A 10,000-year-old artifact was discovered in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, by a woman who was talking a walk along the shore. Audrey Stanick, from Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey, found the Seaside Heights artifact on October 6. Stanick was walking the shore with her sister, looking for sea glass. Instead, she found an artifact that could give historians insight into North American prehistory.
“I noticed it because it was very dark and shiny, and my sister from Florida who likes to collect sharks’ teeth taught me to always look out for dark and shiny things at the beach. Then, I remembered a boy made a similar discovery last year, so I got in contact with the museum.”
“I looked at it under the microscope, took measurements with calipers and another colleague determined the point was made out of flint. It’s a 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.”
Dr. Lattanzi believes that the Seaside Heights artifact comes from a period of history known as the Paleo-Indian period. The 10,000-year-old artifact is one of the oldest that Dr. Lattanzi has seen from that period of time. Due to the shape and material of the artifact, Dr. Lattanzi believes that its primary use was for hunting the animals that were native to the area 10,000 to 11,000 years ago. Dr. Lattanzi states that the Seaside Heights artifact is “significant because we now have another piece of evidence from prehistoric habitation sites from land previously exposed but now covered in water.” He also states that the “finding will help us get a better idea of just how far these sites may be located out in the ocean.”
Instead of donating the Seaside Heights artifact to the New Jersey State Museum, Audrey Stanick decided that she was going to keep the artifact for herself, for now. Stanick does not dismiss the idea of donating the artifact to a museum at some point in the future.
“I read that a boy who found a similar spearhead last year in New Jersey donated it to the Smithsonian. If I do ever end up donating it, I want to donate it to a New Jersey museum because I found it here and it belongs here. But for now, I’m going to keep it. Trust me, these places have a lot of artifacts, and I don’t think they’re going to miss mine. To me, it’s just so amazing because it’s like I can’t believe I have something in my hand that someone created 10,000 to 11,000 years ago. It’s really piqued my interest of finding things. I’d love to go on a dig. I guess I’ll see where the future takes me!”
Does the news of the Seaside Heights artifact excite you? Have you ever found anything that could be considered an artifact from our past?
[Image via New Jersey State Museum]