Extremely Rare Artifact found by Navy on San Clemente Island

An extremely rare archeological treasure was found on San Clemente Island last week. The U.S. Navy recently discovered a prehistoric boat model made out of volcano lava about 90 miles off the San Diego coastline.

San Clemente Island, which is owned by the U.S. Navy and holds large training operations, is part of the southern Channel Islands. Although the island is uninhabited, there have been traces of human occupancy on the island dating back 10,000 years.

The recent finding of the prehistoric boat effigy happened in the center of the island. This newly discovered archaeological site is riddled with artifacts. According to a Navy news release, this boat effigy was first spotted during an archaeological survey.

The Senior Archaeologist for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest in San Diego had this to share about the incredible find: “Boat effigies like the one found are exceedingly rare in the archaeological record, with this being by first one recovered during my 30 year tenure…”

“The vesicle volcanic material used is hard and brittle but somehow they were able to craft a fine little carving out of it to represent an important part of their culture. This is something someone made representing a high skill level. This guy wasn’t just a technician, he was an artist. You can hold it and think about someone from 500 to 1,000 years ago.”

It is alleged that Native Americans had occupied San Clemente Island in earlier times. This boat effigy could definitely belong to the Native American inhabitants that once lived on the island.

Photo Credit: Ed Bierman