Chipped Stone Bear
California, once nicknamed the Bear Flag Republic and now the Bear Flag State, adopted this bear-shaped object as the State Prehistoric Artifact in 1991. Chipped from meta-volcanic rock by California Indians 7,000 to 8,000 years ago, this artifact resembles a short-faced bear. Archeologists speculate that it is made by the same chipping process used to fashion arrowheads and spear points and that its unique shape suggests it was probably connected to religious practices. Since its 1985 discovery by a Cypress College student working on an archeology dig in Southern California, it has been called the Chipped Stone Bear. It is considered one of the earliest pieces of art known in the Western United States.