It’s was a hot summer day and Brian Plant was on the prowl.
He had the landowner’s permission and slowly walked a field, using patience and what he calls “my trained eye” to find arrowheads, spear points, or other stone-age artifacts that still can be found in southern Alberta.
Could have been near Linden, Allingham, Keiver’s Lake, or Sunnyslope—anywhere in the general Three Hills area the 75-year-old amateur archaeologist suspects he can add to his remarkable collection.
Plant was at the Kneehill Historical Museum in Three Hills July 9 for his annual artifacts presentation. “I only bring some of my collection,” he said.
Museum Director Rosalie Lammle helped set up four or five tables for his artifact display cases. The collection includes bone-cracking stone hammers and stone pestles for making pemmican.
As a youngster, Plant collected artifacts and tips from his eagle-eyed father in the Medicine Hat area, so it was natural he’d continue the hobby when he moved to Three Hills nearly 50 years ago.
Having established contacts with the University of Calgary, Plant can name items and give approximate places and dates of origin, some from thousands of years ago.
He is careful not to reveal his discovery locations for pottery shards, points, hide scrapers, skinning knives, or tipi rings—to stymie thoughtless collectors.
While Plant has heard criticism that First Nations artifacts should be left on site, his take is that collecting is preserving and that preserving enriches appreciation and helps teach Alberta’s pre-contact history.
“I value the skill and craftsmanship that went into creating these points,” he said. “All are hand made and many are beautiful and functional, from small arrowheads to spearheads for big game hunting.”