Experts say to leave artifacts where they are found
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- What began as a personal interest in learning more about Central Oregon’s indigenous history led to a Bend man’s discovery of an ancient cultural artifact.
Patric Douglas said he was walking his dog at Good Dog Trail when he saw a pointy, black object in the middle of the dirt trail, glinting in the sunlight.
After closer inspection, he realized it was an obsidian arrowhead, formed from cooled molten lava.
“I think every one of us likes to think we’re a little bit of Indiana Jones, and this was my Indiana Jones moment,” Douglas said Tuesday.
Deschutes National Forest spokeswoman Jean Nelson-Dean said it’s best for people to leave artifacts where they found them.
“Artifacts, once they have been removed, lose the context of where they were found and their connection to other known or unknown archaeological sites,” Nelson-Dean said. “Those connections help archaeologists increase understanding of Native American history and culture.”
Douglas said he has been contacting local organizations such as the Deschutes County Historical Society, the High Desert Museum and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to find out where he should donate the arrowhead.
This is not the first time an artifact of its kind has been found in Oregon.
In 2016, the NBC affiliate station in Portland reported a man from the Willamette Valley discovered 15 obsidian artifacts on his property estimated to be almost 4,000 years old.
Federal law prohibits the purchase, exchange, or transportation of any archaeological object illegally removed from federal, Indian, state or private land.
State law prohibits the sale, purchase, trade, barter or exchange of objects illegally removed from public land or private land. Collection of one arrowhead is permitted, however, according to ORS 358.920.
Citizens with questions about archaeological objects can email the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office at Oregon.Heritage@oregon.gov.