In what is being called a super rare discovery, a man has found a centuries-old bow buried in the mud of a Mississippi creek.
According to the Sun Herald, Scott Summerlin saw an unusual “stick” in the mud in a creek on his property. After a closer examination, Scott identified the marks on it to be man-made. He pulled the “stick” from the mud only to discover that it was not just any stick but a centuries-old bow.
Mississippi state archaeologists say “old” is an understatement. The bow is most likely from the Choctaw Nation and may prove to predate written records.
“It is an unbelievably rare find in an area where wooden things decay quickly,” according to James Starnes, director of surface geology for the Mississippi Office of Geology.
“He found it in a black water stream, rich in tannin, and that can do neat things as far as preserving stuff. This is similar to seeing something frozen hundreds of years in the permafrost, and it is revealed when the ice melts. It’s that kind of rarity in a subtropical environment.”
The Mississippi Department of Archives and history, The Cobb Institute of Archaeology and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma have examined photos of the bow, Starnes says. Their consensus is it’s made in the tradition of “early historic Native Americans” and is likely “a few hundred years old.”
“Everyone is pretty convinced this has a story to tell,” Starnes said. “It was not found in association with an archaeological site. This is something that was probably lost, floated down the creek, got waterlogged, and sank. It was then covered with mud.”
Summerlin announced Monday on Facebook that he’s donating the bow to the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma. The Choctaw will “preserve, study, radiocarbon date and publish” a report on the bow “to the benefit of Native American heritage preservation.”
That is an awesome discovery and the find of a lifetime. If that bow could speak I wonder what stories it would tell.