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20,000-year-old piece of obsidian discovered in Jilin Province becomes cyber star
Published: Mar 25, 2021 04:58 PM
The obsidian stone piece. Photo: Weibo

The obsidian stone piece. Photo: Weibo

A giant glass-like black object that was discovered by a local worker in Northeast China's Jilin Province has recently become an internet sensation because it is not some common glass object, but a piece of obsidian dating back to around 20,000 years ago.

The obsidian stone first appeared in an online short video titled "glass meteorite" posted by a local worker in the province. In the video he explains that he found the object at a construction site in Helong, Jilin Province. Thinking it might be a meteorite, he asked netizens to help further identify it. 

The stone is cone-shaped with two thin heads. It is more than 50 centimeters in length and has 14 surfaces that look as if having been artificially carved. Like most pieces of obsidian, it has a shiny black color that is timeless, and so it does not to be something so old as to date back to the Paleolithic age. 

The piece soon drew the attention of experts at Jilin Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism. After retrieving the item for examination, it was identified as a lithic core of obsidian dating back around to about 20,000 years ago. Such cores are the source rock from which flakes were removed and then made into tools such as arrow heads or blades.

This newly discovered core is rare because it is unusual to see one that is so large in size. 

Although it is unknown if the core was meant to be used for some other functions, the huge unusual piece still stirred up discussions on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. 

Some netizens believed it was used to craft tools for self-defense, while others thought that perhaps it was kept as a gemstone to ward off evil spirits. 

A representative of the Jilin Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology surnamed Xu told media on Tuesday that the new discovery is of great value to the further study of the way humans made stone tools in the Changbai Mountain region in the province during the Paleolithic period.


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