Major artifact show coming here May 12

Published 10:21 am Friday, April 13, 2012

THIS COLLECTOR DISPLAY is one of many that will be at the May 2012 show in Bainbridge.

Special to The Post-Searchlight

Approximately 12,000 years ago, primitive man occupied the Deep South and roamed the countryside in southwest Georgia, in search of food and water. Survival was of the utmost importance, and these small groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers followed the big game of the day, including extinct bison and mega fauna such as the wooly mammoth and mastadon. Hunger proved to be a huge motivator and stimulus for technology and ingenuity.

Primitive man used the materials available — bone, wood and stone — to craft weapons and tools for hunting and defense from the predators of the day. Unfortunately, those tools and weapons fashioned from bone and wood have not withstood the test of time, except in rare occurrences and in specialized circumstances. However, those implements fashioned from stone and other lithic materials, such as fossilized coral, remain even until today, some 10,000 to 12,000 years later.

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Shortly after arriving in the New World, settlers to this area began to discover the ancient relics left behind by thousands of years of occupation by the original inhabitants. With curiosity piqued, the hobby of “arrowhead collecting” was conceived almost by accident.

As more and more pioneers begin to rescue their finds from the plow and to share their new found past time with their families and friends, the arrowhead-collecting hobby has grown to include tens of thousands of avid collectors all across the continent.

Today, artifact collectors continue to pursue their passion of rescuing these ancient artifacts from development, cultivation, and destruction, as thousands of ancient sites are lost to massive expansion by modern society. Those fortunate to pick up an “arrowhead” for the first time since the item was lost by the ancient user, usually experience euphoria when realizing that theirs might be the first human hands to touch the ancient relic for thousands of years.

The Tri-State Archaeological Society (TSAS) will host the Deep South SuperShow on Saturday, May 12, at the Kirbo Center at Bainbridge College, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Tri-State Archaeological Society is dedicated to the preservation, protection, and promotion of artifact collecting in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

“TSAS is actively seeking motivated individuals to help showcase and preserve the best artifacts in the country — the TSAS motto is ‘Preservation Through Knowledge’ and venues like the Bainbridge Georgia Super Show are wonderful environments to educate and share the relics from the past with the general public,” said Kevin Dowdy, current president of TSAS. “There are so few places in the Deep South to see and appreciate these ancient relics, up close, and to even handle ancient artifacts in certain circumstances. Bring your finds and experts will be on hand to help identify and date your finds.”

“TSAS has been proactive in education — giving away 13 $500 scholarships to youth affiliated with our organization,” Dowdy said. “The Broome-Haddock-Wingate Scholarship program is the most successful of any Scholarship program affiliated with an artifact collecting society in the country.”

In 2011, TSAS awarded four $500 scholarships to young people from Alabama, Florida and Georgia, and has raised and given more than $7,000 towards successful legal defense of those charged in malicious and wrongful prosecution, most recently in the state of Florida.

“Bring the entire family and see what this great family-oriented hobby and TSAS is about,” Dowdy said. “We care about young people and we demonstrate that fact by assisting young collectors as they pursue their education. We are one of the most active not-for-profit societies of our kind, in the country.”

“TSAS will conduct a silent auction and all profits will be donated to the TSAS Broome-Haddock-Wingate Scholarship fund,” Dowdy said. “Some of the items that will be available will be artifact display cases, artifact identification guides, posters, signed and numbered prints, and many other unique items. The Broome-Haddock-Wingate scholarship received its namesake in honor of local artifact collectors Rep. Hugh D. Broome, Henry Haddock of Early County, and Jack Wingate, all of whom had a passion for our great hobby.”

There will be 150 tables of the finest ancient Indian artifacts ever found in the Deep South, on display, including the famous Batwing Cache, a “cache” of Hillsborough points found stacked together in Alachua County, Fla., several years ago.

“This will truly be the finest assemblage of Deep South artifacts ever assembled under one roof, anywhere in the state of Georgia,” Dowdy said. “This is truly a rare occurrence to see the very best of the best artifacts ever rescued from this area, and all recovered by avid avocational hobbyists that love the hobby and are willing to share their great collections and knowledge with others.

“It is incredible to think that these tools from so long ago have survived for thousands of years and we want to continue to Preserve through Knowledge.”

For more information about TSAS, visit online at, or contact Kevin Dowdy ( at (229) 416-6021, or Richard Reed ( at (334) 703-7104.