BEACH HAVEN, N.J. – A boy playing on a New Jersey beach has unearthed a 10,000-year-old arrowhead possibly used by ancient Native Americans to spear fish or hunt mastodon.
Noah Cordle, 10, and his family were vacationing on the Long Beach Island last week when he found it at the edge of the surf in the community of Beach Haven.
It was sharp enough that it hurt as it hit his leg. He thought it was a crab until he picked up the object.
The Springfield, Virginia family contacted the Archaeological Society of New Jersey to check it out.
The president, Greg Lattanzi, who is also a curator at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, tells the Asbury Park Press that the arrow point probably dates back 8,000 to 11,000 years. Back then, the New Jersey shore was a cold and treeless place just after glaciers had treated.
"I was basically blown away," he said. "Finding these is rare."
Lattanzi says his museum has about two dozen of these Paleoindian points, but most were found by professionals at archeological digs.
Only one other in the collection washed up on a beach.
Lattanzi said he believes that a beach-replenishment project probably scooped up the tool and pushed it toward the shore.
"Jasper is a yellow-brown stone," Lattanzi told the paper. "The reason why it's black is because it was buried in the sand for literally thousands of years without oxygen. In the mid-section, there is a nick, and if you look closely, it's orangey-brown."
He told the paper that the ocean, during the time the arrowhead was likely used, was about 100 miles farther than it is today, and post-Sandy beach replenishment helped unearth the artifact.
The Cordle family visited the State Museum after the discovery and learned how the arrowheads were made.
The family says they plan to donate it to a museum after Noah has a chance to show his class what he found.
The Associated Press contributed to this report