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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Prehistoric Ax Discovered in Virginia

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Virginia prehistoric axFAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA—The Washington Post reports that a 6,000-year-old ax-head made of green stone has been recovered from a ridge overlooking the Potomac River in Virginia. Two teens volunteering on an archaeological dig on the grounds of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate retrieved the seven-inch-long tool from a sifting screen. “Artifacts such as this are a vital resource for helping us learn about the diverse communities who shaped this landscape throughout its long history,” said Sean Devlin, curator of archaeological collections at Mount Vernon. He explained that the tool was probably first shaped with a hammer stone, then a smoother cutting surface was produced with a harder stone. A grinding stone may have been used to cut a grove to attach a handle. Devlin thinks the people who made the ax may have traveled down the Potomac River seasonally, carrying the tool for cutting or carving wood. To read about discoveries dating to the Colonial period in Virginia, go to “Jamestown's VIPs.”

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