within these groups is a phenomenon common to all collecting. We all officially condemn the wanton destruction of prehistoric sites, as well as the "under-the-counter" trading in artifacts obtained by destructive or unethical means. We also deplore the devastation of such sites as a result of public and private development, construction, and poorly supervised land management projects, since such represents an unrecoverable loss of information to generations of the present and future. We acknowledge the existence of and do all that we can as groups and individuals to limit the activities of a very small number of "outlaws" who dig in previously undisturbed sites for personal gain outside the auspices of our organizations. However, it is important for you and your colleagues to know that the huge majority of artifacts are acquired through such absolutely ethical and legal means as surface collecting artifacts in plowed fields and clearcuts or picking up materials from washouts or eroded embankments after permission has been acquired from the private landowners upon whose properties these objects are located. I would like to remind you that the few archaeologists who may support this bill are themselves paid employees of the taxpayers of this state and the nation as a whole. These few are attempting to author and seek support for laws putting themselves in a position to intimidate, persecute, and prosecute the very people who pay their salaries—the taxpaying public—in terms of what they can own, and the manner in which they may dispose of their private property. This, to no small degree, embodies a direct conflict with the rights of all citizens guaranteed by the Constitution, particularly since not only artifacts but the private lands from which they were and are being recovered are involved, in effect, these archaeologists and there-companions are attempting to legislate their own job security while placing themselves above public explanations of or accountability for their actions. Isn't this control of private property by public officials called communism? Never did the bill mention that modern American Indians, in some cases, enjoy the status of "Separate, Dependent Nations" in this country and on their lands they can and do sell their own products tax-free. These Native Americans—such as the Cherokees of North Carolina and the Seminoles of Florida— make and sell prodigious quantities of lithic (stone) products, pottery, baskets, and other goods to collectors and tourists. Will the Indians later try to say these items are "sacred and ceremonial" and want them returned to them for resale or burial? It is impossible for the modem Indian of the deep Southeast to prove an absolute relationship to any particular prehistoric native group, since no history was written in North America prior to the arrival of the first European explorers in the 1500s. Furthermore, it is a well-documented, archaeologically proven fact (acknowledged, I might add, by modern Indian groups themselves based on their own oral traditions) that most of the Indians of the southeastern United States who were encountered by the earliest Europeans were not native to the region. In fact, they arrived from the northeast Mexico-Texas region in about AD. 1250 to 1300 and destroyed, conquered, or absorbed nearly all of this area's original inhabitants. Would these relative newcomers—these Indian conquistadores—know or even care about the customs, traditions, artifacts, or belief systems of the people whose lands they had just overrun and whose cultures they had just defeated or eradicated? While the representatives of Indian groups of the Southeast are probably capable of identifying and interpreting the artifacts of their own cultures and direct (who, again, arrived here about 200 to 250 years prior to Ponce de Lean's 1513 expedition in Florida), the prehistoric cultures they conquered, destroyed or displaced have no living representative descendants who can authoritatively determine the precise nature of those earlier cultures' social, political, religious, ceremonial, or mortuary systems and, in many other parts of the country) who can precisely interpret the artifacts left behind by earlier cultures. What the modem Native American does know about his own prehistory on this continent is largely due to the efforts by generations of amateur and professional archaeologists of European descent who have worked diligently for many years to attempt to excavate innumerable sites and, to the best of their collective abilities, interpret these sites' contents across the country. Whether these interpretations of prehistoric cultures and the artifacts related to them are correct or not often remains a point of heated disagreement, even among the most accomplished of professional researchers. The modern Indians of this area's first known human habitation— approximately 11,500 years ago—to the time of their ancestral occupancy of the southeast of 700 to 750 years ago. How, then, are they (or archaeologists) going to tell collectors precisely which artifacts were "ceremonial'* or "sacred"? Were knives, projectile points, pottery bottles and bowls, axes, and items of personal adornment all "sacred"? Are similar items sacred to us today, by any existing formula or definition? HB 457 would allow someone out there to have absolute authority in these decisions, and we as collectors and students