|10 December 2006
Ancient arrowhead identified in Pennsylvania
A weapon used by early man 12,000 years ago is now a tool in a grassroots environmental campaign to build support for the Middle Spring watershed - an area that stretches from the mountains south of Shippensburg to the Conodoguinet Creek (Pennsylvania, USA).
Peggy Martin discovered the ancient relic among the silt and rocks in the Middle Spring stream bed a decade or more ago. She never imagined the stone spear point could cause such a stir. "I just thought it was an old arrowhead that wasn't worth anything,” says the 70-year-old woman. She tucked it away in a dresser drawer where it remained until this spring when it came to the attention of Middle Spring Watershed Association President Steve Dolbin. The spear tip sparked a fire in Dolbin's imagination, and the stone weapon has a new life - experts from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission decided the relic originates from a time as far back as 12,000 years.
The MSWA - which mobilized a year ago to fight against the possible construction of a waste water treatment plant on the Middle Spring - now touts the rich archeological history of the watershed as another reason to limit development along the stream.
Douglas McLearen, a state museum commission archaeologist, identifies the artifact Peggy Martin found as a 'Clovis point' spear tip that dates from the time when Paleoindians wandered North America hunting game and gathering plants and herbs. He describes the relic as "a very striking piece" that has survived with little damage. McLearen says it was likely fashioned by nomadic Indians as the tip for a throwing spear. He says it's made of Pennsylvania jasper a stone substance that probably originated in the Lehigh River valley in the eastern part of the state.
Jim Herbstritt, a colleague of McLearen's, says North America was much cooler 12,00 years ago then it was now. Whoever peopled the landscape followed herds of game, most likely caribou. He says the spear tip found by Martin was probably dropped along the way.
Source: The Sentinel (7 December 2006)
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