|19 July 2008
6,000-year-old knife unearthed in Florida
It started out as a simple plan to erect a pavilion-like shelter at Safety Harbor (Florida, USA). Then it became an archeology dig. A city crew erecting the shelter stumbled upon an old knife, and archeologists confirmed it is 6,000 to 8,000 years old, said Brad Purdy, the spokesman for the city of Safety Harbor.
Plans to put up the shelter were put on hold as various members of the Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History decided to treat the site as an archeological dig. The 4-inch knife was likely used by the Tocobaga Indians, Purdy said. "The edges are so sharp," Ron Fekete, director of exhibits said. "It's in mint condition." It is made of chert, he said.
City workers had dug a hole roughly three and a half feet deep, to make the new pavilion able to withstand hurricanes, said Bobbie Davidson, director of operations for the museum. Rain fell on the pile of dirt left off to the side, and a city worker spied the knife, she said. After the workers found the blade, they washed it with some water at a fountain, said Purdy. It was then they realized it might be an artifact. A call was placed to the museum. Specifically, they called the curator of archaeology from the Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History, who later confirmed the blade's age, Purdy said.
A trench has been started at the park, and is now at least three feet deep, said Fekete. The idea is that museum staff members will eventually reach a level of soil that goes back thousands of years, to see if there are any more archeological treasures in the park, he said. Since the knife was found, museum workers have found a piece of a tooth, but it is unknown as of yet what it belonged to, or how old it was, said Davidson. The museum is expected to ask the city for permission to dig in another area of the park to see whether they can piece together the life of the knife.
Source: MSNBC (15 July 2008)
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