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12 August 2006
Doorstop in USA turns out to be an archaic axe head

A rock that has been propping open doors in a household for decades is actually a 4,000-year-old Native American axe. "My mother used it as a doorstop," said Kathy (Johnston) Zapolski.
     Zapolskiís 90-year-old aunt, Adele Colby, recalls that some time in the early 1900s her father was attempting to plant a garden in his backyard when he came across a slightly-rounded, carved rock that resembled part of an Indian tool, possibly an axe. For all these years, the rock has remained in the family, but they have never bothered to have the rock officially catalogued or appraised for its value.
     Last week Kathyís husband, Charlie, decided to stop by the Saugus Iron Works with the 2.9-pound igneous rock and show it to the curator of the Saugus Iron Works, Carl Salmons-Perez. The Saugus resident then returned a few days later to let the museumís technician Janet Regan, who has worked on archeological projects in Saugus, have a look-see.  "When I stopped by the Iron Works, the curatorís mouth almost dropped," recalled Charlie Zapolski.
     Since the location of the 'find' is identified as a specific Saugus site, the Zapolskis have been told that the artifact is 'more important' in the eyes of the archeological experts. The Zapolski axe "has more defined craftsmanship" than the ones currently contained in the Ironworks collection, said Curator Salmons-Perez.
     The curator pronounced that the artifact is between 2,500-5,000 years old. "Itís from the archaic period," added Salmons-Perez. He noted that "itís made in Saugus and has a direct link to what we collect here," added Salmons-Perez.
     Although the other axe artifacts at the Iron Works are currently stored away during ongoing construction of the 1917 building those houses the National Park museum, Regan and Salmons-Perez dug them out of storage to make a physical comparison. One of the axes, which was found on the site of the Ironworks during an archeological dig completed by project archeologist Roland Robbins from 1948-1953, is heavier than Zapolskiís and a lighter shade of grey yet it has the same texture of an igneous rock.
††††The Native American axe/door stop is roughly six inches long and a few inches thick and it weighs several pounds. It is carved around the middle section where the natives would have lashed a wooden handle onto it with a piece of rawhide, according to Curator Salmons-Perez who confirmed that the Zapolskiís artifact was most likely used as a woodworking tool to cut down trees or build canoes.

Sources: Saugus Advertiser, TownOnline (10 August 2006)

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