A 10,000 year old spearhead has been unearthed on the New Jersey shore, and it appears it might give an insight into prehistoric life in the Americas.
The ancient artifact was found by 58-year old Audrey Stanick, on October 6, while she was taking a stroll with her sister along a Seaside Heights beach. The Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey resident was actually looking for sea glass in the wake of Hurricane Joaquin, but instead she made a much more remarkable discovery.
Initially, the beachcomber noticed the unusual object because it was “very dark and shiny”, and knowing that her sister from Florida is an avid collector of shark teeth, she believed that the item could be an ideal gift for her.
However, she soon realized that in fact she had encountered something that looked man-made and ancient. That is how she recalled a young boy had found a similar object at Beach Haven the previous year, and donated it to the Smithsonian Museum.
A similar spear point had also been found in 2014 at Long Beach. As a result, Stanick too contacted the local museum in order to make more sense of her discovery.
On Tuesday, curators at the New Jersey State Museum analyzed the projectile tip using a microscope, and measured it with calipers. It was determined that the spearhead was made of flint, and was about 10,000 to 11,000 years old.
The object must have become increasingly smooth and rounded as it was carried by the ocean waves; eventually, it was probably churned up by the storm and reached the beach.
“It’s pretty rare find. There are actually professional excavations to try and find points like these, so to be along the shore and see it washed up is pretty incredible”, explained Dr. Gregory Lattanzi, the museum’s assistant curator of archaeology and ethnography.
According to the expert, the spearhead is one of the most ancient artifacts he has analyzed, dating back from the Paleo-Indian period. It is speculated that this type of tool was used by semi-nomadic tribes in order to hunt prey such as ancient caribou and deer.
Moreover, the discovery is extremely important because it allows researchers to understand more about the habitats of our ancestors, who once populated those areas which are now covered by sea.
As museum curators explain, such findings offer insight into the exact location of those prehistoric settlement sites, so that their history can be retraced.
Meanwhile, Stanick has declared that she would be keeping the spearhead for now, and carrying it in pouch inside her purse. This way, she will be able to show it off to whomever she encounters.
As she stated, if she ever decides to part with her ancient artifact, she will donate it to a New Jersey museum, because that’s where it belongs. At the same time, she claims unearthing such an extraordinary object has stirred her interest in digging for artifacts, so she might soon become an amateur archaeologist or a prehistoric treasure hunter.
Image Source: ESPN