Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An enduring puzzle: the Golden Gate Park spear (updated report.)

As I mentioned in a recent blog posting, I discovered what appeared to be a spear point in Golden Gate Park, not far from the Shakespeare Garden, and turned it over to the deYoung Museum, who in turn handed it over to the California Academy Of Sciences. An expert from the Academy's Department of Anthropology has weighed in on the finding -- and there are many more questions than answers.

While the expert has declared that the obsidian object is "likely a spear tip or knife -- it looks too robust to have served as an arrow tip,'' its provenance is murky. There is some chance that the object was buried before the park was created in the late 19th century, and that a burrowing rodent pushed it up to the surface. But very often, gophers and other creatures actually bury artifacts deeper into the ground, rather than pushing them up -- and there's always a chance that someone brought the object from somewhere else and dropped it into the park. "In short, it is virtually impossible to determine from where and when the item originated, if it is an indigenous piece or a reproduction.''

Is there some hope that this puzzle will solved some day? Perhaps. Otherwise, the scientist would have said "flat-out impossible'' instead of "virtually impossible.''
Until then I'll just have to let the mystery be. By the way, the artifact will soon be on display somewhere in the park. Details to follow.

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