In the world of archaeology, often the most amazing discoveries are accidental with far reaching significance. A woman in New Jersey stumbled upon an artefact more than 10,000 years old while strolling on a beach.
The finding shocked local historians and archaeologists and triggered a detailed analysis of the region.
The woman is 58 years old Audrey Stanick, who was walking along the shores of New Jersey with her sister when she made the surprising discovery. According to Stanick, she spotted a dark shinny object apparently hiding in a small pile of broken shells in the sand.
Stanick says that on any other day she would have simply ignored the object, however, on a fortunate day she made the discovery she was with her sister who collects shark teeth. Stanick’s sister had instructed her to keep an eye out for anything black or shiny in case they found a shark teeth lurking in the stuff thrown out by the waves.
Even after retrieving the artefact, Stanick did not think much of it, and after her sister had shown no particular interest in the object, Stanick decided to keep it in her purse instead of throwing it away; a very wise decision as it later turned out to be.
Over time Stanick almost forgot about the ancient artefact in her purse; that was until she heard about a boy who found a similar object while walking on the same beach, who then passed on the object to the local museum. It was around that time when Stanick decided to get his object analysed in case it was historically significant; she did manage to contact New Jersey State Museum.
Talking about the discoveries made on New Jersey’s shores, the curator of New Jersey State Museum Dr Gregory Lattanzi said that these findings are amazing and extremely rare, to say the least. He added that Stanick’s discovery is especially significant; it is an ancient spearhead dating as far back as 10,000 years.
Dr Lattanzi said that mostly people who come across such rare artefacts end up ignoring them due to their ignorance about the apparent look of the rare artefacts. He added that Stanick made the right choice by responding to her gut feeling and by contacting the Museum.
According to Dr Lattanzi, the recent discoveries along the New Jersey shores beg for attention, as there could potentially be hundreds of similar objects still buried in the sand or underwater. Lattanzi also pointed towards the need of a detailed analysis of the region around the shores in order to gain a better knowledge of the people who inhabited the region thousands of years ago.
Speaking to reporters, Dr Lattanzi mentioned the possibility that some areas currently underwater could have been inhabited by the ancients and that real clues might be lying in the shallow waters and must be explored. Lattanzi also talked about the unusual sharp edges on the spearhead discovered by Stanick; he said that these sharp edges prove that the item stayed submerged underwater for a very long time.
Image: New Jersey State Museum