LONDON-A perfectly preserved spear dart used 1,000 years ago by hunters has been found in a melting ice patch in the Yukon. The ‘amazing’ find is so well preserved, feather and even the sap used as glue is still visible. ‘I’d never seen anything like that before, it was amazing,’ Jennifer Herkes, who is the heritage manager for the Carcross/Tagish First Nation in Yukon, told CBC.
‘The feathers, the sinew, the sap they would have used as, like, a glue to attach the stone point to the wood shaft — all of it is completely intact.’
The incredible find was made on the Yukon ice patches, near Carcross.
At first, Herkes said didn’t realize what had been found, thinking is was just a small part of a dart. ‘I thought, ‘Oh yeah, that’s neat,’’ she told CBC.
Then she saw it wasn’t just a piece — it was the whole spear.
‘My heart rate started increasing, and I got goose bumps all over.’
The five-foot spear dart, or atlatl, would have been launched with a throwing tool, increasing its velocity.
The area is home to woodland caribou who gather on the ice patches during summer, and it was once a popular hunting ground.
Recent warmer weather has meant tools are now regularly being found in the area as the ice patches melt.
‘Carcross/Tagish First Nation Citizens and staff had the opportunity to go up to the ice patches this year,’ the organization said on its Facebook Page.
‘Ice patches are used by caribou to escape the heat and bugs in the summer, and were used as a common hunting location for at least 9000 years.’
The organization is working to have these sites designated as world heritage sites because of their importance and uniqueness.
‘This year’s amazing finds included a ground stone point, an arrow shaft with point, and an intact atl-alt dart,’ it said.
A few weeks before the spear was found, archeologists made another discovery in the ice patches — a ground-stone point.
Earlier this year, archaeologists also confirmed that a rare copper arrowhead discovered on a remote Canadian mountain is almost 900 years old.
The arrowhead, which is at the tip of a perfectly preserved antler arrow, was found sticking out of an ice patch in the Yukon Territory.
The Carcross/Tagish First Nations was also involved in the arrowhead discovery, which shed new light on the history of the Canadian Territory.