Wednesday, November 11, 2015

11/11/15 Report - A Fossil, An Artifact and A Journey Back In Time.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Fossilized Bone Showing Drilled Hole.

[  On 6/30/17 I added the following correction.

At the time I wrote this post, I evidently believed that the hole and marks were made after the bone was fossilized.  I DO NOT NOW believe that to be the case. I now believe that the bone was drilled to extract the marrow and the marks are from carving when the kill was fresh.   The following is as originally posted.  Sorry.  ]

I enjoy rediscovered finds.  By that I mean finds that were found a good while ago and stored away, and then after some years have elapsed you take them out and discover something new about them.  Maybe you appreciate them more than you did before.  Maybe you've learned something that makes them more meaningful in some way when you see them again.  Maybe you notice features that you never noticed before. Sometimes you even forget that you had the item, and it is like finding it all over again.

I shuffled through a tattered brown cardboard box holding some miscellaneous old finds from years ago.  Some of them were in little plastic bags with a handwritten paper label.  Not being a fossil hunter, but just picking up shells and things on the beach that strike me at the time, I know very little about fossils.  I hunted with a "permitted" expert a few times who identified things, and also have an internet friend and expert who identifies such things for me.

In the description of the fossil shown above was the word "artifact."  The label also said  "drilled hole" and "notched."  The label failed to show the year or the place it was found.  Too bad.

Proper storage is important. Store items as carefully as if you were going to send them in the mail. Make sure they are protected. There is nothing worse than breaking items that have survived for hundreds or millions of years.

Many items need to be stored so that they are protected from temperature changes or humidity.  I can't emphasize the need for proper storage and labeling enough.

As I looked through the box of mixed finds, I noticed this bone with the "artifact" label.  All of  a sudden it really struck me that I was not the first to find that item.  I undoubtedly realized that before but it really impressed me this time.  I wondered about that person.  Someone not only found this bone, but they also spent time working it.  At a later time it was discarded or lost, and maybe another hundred years elapsed before I found it.

That is what I call a refind.  Those are items that were previously lost and found and then lost again before being found again.  I have a few of those, but this one is probably the one spanning the greatest amount of time.

I wondered how it was originally found, and the person who found it and the circumstances.  It was some one from an entirely different time.  I wondered what it was about this item that made it stick out. Why did the person that originally found this item pick it up, and what was it about this fossil that made it worth drilling.  In what way was it different from all the other items that person saw that day?

Maybe it was the only fossil he saw.  You don't see them all the time.   Maybe it was on a beach very much like the day that I saw it.

Of course the person who found it could have been a female just as well.  Maybe the person who found it wasn't the person who worked it.  There are a lot of unknowns.

First, there was the animal that died centuries ago.  Then the item fossilized over a period of years as the bone was gradually replaced by minerals. Then the item appeared, maybe on a beach because of a storm and erosion, or maybe the waves washed the item up onto the beach.  And then it was found, and used, and then discarded or lost for a long time again before I found it.

I wonder where it might go after I am gone.  Maybe it will be lost again, or found or passed on to someone else who is interested enough to wonder about it.

Already the chain of events is very long.

Infinitely improbable!  That is how it seems when you consider all of the centuries, decades, years, and days, and all of the places on earth, including land and sea, and all of the people in the world, and all of the objects that are out there, and then YOU, of all people, at that one specific moment in time dig up an item that somehow ended up exactly where you found it.  Divine appointment or pure chance - either way it seems infinitely improbable.

Each and every find can seem infinitely improbable if you consider the chain of events and the odds. Each and every find can feel special to you if you contemplate it.

There is something about some finds that makes them seem more unique.  Sometimes it is time. Sometimes rarity. And sometimes it is something that relates to you in a special way.

This find appears to be both a fossil and an artifact.  It was found by at least two different people, maybe centuries apart.

View Of The Other Side.
There are notches above the hole and on the broken end of the bone on the right.  The hole and notches are the work of a person who lived long ago.  His hand changed something in the world, and he or she is in a way remembered as a result of this enduring piece.

Just a boring old find sitting in a box?  Not now.  It took me on a journey.  Imaginary?  Maybe.  At least in part.  But the journey of the mind was real.  It took me back in time and connected me so improbably to someone who live long ago - someone who walked the same beaches, listened to the same waves, felt the same sun and breezes, and maybe wondered about those who came before and those who were yet to come.  We are so different, and yet so much the same.

People often ask me what is the best thing I ever found.  As I said before, I can't answer that.  They probably mean the most valuable thing.  I would mean something else.

At the moment this is my most valuable find.  In a short while it will be something else.  That is the nature of the game.  That is the nature of life.


Education should be more about exciting the mind than burying the mind in facts.  A properly excited mind will find its way.


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Happy hunting,