Prehistoric artifact unearthed in archaeological dig

Artifacts have a way of turning up when you least expect them, especially prehistoric ones.

Archaeologists recently discovered a projectile point during a dig that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) ordered the Holmes County Board of Commissioners to have conducted before the county would be granted a permit to pave Bonifay-Chipley Road. 

“We conducted shovel digs and found the projectile point,” said Archaeologist Jon Glass. “We found nothing else in the area; we call that an archaeological occurrence.”

According to Glass, the piece could be an arrowhead or a knife that was found 35 to 40 inches underground. 

As a condition of DEP issuing the permit to the county, the State Historic Preservation Office requested that a study be done as the area is near a significant archaeological site that has already been documented.

All Phases Archaeology completed the work, and in the process found an isolated artifact in the form of a 2,000 to 3,000-year-old projectile point.  

Glass said the piece comes from the Middle to Late Woodland Deptford period to the Early Swift Creek period. Those periods are those of the first people, the ancestors of today’s Native American tribes which makes this find prehistoric in age. Without finding any other artifacts Glass can only make guesswork out of why it was there.

“It could have been used during a hunt where the hunter missed the target,” said Glass. “It could have been lost in a move or any number of things. We will never really know how it came to be there.”

The county will soon have possession of the artifact from the Troy State University Lab. The law states that the owners of the land at the time of the find are the owners of the artifact itself. There is no final decision on what the county will do with the artifact once they take possession.

With all testing complete, all the permits have been awarded and the county will soon advertise for bids to begin paving the Bonifay-Chipley Road.

Glass said finding something like this is fantastic. 

“Knowing that you are the first person to hold this piece since the person that owned it is surreal.” said Glass. “For thousands of years this was in the ground, untouched, until we found it.”


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