June 10, 2016 - 8:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - An artifact found on a farm in Westsyde is being studied and may lead to a new chapter in B.C. history books.
Kamloops Museum curator Matt Macintosh says the piece of foot long metal, which looks like the sharp end of a spear, could be part of a spontoon or half pike. A spontoon was a spear-like weapon used by European soldiers from the mid-17th century to 19th-century.
Macintosh knows the artifact was found on a farm in Westsyde sometime in the 1950s. However, no one is certain how old it really is. Tests started in February to figure out what exactly it’s made of and to help determie its age, with support from a mixture of private and public scholars.
Macintosh says legends of Spanish exploration of B.C.’s interior is fuelling the interest.
“The interest in the object circulates around the possibility the Spanish may have come further into the interior earlier than previously thought,” he says.
There have been legends for over a century that the Spanish beat the English and fur traders to the interior of B.C. by coming from the southwest. The artifact could be evidence there is truth to those stories.
Right now the artifact is being tested with a scanning electron microscope in Kamloops.
Macintosh says the interest sparked by a Globe and Mail article in February is helping fund the tests, which the museum couldn’t afford to do on its own. The tests take a day, but reviewing the results of the test can take months, since those reviewing the tests are volunteering their time. He hopes to have answers about the specific composition of the artifact by the end of 2016.
“From there what we can do is produce better, more informed hypothesis about where the object may have been made,” he says.
For more about the legend of early Spanish explorers, click here.
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