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Boat Effigy

Ancient Boat Effigy Artefact Found by the Navy in San Diego

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Archaeologists have discovered an ancient boat effigy artefact on San Clemente Island (SCI) off the coast of San Diego at a newly discovered archaeological site.  The prehistoric artefact made of submarine volcano lava was found by archaeologists working for the Navy in San Diego during an archaeology survey.

"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," said Dr. Andy Yatsko, Senior Archaeologist and Region Southwest Archaeologist for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest in San Diego. "Finding artefacts on the surface of archaeological sites at the island is not unusual, but a rare one like this is always exciting to come across."

The boat effigy represents a type of boat used by the Native American Indians who occupied the California Channels and mainland at the time of the Spanish arrival in the 1500s.  The discovery adds to knowledge about the Native Americans which once inhabited San Clemente Island.

However, in a paradoxical statement made by the Naval Base that it takes great pride in “protecting the natural and man-made treasures entrusted to our care”, the island is effectively used as target practice for drills and training.  SCI has the last remaining shore bombardment range, in and out of the continental U.S., where Navy ships can qualify for naval gunfire support by actually shooting from ships to targets on land.

So while the Navy is happy to announce its commissioning of archaeologists to protect the “rare gems” on San Clemente Island, the actions of the Navy suggest otherwise.

By April Holloway

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