Fifth grader discovers rare artifact on field trip

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A fifth grader at Georgia O’Keeffe Elementary made a fascinating find on a recent field trip to the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center. He found the fragment of an axe or a maul that could be more than 1,000 years old.

“We were doing an activity where we were supposed to find fossils,” said Adeeb Khan, a fifth grade student at Georgia O’Keeffe Elementary near Lowell Street NE and Academy Road NE.

Khan found the artifact off a path and brought it to his teacher, Shannon Rhoades. Khan recalled that she told him, “Adeeb, pick it up, it might be an ancient artifact. Show it to the instructor.”

Rhoades was on to something. Steven Henley, environmental resource teacher at the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center, said, “It’s at least 450 years old.”

The relic was an essential tool for cutting hundreds of years ago.  Because of where it was found, Henley believes it may have been used by Native Americans.

“I thought that it was used for like a tomahawk or something like an axe as a weapon,” said Khan.

It’s not everyday that a fifth grader makes such a discovery on a field trip at the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center.

“That was extremely rare,” Henley said.

The artifact has inspired Khan’s class.

“Being able to find an artifact that actually belonged to the indigenous people that were here is I think an awesome experience for these kids they’ll never forget,” said Rhoades.

The ancient axe will be kept at the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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