North Carolina

‘Mysterious’ face sculpture found in a plowed NC field has experts scratching heads

Mysterious face sculpture found in a plowed NC field

A man plowing a field in Newton Grove, N.C. unearthed a mysterious stone face carved into a stone and notified the Office of State Archaeology, which produced a 3D video of the artifact.
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A man plowing a field in Newton Grove, N.C. unearthed a mysterious stone face carved into a stone and notified the Office of State Archaeology, which produced a 3D video of the artifact.

A North Carolina man was walking along the edge of his field in March when he saw something mysterious.

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Screen Grab/Office of State Archaeology

Someone plowing the field in Newton Grove had hit a large stone while working earlier and moved it over to the edge of the field, said Mary Beth Fitts, assistant archaeologist at the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology.

But when the property owner stopped to look at it, he discovered it wasn’t just any stone. When he turned it over, he found a face carved into the front of it and called the Office of State Archaeology, Fitts said.

But experts are unsure what exactly it is.

“It’s a very unusual artifact,” Fitts said. “We haven’t seen anything like that before.”

The office posted a 3D model of the sculpture on Facebook on Monday in hopes of “crowd sourcing” to find out more about it.

“We’re hoping maybe someone has seen something like it,” Fitts said.

The sculpture is made of sandstone and is 22.2 inches long and 15.75 inches wide, the office wrote on Facebook.

“We don’t know what tool was used, but sandstone is a softer rock and more easily shaped than most common rock types in NC,” the office said.

Fitts said the office doesn’t know how old the sculpture is but because it’s made of limestone which doesn’t take special tools to carve, it “could be of any age.”

Archaeologists believe Native Americans reached the state “not long after people first crossed into the New World from Siberia during the final stages of the last Ice Age, or Pleistocene era,” and can “trace the chronicle of Native Americans to at least 12,000 years ago,” according to the Office of State Archaeology.

Fitts said nothing like this artifact has been found in North Carolina to her knowledge, but she hopes someone has seen something like it and will reach out to the office.

“Normally we would be able to do research into similar artifacts but it is beyond or usual methods,” she said.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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