The oldest thing I own.

The oldest thing I own is not Victorian.  And I didn’t buy it-it was found.  When my kids were young, we would go to my mom’s cottage and Mr Victorian would take them for long walks by the beach and my mom and step-dad and I would stay back at the cottage and read or drink coffee or wine around the table.  One day they came bounding home with this object “Look Mom, it’s a fish”.  I looked at it and said…

That's not a fish!  It's and arrowhead.

That’s not a fish! It’s and arrowhead.

Here is the saga of the arrowhead.  The kids were gathering feathers, shells and other such treasures as they walked and the hubby would carry them in the backpack.  Eventually, the back pack was getting heavy so the hubby wanted to lighten the load and convinced the kids to give up some of their treasures.  He suggested that some of the rocks collected might be good for skipping in the water…especially this flat one.  The youngest said that this one could not be skipped because it was shaped like a fish.  Honestly, I have no idea how much sun was beating down on my guy’s balding pate but he truly did not see it as an arrowhead.  He let child number two keep it because it was shaped like a fish.

The kids and I went to the museum and I asked who would be able to help us date this arrowhead.  The super nice curator of that department came down and met up with us.  He took us behind the scenes where the staff and students study new artifacts.  It was cool to see the inner workings of a museum!  He told us the arrowhead was called an oxbow.


They believe the oxbow tip was being used/made 4000 BC.  So that is why I say it is the oldest thing I own.  The curator also said it was not an arrowhead but a dart head.  The head was put onto a short stick like this.


The shorter stick was then attached to a longer one.


The reason for joining the two bits was the larger shaft allowed for it to be launched further-like a spear but the two parts would separate with the shorter part staying in the animal.  For the life of me, I can not remember why this separation would be considered advantageous so I can only guess that the shorter shaft made it more difficult for the animal to rub it out if it didn’t drop immediately after being hit.

The long shaft would be put into the end of a throwing device and used like this:

Notice the man on the right side of the photo...he only has a short peice of wood in his hand.  The rest has been launched off at its target.

Notice the man on the right side of the photo…he only has a short piece of wood in his hand. The rest has been launched off at its target.

This above photo gets me to think.  In 4000 BC some young man was sitting by his fire chipping out a few dart heads.  May be his dad was beside him showing him how.  He may have used it many times to feed his family  and may he may have passed it on to his kids.  One day it was lost.  It dropped.  Or it missed its target and couldn’t be found.  May be it was found and used by another man years later.  Or may be it wasn’t.  Some how it ended up in the lake.  May be that is where it was lost.  Did the man drown with all his possessions or was it the animal he was hunting that drowned as it tried to escape in the water?  But, however it happened, the dart head stayed in the lake for some time.  Then it washed up on the beach.  And it sat there for some long or short time till a sandy-haired white boy found it and made his dad carry it.  The Dad, just thinking about what a nice time he was having with his kids, nearly tossed it back into the lake.  But, the little white boy with snow-white hair wanted to save it.

How many hands over all those years touched this?  Who were they?  What made them laugh?  What made them worry?  Who did they love?  Those are the questions in history I want to know.  I want to know what parts of them were like me.  How did they see their life and their world?  I wish man-made objects could talk and share their stories.  Yes, that is my obsession with old things.  The desire to hear the story they hold inside themselves.  They have been places I have not.  They “were” when I was not.


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