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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Smithsonian does not dispute authenticity of archaeological find in Vero Beach

The approval of the Smithsonian may be a crack at the people from
the Smithsonian who poo-pooed the Vero Man discovery of the 1916.
There were similar etched bones in that dig but mostly simple
markings.

Smithsonian does not dispute authenticity of archaeological find in
Vero Beach


By Elliott Jones
Updated Wednesday, October 20, 2010


VERO BEACH — The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., has
found no reason to dispute the authenticity of an one-of-a-kind
archaeological discovery that might help confirm a human presence here
up to 13,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age.


In early 2009, local fossil collector James Kennedy cleaned off an old
bone he found two years earlier and noticed some lines on it — lines
that turned out to be a clear etching of a walking mammoth with tusks.


The location where he found it hasn’t been disclosed, except that it
came from an area north of Vero Beach.


University of Florida researchers scrutinized the four-inch etching on
the 15-inch prehistoric bone with an electron microscope and their
tests showed it to be apparently genuine.


In May, Kennedy took the bone to the National Museum of Natural
History for further studies. There Smithsonian Institution
archaeologists made a copy and used advanced techniques to look at the
etching.


“We have found no traces that would indicate that a (modern) metal
tool was used to carve the bone,” said the institution’s Dennis
Stanford, who specializes in early North American archaeology.


“While we see no evidence that it is a forgery” the institution
doesn’t authenticate objects unless they are donated to the museum,
Stanford wrote in an e-mail on Tuesday.


Kennedy is keeping the bone in hopes of selling it by auction.


“I want to auction it to the person with the most money, although I
would rather it go to a museum,” Kennedy said.


It is presumed to be the oldest known art object of its type found in
the New World, said Richard Hulbert, a paleontologist with the Florida
Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.


The person who created the etching, presumably with a shark tooth or
flint implement, had to have seen a live animal to have drawn it in
such detail, he said.


“I’d like to have that (an image of it) flying on a flag outside the
museum,” Hulbert said while visiting Vero Beach during the spring.


“I pulled out of the dirt,” Kennedy said. “People have looked at it
with all types of equipment and it has all come back positive. It is
what it is.”


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