Archaeologists working in a southwest Lawrence cornfield have unearthed another treasure.
As they were washing away the mud from the artifacts discovered on their two-week dig, they found the base of a stone projectile point. The point's age is estimated from 9,000 to 10,000 years ago.
"It's significant because it proves this site had been used for a long period of time," said Tim Weston, special projects archaeologist with the Kansas State Historical Society.
The base is approximately half an inch long and made of chert, Weston said. "It looks like the chert came from an area in the southeastern part of the state near Maple City. It proves that there was contact between the people and that some moved around a large area."
Although the artifact is small, Weston said the base is the most important part of the projectile point when it comes to dating it.
"It's the part that would have been attached to the wooden end of a staff or dart," Weston said. "The very segment we needed was the one we found. It's the most diagnostic part as to time because it's the part that changes through time most dramatically."
"We still think most of the artifacts are 200 to 500 years old," Weston said. "The point just proves there have been people there for thousands of years."
The site, which will eventually be covered by the Southwest Lawrence Trafficway, would have been a good one for an ancient campsite, Weston said.
"It's located on a rise adjacent to the Wakarusa Valley. It's high enough that it doesn't flood but still has convenient access to all the resources in the valley like fish, animals and later, the good soil."
The archaeologists are finished with the field work and will spend the next few weeks washing, analyzing and cataloging the artifacts.
"We believe that everything that was there was in the portion we searched," he said. "We feel there is nothing else there."