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story.lead_photo.caption Terry Allen stands in Carnahan Memorial Garden. Allen is a practicing attorney, musician and has a collection of artifacts he's been building since he was a young boy. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

He's a lawyer, has served on various civic committees, sings and plays guitar as part of a band, and even was an extra in the 1950s classic "A Face in the Crowd," starring Andy Griffith.

However, his hobby of archaeology has given Terry Allen some of his most memorable times.

It all started for Allen when he was 13 and found an arrowhead in Butler County. That led Allen to develop a relationship with longtime collectors such as Ed Buel, of Jefferson City.

"They took this youngster under their wings, and that's what kept me going with my interest in this hobby," Allen said.

Over the last 64 years, Allen has hunted all over Missouri for symbols of the prehistoric past. Allen is a member of the Cole County Historical Society and, while working with the attorney general's office, helped the Missouri Department of Transportation's first archaeologist on Native American sites to determine archeological significance for highway projects.

"It's just a really good hobby, and I like it," Allen said. "I don't have high blood pressure and don't have to take any pills, so I plan to keep on doing it as long as I can.

"It's also because of the people because they come from such diverse backgrounds. You have prominent people and then you have just ordinary people, but they all are out looking to find these items."

One of Allen's favorite stories is about an ax that he used to own that is now in the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City.

"I was a dorm counselor working at Westminster (College) in Fulton, and I had a student who was from New York who knew of my love for archaeology and brought in what he thought was a tomahawk," Allen said. "It turned out to be one of the finest Indian axes I'd ever seen. It turned out the student's father was from Jackson County, Missouri, and that's where he found the axe."

Archaeology as a hobby can be expensive, Allen admitted, and he said that might be one of the main reasons getting young people involved is getting harder.

"Some of the values of the artifacts have gone up over the years," Allen said. "What is good to see is someone who has a son or daughter who has an interest in it. If they have a place to hunt and they're raised with it, scouts are good examples of that because they get talks about archaeology, those are the ones who are getting involved."

Allen also has worked with others to recover stolen or fraudulent artifacts.

"There's always been concerns about amateurs desecrating sites, and there are laws to keep people from digging," Allen said. "You shouldn't be digging on public grounds, and if it's private ground, you have to get permission.

"Agriculture has affected archaeology as more no-till cultivation has increased, which has led to collectors going to creeks to find artifacts.

"You don't have some of the same opportunities as in years past, so that also affects the interest in the hobby," he added.

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