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Arrowheads, minerals, more at annual Knap-IN

June 11, 2008
The annual Southern Indiana Flint Knap-IN returns this weekend to Leavenworth, and organizer Eric Morris expects up to scores of knappers from throughout the nation to again demonstrate the art of making stone tools just like the Native Americans did hundreds of years ago.

Eric Morris has collected several arrowheads that knappers from throughout the country have given him at various shows. Morris' Southern Indiana Flint Knap-IN will be Friday and Saturday by the Ohio River in Leavenworth. (Photo by Chris Adams)
Morris, who grew up in Leavenworth, became interested in rocks during trips throughout the country with his mother, Sharon Morris, and grandparents, Howard and Flossie Morris, and has had several mentors through the years.

Former Crawford County High School science teacher Bob Broughton introduced him to minerals, and Mark Owen, a former Leavenworth resident and "rock hound" took Morris under his wing, inviting him on rock hunting trips. Later, in his mid-20s, Morris was introduced to Steve Garcia, another rock hound, whom he has developed a 15-year relationship.

Morris, 41, described Garcia, whose house was full of rocks, as a "very knowledgeable man." Like Owen, Garcia took Morris on trips, teaching him about minerals.

Morris, for a time in the 1990s, operated a rock shop in Leavenworth in a building next to Stephenson's General Store that he rented from Sam and Mary Swan for just $50 a month.

"I did well. It was a good thing," he said, explaining he hunted for rocks during the week and sold them on the weekends.

However, what made him famous in the rock world was a conversation he had with Bob Cox of Vincennes prior to opening the rock shop. Cox, whom Morris met through Garcia, told him about Harrison County flint.

It was difficult to find such quality flint, as it often broke into several pieces, but flint found deeper in the ground proved good and was worth money.

"That started my interest into the flint knapping world," said Morris, who wrote each dealer in "Chips" magazine about his founding of Indiana Hornstone.

Morris has since traveled to every state in the country, except Hawaii, either hunting rocks — the bed of his truck is full of his findings — or attending events such as his. He and a friend, Chris Schotter, even spent three months in Alaska in 2000, partly looking for rocks and partly for fun.

The events are interesting, he said, because people attending can either buy rocks and other materials or watch arrowhead-making demonstrations. Some of the vendors can make a point in as quick as 30 minutes; it takes Morris about an hour and a half. In addition to the "modern" arrowheads that are for sale, the events feature authentic Native American-made arrowheads, he said.

This year's knap-IN, which will be Friday and Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the town park in old Leavenworth, will be the 14th such event.

The idea, Morris said, is to "bring them to you, so you don't have to travel so far" to see such an event. In addition, it's good for the local economy, he said.

Besides arrowheads, there will be minerals, carving stones, flint knapping supplies, jewelry and Native American crafts.

For more information, call 1-812-968-4615, online check out www.ericsrocks.com or e-mail rockman@disknet.com.

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