Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ancient spear point unearthed at park


Three weeks ago, a crew from the city's public works department was digging post holes for a new shelter at Marshall Street Park.

Using a backhoe, they piled the dirt in a mound and left it there as work continued.

Then it started to rain — hard. The water exposed lots of rocks and shells.

About 8:30 a.m. Monday, Jacob Dawson, one of the workers, was looking down and kicking the dirt when something caught his eye.

"I picked it up and thought it was a rock," he said.

He was about to throw it when suddenly he realized it might be an arrowhead instead.

He asked his supervisor, Rick Burke, for his take on it.

"He said it was a spearhead and went and washed it off," Dawson said.

Then Burke quickly called the Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History.

Bobbie Davidson, director of operations, and James Dwyer, curator of archaeology, responded immediately.

Dwyer examined it and found that it was a spear point made of chert (resembles flint) between 6,000 and 8,000 years old — a relatively rare find in these parts.

"It could have been lost while hunting or was used to process food, cutting meat," Dwyer said.

He plans to look at it under a microscope to see if it was ever used.

The 4-inch long, 1 1/4-inch wide spear point was buried 4 feet underground along with bone fragments, a piece of charcoal and an animal tooth fragment at what could have been an ancient barbecue site.

They are found mostly in the southeast part of the United States.

Made by people from the early archaic period after the last ice age, thousands of years before the Tocobaga Indians made the area their home, the tip is a bit dull. Surprisingly, its edges are still sharp. Could it kill a person today?

"I'm sure it could," Davidson said.

Davidson and Dwyer are so grateful to Dawson and Burke for calling the museum that they are making the two workers a plaque.

"They could have pawned it," said Dwyer.

Eileen Schulte can be reached at or (727) 445-4153.


Regional museum

You can see the 6,000- to 8,000-year-old spear point at the Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History starting today. The museum is at 329 Bayshore Blvd. S. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Ancient spear point unearthed at park 07/15/08 [Last modified: Sunday, July 20, 2008 7:51am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Manchester bombing victims include at least 7 parents


    LONDON — The world has been horrified by how young many of the victims in the Manchester bombing were, but on Wednesday, attention shifted to parents of concertgoers who were also killed. Seven have been identified, among them a couple who left behind two orphaned daughters.

  2. Richard Corcoran has a new committee to help him become governor


    Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran has opened a new political committee, Watchdog PAC, that may or may not bankroll his campaign for governor in 2018. The Land O'Lakes Republica

    CBO analysis: 23 million would lose health coverage under House-passed bill


    WASHINGTON — The Republican health care bill that passed the House earlier this month would nearly double the number of Americans without health insurance over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    Demonstrators protests the passage of a House Republican health care bill, outside the the Capitol in Washington, on May 4. The House took the unusual step of voting on the American Health Care Act before the Congressional Budget Office could assess it. That analysis was released Thursday and it showed the bill would cause 23 million fewer people to have health insurance by 2026. Many additional consumers would see skimpier health coverage and higher deductibles, the budget office projected.
  3. Florida Specialty Insurance acquires Pinellas Park's Mount Beacon Insurance


    Tens of thousands of homeowners who were pushed out of Citizens Property Insurance for a private carrier since 2014 are finding themselves changing insurance companies yet again.

  4. Pope Francis presents Trump with a 'politically loaded gift': His encyclical on climate change

    Global Warming

    VATICAN CITY — On Wednesday, Pope Francis appeared to make his point with a gift.

    Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Wednesday.  [Evan Vucci/Pool via The New York Times]