Digging This Texas Experience: Unearthing Arrowheads at T&J Ranch

In a world dominated by screens and digital distractions, finding ways to engage kids with the natural world is more important than ever. Imagine the wonder in your child’s eyes as they swap their tablet for sifters and trowels to uncover pieces of ancient history buried beneath the Texas soil. And who doesn’t like to play in the dirt? Just a short drive from San Antonio, this small ranch offers huge hands-on experiences in arrowhead and artifact hunting that are sure to become a family favorite.

Geological and Historical Significance

T&J Ranch is situated in Sutherland Springs, an area renowned for its geological diversity. The region’s soil layers act as a time capsule, preserving artifacts from various periods of human history. The ranch is particularly famous for its deposits from the Late Pleistocene epoch, roughly 10,000 years ago, when the area was inhabited by Native Americans. These early inhabitants left behind a plethora of artifacts, ranging from arrowheads, pottery shards to tools and ornaments, providing a fascinating glimpse into their daily lives and culture. The geology of Sutherland is characterized by a mix of sedimentary rock formations, primarily limestone and shale, which have preserved these artifacts exceptionally well and make it easy to excavate and sift.

Sifting through a load at the shaker table

Sifting through a load at the shaker table

Jared Brooks, owner, provides hands on insights into the historical context of the finds. He was very helpful in identifying artifacts and points, explaining their significance and how they fit into the broader picture of Native American history. Among the most exciting discoveries of our day were the arrowheads, including the distinctive Marshall point, Clovis point, and the highly prized St. Mary’s Hall point. Each type of arrowhead tells a unique story about the tools and hunting practices of the tribes that once roamed the area. Each dig is different, and hunts are not guaranteed. While we sifted for 2 days, only the first day produced monstrous returns. But not finding much on the second day made the first day that much more exciting.

Quarter for size reference

For arrowhead enthusiasts like us, it gets more difficult by the day to find places that permit you to hunt. Pay to dig experiences are safe because they grant you the hour or day lease rights and ownership of your finds. Digging on the T&J Ranch was both affordable and fun. Children are allowed which makes this a family friendly outing. Although T&J Ranch offers surface hunting and screen tables, we chose to rent the shaker table to get more bang for our buck. Jared Brooks excavated directly from his site and never kept our shaker table empty in the 2 ½ days we were there. This was a major feat as we sifted quickly in hopes of finding many arrowheads.

Treat all finds with respect, recognizing their historical and cultural significance.

I can’t conclude this travel experience without mentioning the sweet treat provided at the end of our hot day. Brooks’ wife, Tammy provided us samples of her homemade peanut brittle in various flavors. Although I’m not a brittle connoisseur, I gobbled mine up and excitedly ordered more bags for the next day. Don’t leave the ranch without trying some for yourself and find room in your carryon luggage like I did to take home more. You can find her divine delicacies on the links below.

Marshall Point

Family-Friendly Activities in San Antonio

San Antonio is only about an hour away and it is brimming with family-friendly activities that promise fun and education for all ages. Some extra stops for your trip might include The Alamo, San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio Zoo, The DoSeum, SeaWorld, Natural Bridge Caverns, and Six Flags.

Combining a visit to T&J Ranch with these San Antonio attractions makes for an enriching and enjoyable family trip, offering a blend of historical exploration, cultural enrichment, and pure fun. Take the family. You won’t be disappointed.

Enjoying our dig!