submit that no one living or dead has the ability to be so unerring in such an error-prone sphere of decision-making as what can best, often be called educated guesswork. I would like to proceed with comments noted in discussions with many of my friends and collecting associates about specific parts of HB 457: Sec. 8,31-21-45 It would seem to be at the discretion of the appointed committee to arbitrarily put many of our museums out of business because most items displayed would or could be declared to be burial objects. An educational process would be lost for everyone, especially the many school groups that visit our museums each year. We would lose a personal touch with prehistoric America and its art, cultures, and lifestyles, only to be presented with mere pictures as sorry substitutes for the real thing. Sec. 8.31-21-46 This could prove to be another thorn in our local farmers' sides. Should the committee survey Georgia's many farms and find sites it considers to be possible burial grounds, then the farmer would have to add acreage to wetlands they have been forbidden from using to make a living or produce crops for the people. Sec. 8,31-21-48 I believe this section is premature. The bill hasn't been fully acted upon. If it was unlawful to buy, sell, trade, import, or export for profit Indian objects (keep in mind that the committee could declare anything to be burial objects), men this hobby would be destroyed, many fine citizens would immediately become criminals, and many museums and educational exhibitions throughout me state of Georgia would cease to exist Also, it would make it impossible for people like myself to accumulate a diversified collection that many of us use for school programs, museum displays, scout presentations, library exhibitions and other non-profit programs. We collectors do not display human remains. Sec. 8,31-21-61 Ref. Paragraph 4: A "burial object" should be defined to be any item known to have been intentionally placed with deceased individuals at the time of their burial or interment We have a problem with the words, "reasonably believed." Ref. paragraph 12: An "unmarked burial ground" should be an area that shows absolute proof of the presence of human burials. Sec. 8,31-21-62 DNR recently had their funds cut and some of their top officials were retired, so where would they get the revenue to pay for actual expenses incurred in the performance of official duties as outlined in 31-21-64? Think of the costs involved with record keeping, phone bills, travel and per diem, and so forth! Sec. 8, 31-21-66 Would appointed committee members be schooled enough to 1) advise the state archaeologists, 2) understand the professional jargon or be able to make intelligent decisions independent of the "advices" tendered to them by archaeological personnel, 3) identify the existence and locations of Indian burial grounds and recommend plans for their preservation, or 4) talk about the need for more money, possibly in the form of increased tax revenues? Sec. 9,31-21-61 Ref. Paragraph 2: This covers everything and would affect thousands of collectors and many museums in the state of Georgia. Kolomoki and Etowah museums, for example, contain pottery and innumerable other, related artifacts that could be declared to be burial objects by a committee such as that outlined and described in other portions of this bill. Many prehistoric works of art would be buried and lost from sight forever, or, in a worst case scenario, these materials could end up being secretly sold. Even if these materials were reburied with good intentions, are we really sure that such reburials would be consistent with the practices and belief systems of those cultures from whence they originated? What would prevent someone from simply returning to vandalize the reinterment site to recover the artifacts for personal gain or, perhaps, out of sheer spite? Sec. 3,12-3-80 This is too vague. Most prehistoric artifacts have been lost or washed into rivers via erosion and have no archaeological value except as examples of given types from assumed cultural time periods. Almost all artifacts found in an underwater environment are without specific provenance and are of negligible interpretive or archaeological value. In effect, isolated objects found in an underwater environment are essentially like materials found via surface collecting in a plowed field or a clearcut; they are separated from their original cultural context and are therefore analytically useless to die professional archaeologist in his/her efforts to reconstruct past lifestyles or cultural traits. Page 224, Sec. 12 The house is too hasty in the enforcement of this bill! Can this or any other legislation be enforced before it has become a law? I could draw attention to several other sections in question here, but I believe that the points with which we are concerned have been at least briefly brought to your attention. We see this bill as a possible source of harassment to private land owners at a huge cost to taxpayers of Georgia while being clearly an act that is odious in many other ways heretofore outlined. Thank you for your attention to this matter and your interest in our concerns.

Respectfully yours, Son Anderson Sr,
when and if you ever hear that Son doesn't support the hobby of collecting Indian artifacts, you can put that to rest. And remember our dear friend Robert Palmer as well.