River Gravel Finds

IMG_5161 crop 2

My mother (above ) and I used to hunt for rocks and fossils in gravel dredged from the Ohio River.  The gravel is sorted by size and piled for sale.

My best friend went with us on this trip.We hunted the smaller size gravel.

IMG_6064 red

I hunted for fossils and interesting rocks. I arranged these above as a sampling of what fossils could be found.

IMG_5911 red

These fossils, plus arrowhead,  made sure they got my attention.

IMG_5943 red

I knew this was a piece of a mammoth tooth when I found it.

IMG_5940 red

It was something I never expected to find. The piece measures 1 1/8 inch long.

IMG_5951 red

  There’s no telling how far this arrowhead traveled down the river before being dredged out. It measures 2 7/8 inch long.

IMG_5925 red

This bone was in no way expected. Ones that have seen it say it’s human. I have no idea and don’t know how to tell. It’s 3 inches long.

IMG_5922 red

It feels like stone. It’s heavy like stone.

IMG_5934 red

I brought this one home because of the colors, having no idea what it was.

IMG_5935 red

It turned out to be a piece of mammoth tooth too and measures 1 1/4 inch at the widest.

IMG_5915 red

My opinion differs from others on this last stone. It measures roughly 1 1/4 wide wide and is 1/2 inch tall at the tallest. It is a rock. To me it looks like a slice of bone. It’s relatively smooth on the outside. Areas on the inside appear slightly porous.

Obviously, I had a GOOD day!

Luckily, I drove, otherwise,  I probably would’ve been walking home.


IMG_5947 red

I didn’t find this last arrowhead until 2 summers ago when I was cleaning the river gravel along the side of my moon garden. Since it’s sandstone, I thought it might have been made by maybe someone learning how to chip arrowheads. It measures 2 1/2 inches long.

16 responses to this post.

  1. Great finds! 🙂 How did you identify the pieces?


    • I have quite a collection of reference books. My youngest son knows about mammoth teeth. His friend in Alaska uses it for knife handles. Davis has used it too. My other son has found several rare bone and teeth fossils on sand bars in the Ohio River up from where were hunting.


  2. That’s amazing! It makes me want to run over to the local gravel pit and search their piles.
    That next to last one looks like a slice through bone to me too. Almost like a slice of ham bone you’d find in a ham steak.


    • I’m glad someone agrees with me. Obviously, other creatures had bones besides humans. Do you have fossils where you are? Our rocks are mostly sandstone and limestone. The limestone’s near the rivers, especially the Mississippi.My oldest son took me fossil hunting on the sand bars in the Ohio one summer when the river was low. He even found a fossilized jaw, with teeth, of a young beaver. Keith had the fossil hunting gene to the innth degree!


      • There aren’t many fossils beyond a few corals and triliobites here and scientists think it’s because the state was under water and glaciers for a large period of time. What we do have is minerals, some suited for gemstones, and I have boxes full of them.(the minerals, not the gemstones)

      • I have a blog finished about my finding a whole trilobite. They are rare here, only find the shed.

  3. Sweet finds! Great macros..:-)


  4. WOW fantastic finds, indeed a great day. You must have an eagle-eye. 🙂


  5. I’m a couple of years late, but wanted to comment anyway, having just discovered the mysteries contained in gravel. You’ve found much more exciting things than the bits I’ve found in our gravel driveway, but I’m pleased with them nonetheless and glad to find someone else who peers at gravel in this way.


    • There are so many places where a person can find interesting rock and fossils. I have them in the house and certain places outside. You’ll find much more when you get your eyes trained to spot certain things. Good luck. Write me again if you have any questions. I live in southern Illinois. We have a variety of rocks here Where do you live? Are there a lot of rocks there?


      • Thanks for replying. I’m in the UK, west Oxfordshire, and we get a fair bit of Jurassic and Cretaceous stuff in the soil. On the south coast, there is a rich variety of Jurassic and Eocene stuff to be found. The UK is good for fossils. I have yet to find any arrowheads like those you’ve found, but have found small worked flint tools – must make a proper trip to a flinty area, we’re on lime and sandstone around here. Also things that people lost or threw away in the past – pottery shards, bottles, trinkets and whatnot.

        Glad to see that you also like spiders!

      • We live near the southern tip of Indiana. Our rock is mostly limestone and sandstone. The limestone can have marine fossils in it. Needless to say, I have rocks in the house and in several places in the yard. They all fascinate me!

  6. We have rocks in the house here as well, lots of them. Piles outside too. I have a big pile of flints and hammer stones so I can practice knapping, which will just mean even bigger piles.

    It’s nice to find a kindred spirit out there. Here’s what I play with: http://entwife.org


    • My husband always says I’m going to change the rotation of the earth with all my rocks. We live in southern Illinois. Most of Illinois has been glaciated and is flat land. We live near the northern part of where the rocks and hills begin. We have very little flint.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: