You Just Never Know: by Chris Jolin

 (Chris Jolin at the location of his find.)

Some interesting artifacts can turn up when you're digging for gold. The 1858 large cent I dredged up on California's North Yuba River many years ago comes to mind, for example. Missouri miner Chris Jolin has his own story about a recent find while searching for glacial gold in the "Show-Me State" and here it is.

Something to Behold

I live in the small town of Holt, Missouri about 30 miles north of Kansas City. I'm close to the southern border of where the glaciers stopped depositing gold during the Ice Age. Missouri glacial gold is small and quite sparse so crevicing and panning are the best methods to use to recover it.

About an hour north of Holt is the Platte River and St. Joseph (home of the Pony Express). This is the area my 'pard' and I like to prospect for gold. On the day in question my 'pard' couldn't make it so my sister and brother-in-law joined me. Neither of them had ever prospected or mined for gold before but what unfolded that day was something to behold.

A Familiar Shape

Well, I hadn't found much except a rock with BB-sized pyrite crystals laced through it. I was turning over slabs of bedrock searching for traces of gold when I spotted something tumble out of the debris and land right in front of my face. The object had a familiar shape but was still caked with might never know what it was until it was cleaned. I called to my sister and her husband to come over and witness the cleaning and see if my find was what I suspected.

As I pulled my hand out of the water bucket and opened my fist, there lay a beautiful Hardin knife point about 4 inches long and in pretty much pristine condition with only a small piece knocked out of one of the fins. This particular Hardin point turns out to be somewhere between 5,000-7,000 years old. This find was a real shocker, since I'd never looked for arrowheads in my life.

(The Hardin point Chris found.)

Although not gold, the Hardin point turned out to be my biggest find of the year. And I wasn't even looking for it!

You just never know... 

(c)  Chris Jolin (for Bedrock Dreams) 2013

(Note: If you'd like to talk to Chris about his find or learn more about Missouri glacial gold you can e-mail him at:

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Very neat! I have to dissagree with it being a Knife though. Knives are most often not shaped like that.Most are only chiped on the cutting edge, and not double barbed. This one is more like an arrowhead, only too big. My guess is that it is a spear point. Given the area it was found, most likely for bison hunting. Either way it is a very neat find. I have found many, many arrowheads, but nothing as big as that, and never found one gold mining!! Gary

  2. I'll have to defer to you guys on this one...I know little to nothing about arrowheads, points, etc. I've found a few bird or small-game points here in New Mexico during gold mining expeditions though. Thanks Gary. J.R.

  3. That is a good one. Not one to discredit a find like that but here is what I would do to find gold there. First, if Chris and company are finding gold at that location on a regular basis then go up stream and find where its being released from. If it's next to impossible to find gold where he's at there in the picture then use a metal detector to find the possible pay streaks. They will be on the inside bends for the most part and will contain small pieces of barbed wire, old tin, bottle caps, etc. Some (pay streaks) could be where Chris is standing if the sand pebbles are 1/8-1/4" in size. Some pay streak areas will be up, or close to, where the grass and trees meet the inside stream bank made/deposited there from high water. But weather or not gold is being found, being at a place like what Chris has there would be better than staying at home and just thinking about it. (gold prospecting)

    1. Chris you may want to take note. Thanks for commenting, J.R.

  4. I'm no expert by any means either, just a guess. No matter what it turned out to be, it is very neat!! My Dad found a similar one about 40 years ago in Washington State. We think it was a Salmon spear.


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