While walking along the Jersey Shore, a woman recently stumbled upon a rare spearhead about 10,000 to 11,000 years old, according to experts who believe the ancient artifact may hold clues into prehistoric life in the Americas.
The projectile point was examined this past Tuesday by curators at the New Jersey State Museum after Audrey Stanick -- a 58-year-old resident of Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey -- made the discovery on Oct. 6 while walking along a Seaside Heights beach with her sister looking for sea glass after a recent storm.
"I noticed it because it was very dark and shiny, and my sister from Florida who likes to collect sharks' teeth taught me to always look out for dark and shiny things at the beach," Stanick said. "Then, I remembered a boy made a similar discovery last year, so I got in contact with the museum."
Stanick said she "had a great experience" watching one of the state museum's curators study the spearhead on Tuesday.
"I looked at it under the microscope, took measurements with calipers and another colleague determined the point was made out of flint," the museum's assistant curator Dr. Gregory Lattanzi told ABC News today. "It's a pretty rare find. There are actually professional excavations to try and find points like these, so to be along the shore and see it washed up is pretty incredible."
Lattanzi said that the flint, which is between 10,00 to 11,000 years old, is one of the older artifacts he's seen from the Paleo-Indian period. He added that the spearhead was likely used by semi-nomadic natives who continuously sharpened the stone to hunt animals like deer and ancient caribou.
The artifact is also "significant because we now have another piece of evidence from prehistoric habitation sites from land previously exposed but now covered in water," Lattanzi explained. Stanick's "finding will help us get a better idea of just how far these sites may be located out in the ocean."
Stanick told ABC News that she decided to keep the ancient spearhead.
"I read that a boy who found a similar spearhead last year in New Jersey donated it to the Smithsonian," she said. "If I do ever end up donating it, I want to donate it to a New Jersey museum because I found it here and it belongs here. But for now, I'm going to keep it. Trust me, these places have a lot of artifacts, and I don't think they're going to miss mine."
Stanick added that she currently has the spearhead "in a pouch in my purse" and that she likes pulling it out randomly to showcase to people.
"To me, it' just so amazing because it's like I can't believe I have something in my hand that someone created 10,000 to 11,000 years ago," she said. "It's really piqued my interest of finding things. I'd love to go on a dig. I guess I'll see where the future takes me!"