Toronto woman’s 80 year aged find turns out to be an ancient Indigenous arrowhead

January 2, 2018 - Finding Carter

About 80 years ago, Jeanne Carter picked adult a mill arrowhead during a revisit to Fort York ancestral site in Toronto.

Ever given then, it sat on her coffee list during home. All that time, she had no suspicion it was indeed a precious artifact dating behind some-more than 4,000 years — until now.

At some point, she offering a arrowhead to a City of Toronto’s Museums and Heritage Department. When a arrowhead came opposite historian and archaeologist Richard Gerrard’s list a integrate months ago, he began to investigate a history.

He believes the arrowhead traces behind to a initial Indigenous peoples in Toronto.

As It Happens horde Carol Off spoke with Gerrard about a arrowhead.

Richard Gerrard with Arrowhead

The arrowhead will be displayed in The Vault, an muster in a museum during Fort York. (Richard Gerrard)

Can we report a arrowhead?

It’s done of quartzite, that is a white semi-crystalline stone. It is flaked all over. It is what we would consider of as an arrowpoint solely it’s not a dull, grey colour that we consider of flint being. It’s tawny white.

How aged do we consider it is?

I’m told reliably that it’s somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 years old.

How does that review with other artifacts that we have in a city’s collection?

The city has a unequivocally vast collection of things, though this is utterly presumably a oldest thing we have.

Can we tell us a story that it presumably would tell? Who competence have done that arrowhead?

It was substantially done by someone who used sport and gathering, lived in a tiny family organisation and was sincerely nomadic. It’s a bit of a nonplus since a quartzite is an peculiar element for this distant south. You customarily find it adult on a Canadian Shield. So how it indeed got down here is a bit of a mystery.

Where and how did Jeanne Carter find it?

The story she compared to me is she went to open propagandize here in Toronto and was taken on a propagandize outing to Fort York substantially in a late ’30s. The Fort non-stop as a open museum in 1934 and she remembers walking along a sand trail and, as kids do, looked down and saw this white thing sitting there on a belligerent and picked it adult and suspicion it was nice. Put it in her pocket. Took it home. Put it into a tiny mahogany box that she kept her treasures in and kept it in a box for a unequivocally prolonged time.

Fort York in 1934

The Fort York ancestral site in Toronto, graphic in Jun 1934. This is what a museum would have looked like when Jeanne Carter visited in a late 1930s. (City of Toronto Archives)

Do we have any suspicion how it managed to get to Fort York?

No. That’s a prolonged and a brief of it. We have found other antiquated element on a site so it could have been traded down from a Canadian Shield to a organisation vital down here. It could’ve been brought by someone.

Because it is damaged — it’s damaged during a bottom — we suppose it was used, missed a target, strike a belligerent and was mislaid since we’ve got zero else utterly like it — utterly that aged — off a site. So we consider it’s only an removed find from someone flitting through.

The story of Jeanne Carter… she did have an eye for it and that didn’t stop, her seductiveness in anticipating things and artifacts. What attribute has she had with archeology?

Jeanne’s been concerned with many things during a Royal Ontario Museum. She was one of a members of a Bishop White organisation that was compared with a Chinese collections … There was an muster of mount funeral suits in a 1970s and she was concerned with bringing that uncover from China.

So she’s always had an eye for looking for these things, even as a kid?

I consider so and it’s smashing articulate to her since she remembers so much. we only wish I’m that pointy when I’m that old.

Where will we arrangement this arrowhead that Jeanne Carter kept in a box on her list for all those years?

A few years ago, we non-stop a new visitors centre during Fort York and we have a tiny gallery in there that we lovingly call The Vault, where we arrangement engaging things with fascinating stories. we can see this … going into that along with Jeanne’s story — and a story — to try to explain that things unequivocally do have a prolonged story and that it doesn’t unequivocally finish when they come into a museum.

This talk has been edited for length and clarity. To hear a full talk with Richard Gerrard, listen in a actor above.

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