of the boxes of shards were stored under his
kitchen sink for years until he decided to
take them to a flea market last year. “I was
rinsing them off and something caught my
eye,” he says.
What caught his eye is possibly the first
art ever discovered in North America, says
Kevin Jones, Ph.D., chair of the Department
of Materials Science and Engineering at the
University of Florida. Jones is one of four
panelists invited to participate in a March
presentation at the Emerson Center in Vero
Beach on Kennedy’s Ice Age discovery.
Kennedy took his find to local fossil
collector Gene Roddenberry who, in turn,
contacted the Florida Museum of Natural
History. From there the call went out to Dr.
Barbara Purdy, professor emerita of anthropology
at the University of Florida, another
of the panelists. Purdy says, “Nothing like it has ever been found in Florida
before. Its presence indicates that people were creating artistic impressions of
the animals they hunted more than 13,000 years ago. … We knew people were
here because of stone and bone implements that have been found. We did not
know they were creating works of art.”
Exhaustive investigation and testing are required to convince the scientific
community that something as unique as the Kennedy fossil is the real deal.
Purdy says, “Until every skeptical person in the world has a chance to view the
engraved bone, there will always be doubters. However, based on the techniques
and analyses at the University of Florida, the incising looks genuine.
I was skeptical myself at first and set out to prove the specimen was a fake.”
That, she and her colleagues have been unable to do. >>
VERO BEACH MUSEUM OF ART
University of Florida professor Kevin Jones says the etching, which is seen in the middle of the
bone, is possibly the the oldest piece of art found in North America.
The etching is of a mastadon or mammoth that
roamed Florida some 13,000 years ago.