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Tourists find 400 year-old petroglyphs on Hawaiian beach

Posted at 12:18 PM, Aug 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-11 12:18:21-04

OAHU, Hawaii — It's not often we get excited about something old lying around on a beach, but this is different.

Drifting sands on a Hawaiian beach have revealed some pretty cool rock art that experts are saying could date back more than 400 hundred years.

"For whatever reason, how the ocean's reacting, it exposed this section now," Army Archaeologist Alton Exzabe said.

Rock carvings, or petroglyphs, are found world-wide and are often associated with ancient cultures. But these newly uncovered images on Oahu's shoreline are considered rare, and they were found by a couple of beach goers.

"For some reason there was a beam of light out of the sun," tourists Lonnie Watson said "Just bam, it landed right on one of them. And for some reason I just turned my head, and I said 'look.'"

Up to 10 petroglyphs have been spotted so far. What excites experts the most is the size of these sandstone etchings. The largest ones measure about 4 to 5 feet long and have human features. We guess coastal erosion has one upside.

"It gave us an opportunity to look at these features and be able to actually know that they're here, so we can further come up with plans to preserver and protect," Exzabe said.

Hawaii's State Historic Preservation Division is working with the U.S. Army to keep the petroglyphs safe. Meanwhile, the tourists who found them are amazed by their ancient discovery.

"It was just a stroke of luck. Talk about two guys from Texas being this blessed and this honored. Really, I'm humbled about the whole thing," Watson said.

He should be. They found 400-year-old cravings on the beach, while most of us just spot an occasional dead crab every once in a while.