MONROE, N.C.—An item found in North Carolina in 1973 may be thousands of years old, according to the state’s office of archaeology.
The 7-inch carved artifact found by a Monroe landowner is suspected to be a grooved adz, a tool used for smoothing or trimming wood, The Charlotte Observer reports. It could have been used to carve bowls, dugout canoes or other objects, according to a North Carolina Office of State Archaeology statement.
The item’s age is unclear, but it may have been made at about the time when many grooved axes were being made and used, according to the office’s 3D model and description of the item. That means it likely dates to the Late Archaic period between 3,000 and 1,000 B.C.
About 13 miles south of where the artifact was found sits the state’s border with South Carolina, where most of the state’s land belonged to the Catawba Nation, a federally recognized indigenous group now based in York County, according to the newspaper.
Further east along the border near Robeson County lies the Lumbee Tribe, a state-recognized indigenous tribe.
The newspaper said the Monroe artifact’s discovery is similar to that of a carved stone face found in July. That item was found by a property owner plowing a field in Newton Grove, according to The News & Observer reports.
The owner moved the large sandstone, about 22 inches by 15 inches, to the edge of the field and later flipped it over to the see the face, said Mary Beth Fitts, an assistant archaeologist at the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology. That’s when the owner called the state archaeology office.
State officials have yet to release an analysis of that artifact.