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Museum event showcases arrowheads, artifacts

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  • Museum event showcases arrowheads, artifacts
    Paul Olsen, arrowhead expert, stands with part of his collection at the Bandera Museum of Natural History on Saturday. BULLETIN PHOTO/Tracy Thayer
  • Museum event showcases arrowheads, artifacts
    Caleb Carroll and dad Josh work on artifacts at the Bandera Museum of Natural History presentation on arrow heads. BULLETIN PHOTO/Tracy Thayer

Last Saturday, the Bandera Natural History Museum hosted a program on arrowheads and artifacts.

Longtime Bandera resident Paul Olsen, who has been collecting since he was a youth, brought part of his extensive arrowhead collection to the museum for visitors to observe and ask questions.

He brought some unusual arrowheads to show to visitors. These artifacts were between 3,000 and 6,000 years old. Some were from Atascosa County, Texas, and some were from Africa.

Olsen found his first arrowhead when he first moved to Bandera at the age of 15. He and a friend were walking down the Medina River after the 1978 flood. The friend posited that they had found an Indian mound exposed by the flood. Olsen didn’t know what an Indian mound was, but the teens began poking around until they found an arrowhead.

“That’s when the addiction begins,” stated Olsen.

Olsen is also a member of the Lone Star State Archaeological Society. He explained this was not an organization of professional archaeologists but a group of interested amateurs and collectors who get together to talk about hunting for artifacts and arrowheads.

Olsen also brought books to help identify arrowheads brought in by patrons, as well as a pile of flint for kids to search through for arrowheads and use to create their artifacts from clay.

The museum provided clay, and kids and their parents could make necklaces out of the quick-drying clay using arrowheads to provide design features.

The Carroll family from Victoria was visiting Bandera to pick up their daughter from summer camp. They decided to stop by the museum to see what was going on.

Father Josh and son Caleb were busily working on clay artifacts while mom and daughter were relaxing in the air conditioning.

Olsen stated collecting arrowheads is a good hobby for kids.

“It gets them outdoors and off their phones. You learn a lot of things outdoors when you go outside,” he remarked. “The kids have been excited to pick out an arrowhead. They bring it to me and we look it up in the book. When I tell them how old it is, that’s when they get really excited.”

The next Saturday program at the Museum will be June 18 at 11:00 a.m. Storyteller Lee Haile will tell stories and sing from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. State Park Ranger Arlyne Martinez will present at 1 PM.