PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation receives donation of 11,000 year old artifact
October 29, 2012
For immediate release
Tourism and Culture
The PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation now holds what is possibly the oldest artifact ever discovered in Prince Edward Island, says Tourism and Culture Minister Robert Henderson.
The stone spear point, believed to be more than 11,000 years old, was discovered by the late Aage Sorensen in the 1930s while he was digging potatoes in Tryon. The artifact has been kept in the family collection until recently when his son, Jack Sorensen, donated the piece to the provincial collection.
“On behalf of the province, I want to thank the Sorensen family for entrusting the PEI Museum as a permanent home for this important artifact,” said Mr. Henderson. “It is through the generosity of Islanders such as Mr. Sorensen that the Prince Edward Island Museum is able to amass a rich and varied collection of artifacts.”
“Unfortunately my father died several years before I showed the artifact to Dr. David Keenlyside and he would not have realized the full significance of his find,” said Jack Sorensen. “But I am sure if Dad were alive today he would be pleased to know the artifact is now in safe hands, and will be enjoyed by future generations. It is intriguing to consider that Dad emigrated westward from Denmark to Prince Edward Island in 1928 and ten years later made the discovery of an artifact crafted by people who had traveled eastward from Asia thousands of years before that.”
Archaeologists have determined that the spear point is part of a tool typically used by Palaeo-Indian people, distant ancestors of today’s Mi’kmaq First Nations, who are considered the earliest inhabitants of eastern North America. The stone material, outline form, and techniques used to make the tool closely resemble spear points discovered in central Nova Scotia radiocarbon dated to about 11,000 years ago.
The artifact will be on display at the Eptek Centre in Summerside for the month of November and at Beaconsfield in Charlottetown in December.
“We are thrilled to receive this unique donation from the Sorensen family,” said Dr. David Keenlyside, Executive Director of the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation. “Not only do we appreciate their generosity and willingness to share, but also their interest in ensuring the preservation of what is now our earliest piece of evidence for human presence on Prince Edward Island.”
The provincial collection includes a wide range of artifacts which are representative of the human and natural heritage of Prince Edward Island.
“This spear point enables historians to learn more about the people who first came to this land and will help tell the story of our very earliest beginnings,” said Mr. Henderson.
Media Contact: Andrew Sprague