The 2.5-inch artifact was was identified as jasper by Greg Lattanzi of the New Jersey Archaeological Society.
Photo by Tim Peterson.
Lorton resident Andrea Cordle’s family has been vacationing around Long Beach Island, N.J. since her mother was a child -- but they’ve never come across something like this. While staying in Beach Haven, her 10-year-old son Noah was walking into the Atlantic when “it just hit my foot,” he said. “Several times. Because of the waves.”
Noah saw something black, shiny and pointed, like a mussel shell, so he bent down and picked it up for a closer inspection. “I didn't know if it was a shark tooth or an arrowhead,” he said, “because I didn't have my glasses on. It was one of the two.”
Andrea said they initially took it to the local newspaper, The Sandpaper out of Surf City. After getting turned away, they went to the Archaeological Society of New Jersey. Andrea emailed president Greg Lattanzi a few photos of the two and a half-inch stone one night. “He got back to me within five minutes. He said ‘Oh my gosh, this is incredible.’”
Despite its shiny black exterior, Lattanzi determined the item to be made of jasper, a yellow-brown stone, and estimated its age between 8,000 and 11,000 years old. “He was telling us it's black because it's been buried under the sand for thousands of years,” said Noah. “And he told us what it was used for -- for hunting mastodons and mammoths. He also said this is really hard to find; they're really rare.”
So rare that Lattanzi’s museum, the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, only has about 20 of similar “Paleoindian points” in its collection.
The Cordles tried the media again, this time reaching the Asbury Park Press, who happened to have a reporter in Long Beach Island already. After their reporter Kelly-Jane Cotter broke the story on Aug. 23, it began to gain traction and within a few days, Noah had gone viral.
“I'm even on AOL, and Facebook,” said Noah. “It just went crazy, insane, through the roof,” said Andrea. “USA Today, CNN…” Though he likes the newfound fame -- being on TV, in the newspaper -- Noah can do without the constant phone calls. But, he said, “I’ve gotten used to it.”
Noah and his family are discussing donating the arrowhead to the Trenton museum, but are holding on to it for now. In the meantime, he’s getting ready to start fifth grade at Orange Hunt Elementary School and is eager to see his friends again.
As for more treasure-hunting: “I want to,” said Noah, “but only at the beach, though. I don’t think I’m going to find any in my backyard.”