The Stone Axe Left Behind

 Jennie McCormick

October 28, 2013

I remember the afternoon my husband came in from the garage, laid a dirty stone on the kitchen counter, and said, "Brought you a present."

Bob and I were building the house at 335 Bristol Way, across from Wilson Hill School, that spring of 1989. There is a small stream across the back of the lot. They had recently finished digging the basement and piling the dirt into a mound between the house and the street, and he had been picking up rocks and leveling dirt where we intended to plant pine trees and create a woodsy shield from the busy street.

"Oh my!" Even before washing it off I realized this rock was something special. It was about six inches long and had been worked to a edge on one end and had a groove encircling the other end. We had belonged to the Worthington and Ohio Historical societies for some time and recognized it as a prehistoric axe head that had originally been fastened to a wooden handle with a leather thong.  Of course the wood and leather had long ago disintegrated but the stone axe head was waiting all of these years to be found. We washed it off and took it to the Ohio Historical Society archaeology experts for information about its age.

They identified it as Archaic Period, probably at least 3000 BC. Just imagine, that's 5000 years ago, even older than the mound on Plesenton Drive. Humans have been in this area for a long, long time.

For several years third grade teachers invited us to visit their class in the spring when they were studying local history and talk with students about the time when the Worthington area was covered with trees and native people used rivers and streams as highways. That little stream runs downhill through Wilson Hill and north of the high school athletic complex to join the Olentangy and down to the Ohio River, and eventually to the Mississippi and Gulf of Mexico.

We eventually gave the stone axe head to the historical society and you can now see it in the display case about prehistoric peoples in the basement museum at 956 High St.

How did something so valuable get lost? Making such a tool obviously required many hours of work and it would have been a treasured possession. Were a group of prehistoric people camping in this area hit by a flash flood some night and the axe washed downstream and lost, or could they have been attacked by enemies and forced to flee quickly? Perhaps it was as simple as someone tossing it under a bush and it was overlooked when they moved on. We'll never know, but they certainly left us positive evidence that people were here long before the New Englanders who settled Worthington.


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