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Navy Finds Rare Prehistoric Artifact Off The Coast Of San Diego

Archeological finds on San Clemente Island
Archeological finds on San Clemente Island

The Navy recently discovered a prehistoric boat effigy made of volcano lava on San Clemente Island, about 90 miles off the coast of San Diego.

San Clemente Island is owned and operated by the U.S. Navy, and is used for training.

In the middle of the island is a recently-found archeological site, and that is where the artifact was first spotted during a recent archeological survey, according to a Navy news release.


Dr. Andy Yatsko, Senior Archaeologist and Region Southwest Archaeologist for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest in San Diego, said of the find:

"Boat effigies like the one found are exceedingly rare in the archaeological record, with this being my first one recovered during my 30 year tenure with SCI...

"The vesicle volcanic material used is hard and brittle but somehow they were able to craft a fine little carving out of it to represent an important part of their culture. This is something someone made representing a high skill level. This guy wasn't just a technician he was an artist. You can hold it and think about someone from 500 to 1000 years ago."
It's believed the Native Americans who once occupied the island made the boat effigy.