FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2013
Frisco: While visiting the Outer Banks this summer, Rick and Betty Shafer from Hiller, Pennsylvania had a touch of intrigue when they took a beach walk in the Rodanthe area. Near the shoreline, feeling a small “lump” under his feet, Rick Shafer picked it up only to puzzle over the strange item.
“It looked like it was possibly man-made, but it had an unusual shape and we weren’t sure how it could have been used ” said Betty Shafer. “After showing it to several authorities who reported they had never seen anything like it, a Fish and Wildlife agent suggested we contact the Frisco Native American Museum & Natural History Center. We got in touch with the museum and met with the director, Carl Bornfriend. We knew right away we had gone to the right place.”
Bornfriend examined the small artifact with special lighting and high magnification. As he gently traced the curvature of the surface, he sniffed the interior and carefully probed the inner area. Running his finger along the edge of the rim, he smiled and told the Shafers that they had found a treasure.
“It is clearly man-made, shaped from clay, and formed into a small vessel” Bornfriend said. “It is quite old and was most likely used to carry liquid medicines, perhaps herbs or other items considered important. Two swirls near the opening of the vessel at first appear to be intentional designs but show no signs of tool markings and are more likely crafted by nature. Small indentations along the bottom edge are also signs of wear from sand abrasions.”
Pleased that the vessel had found a good home, the Shafers donated it to the museum where staff will continue to research the item. In the meantime, it provides a vivid example of the treasures the beach has to offer for those with sharp eyes, sensitive feet, and a sense of adventure.