The item is believed to be a very old piece of pottery that can be traced back to the Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma, the site of a very old civilization.
According to The Buffalo News
, the pottery showed up in a Goodwill warehouse last month. Described as a "primitive" artifact being about 7.5 inches tall, containing a fluted opening and having "wartlike protusions." The pottery had been placed on Goodwill's website for auction.
The item's donor is unknown and it is not known which Goodwill location the individual donated the item to since items given to the organization are often consolidated and sent to a central location. What is known is that the pottery came with a note which stated, "Found in a burial mound near Spiro Oklahoma in 1970."
is a prehistoric Native American archaeological site, and open to the public. Its property became a protected site in 1990; the Oklahoma Historical Society's website noted that looting became a problem after a major archeological discovery in the 1930s of artifacts of the ancient city.
At first the value and history behind the ancient artifact was not known, and after Goodwill put the piece on its website, complete with photos, it wasn't long before people wrote in to Goodwill's ecommerce manager, Dan Victori.
"People recognized it right away," Jeremy Juhasz, Goodwill's local social media and website coordinator told The Buffalo News. "We had no idea what it was."
It is believed the piece is over 1,000 years old, and maybe even far older since the history at Spiro Mounds dates back thousands of years. The area was a permanent settlement from A.D. 800 until about A.D. 1450, but is described as having residents and campers for 8,000 years prior to this time frame.
"We're pretty amazed that the thing wasn't (a) broken or (b) just thrown out," said Juhasz.
The ancient pottery will be given to the Caddo Nation
"Once we were alerted to what it was," Juhasz said, "there was no doubt that we were happy to donate it back to them."
Goodwill is frequently the recipient of some very valuable items. According to College News
, Victori told Buffalo news affiliate WKBW the organization does occasionally receive items of value, including a book written by Albert Einstein in his native German language being donated.
In March, Digital Journal
had reported a painting purchased at Goodwill for $3 fetched $190,000 at an auction.