Treasure Coast amateur fossil collector James Kennedy appears to have made an unprecedented archaeological discovery that might help confirm a human presence here up to 13,000 years ago.
A 15-inch-long prehistoric bone fragment found near Vero Beach contains a crude engraving of a mammoth or mastodon on it, said Dr. Barbara Purdy, emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Florida.
“It is humbling to realize that we are seeing what the hunter saw more than 13,000 years ago,” Purdy said.
Tests so far have shown it to be genuine.
If so, it appears to be “the oldest, most spectacular and rare work of art in the Americas,” she wrote in a report to other scientists.
The only comparable images are found in European cave paintings, she said in an interview Friday. The bone contains “the unmistakable incising of an ancient proboscidean [elephant],” she said.
Kennedy found the brown and tan bone two years ago and put it under his sink. About two months ago, he took it out for cleaning and spotted unusual lines. He had been considering selling it at a flea market.
Instead, he showed it to a fellow collector, William Roddenberry of Vero Beach, who was amazed. They took it to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville for examination.
When Kennedy learned it was so historically valuable, he said, “It blew me away. I was absolutely baffled.”
The etched bone is being kept in a vault. The site where it was found isn’t being disclosed.
“There could be so much more out there” from early people in Florida, he said.
The incised bone was picked up near where other collectors in 1915 apparently found ancient human bones near the bones of extinct animals, a find that launched a national scientific debate that hasn’t been settled.
via Vero Beach bone: Treasure Coast amateur fossil collector James Kennedy appears to have made an archaeological discovery that might help confirm a human presence here up to 13,000 years ago. – SFL.