Hunting for arrowheads is a popular hobby in Missouri, and the ‘Show Me State’ has a rich history dating back thousands of years.
Due to the vast number of waterways that cross the state, Missouri became residence to a large number of primitive culture inhabitants, who left traces of their history all over the state.
In this article, I’ll discuss the 5 best places to find arrowheads in Missouri.
*An important note: it is unlawful and unethical to collect artifacts (arrowheads included) from public land in Missouri (including national and state parks, national monuments, national forests, and from the Bureau of Land Management and the Corp of Engineers’ land). The safest way to hunt for arrowheads in Missouri is on private land with landowner permission.
Where To Find Arrowheads In Missouri
In Missouri, the best places to find arrowheads are along creeks and rivers, while surface hunting. The Mississippi River, the Missouri River, and its countless tributaries are the superhighways of primitive cultures and their way of life.
To improve your success, always look in areas where primitive cultures lived, including:
- Near a water source such as a river, creeks or better yet- a natural spring.
- On the high ground, where the surrounding areas are visible.
- Ample natural resources; wooded forests and fertile game lands.
Below we investigate 5 of the best places to find arrowheads in Missouri.
When construction companies develop land for buildings or infrastructure, the area is torn up in preparation. Once the ground is disturbed, looking for arrowheads is relatively easy.
Some of the most famous and rare arrowheads in the world have come from modern development and construction when the land is tilled or dug.
Unfortunately, the price of development and modern culture has paved over countless clues and artifacts that link us to our past.
Never trespass on construction sites and always seek written permission.
Although a farmer’s field is private property, you could ask permission to search their lands. Newly plowed/worked fields are a great stop to scrounge for artifacts, especially after heavy rain!
The same fertile farm fields used to grow crops and food today were used by indigenous people to hunt, gather and farm as well. These open fields, meadows, orchids, and woodlands have layers of history just below the surface.
Please ask for permission before going onto a farmer’s field as you will otherwise be trespassing.
The Missouri River
The benefit of the Missouri River is the immense drainage areas and strong flowing waters. This large water volume means that stone artifacts eventually make their way to the river through other tributaries and erosion.
The river transports the points along during the flood season. Sandbars and rocky dikes form when the water recedes, resulting in arrowheads and other artifacts beaching themselves.
Gulleys, washouts, and sandbars that are exposed during periods of low water are great places to find arrowheads.
The Mississippi River Banks
As with the Missouri River, the Mississippi River is a great source for finding arrowheads, particularly around the St Louis area.
Many people don’t realize that the St. Louis area was once one of the largest Native American settlements in North America.
Nearby is the famous Cahokia Mounds, a sprawling Native American complex and history museum where you can learn a lot about the primitive tribes and indigenous people that called the area home.
Other Navigable Waterways
Rivers and creek beds are in nearly every county of Missouri, and many of these are considered navigable waterways which you can legally recreate on from a public access point.
These navigable waterways are a favorite among arrowhead collectors because they can easily be surface hunted among the gravel bars and muddy banks.
Always seek landowner permission and respect the land.
Digging And Collecting In Missouri
- You are not allowed to dig up artifacts on any public land and those caught are charged with misdemeanor citings. The citation is roughly $225 per artifact taken.
- Before embarking on an arrowhead collecting expedition, ensure that you have the land owner’s permission; otherwise, you are liable for trespassing and theft.
- Trying to dig-up arrowheads is also not allowed in many areas. All states have laws against disturbing burial grounds.
Arrowheads, spear points, and other primitive cultural artifacts and tools are highly regulated and often protected. Always consult with the local, state, and federal laws in your area before looking, and never search on private property without permission. It is illegal to remove arrowheads and artifacts from public land.