Back in September, at a time of low water levels on the Assabet River, I found what I thought and hoped was a piece of hand-worked stone. The find was described here.
Yesterday, my presumed artifact and I traveled by train into Boston where we attended a meeting of the Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources. Following Commonwealth of Massachusetts policy, I had submitted an application for an Isolated Find Exemption. As stated on the application form "Artifacts recovered from state lands (submerged bottom lands, wetlands, and uplands) are state property. It is a violation of state law to surface collect or excavate without having proper authorization. The only exceptions are for surface collection of Isolated Finds and at Exempted Sites. The list of Exempted Sites is available from the Board. An Isolated Find is an artifact displaced from its original archaeological context through erosion, water currents or other natural processes. Determining a resource to be an Isolated Find rests exclusively with the Board."
After the board dealt with some interesting shipwrecks along the Massachusetts coast, it was time for my presumed artifact to be examined. Each board member examined it and after a brief discussion, the senior archaeologist concluded that my piece of slate was natural stone and did not show evidence of having been hand-worked. He felt the one-sided edge was from a natural break in the slate.
Therefore, no action was required as to my application and my once presumed artifact and I returned home by train. The hand-cuffed attache case was no longer required.
Though disappointed, I appreciate the Board taking the time to examine my find and I found it very interesting to learn more about how underwater archaeological finds are handled.
My quest for finding a piece of hand-worked stone, which I thought was over, is now back on. Onward, into the past!