Archaeologists discovered elements of long-range weapons, the age of which may be 31 thousand years. This finding means that people probably started using spears for hunting 10,000 years earlier than previously thought.
Scientists of the TraceoLab research center of the University of Liège, in a work published in the journal Scientific Reports, claim that hunter-gatherers who settled on the banks of the Hein River in southern Belgium began to use spears for hunting game 31,000 years ago, writes Phys.org.
The material found at the Mezières Canal archaeological site suggests that this hunting technique was widespread 10,000 years earlier than scientists thought.
“A javelin is a weapon designed to throw darts, large projectiles similar to arrows, that are more than two meters long. Javelin throwers can throw darts up to 80 meters,” – explain the researchers.
|Photo: TraceoLab/ULiège (experiment progress)|
The invention of long-range hunting weapons had a significant impact on the evolution of mankind, because it changed the practice of hunting and the dynamics of interaction between humans and prey. Thanks to the invention, the diet and social organization of prehistoric hunter-gatherer groups also changed. That is why lively discussions have been going on for a long time in the scientific community regarding the time of invention and distribution of this weapon.
“Until now, the first weapons have hardly been found at archaeological sites, because they were made of organic components that are poorly preserved over time. And stone tips, which are much more common during archaeological excavations, are difficult to reliably connect with specific weapon”, – explains Justin Koppe, TraceoLab researcher.
In this study, scientists conducted a large-scale experiment in which replicas of Paleolithic projectiles were fired from a variety of weapons, including spears, bows, and spear throwers.
“By carefully examining the damage on the stone points, we were able to understand how each weapon affected the destruction of the point when it hit the target. Each weapon left clear marks, which allowed archaeologists to match them with archaeological finds. In a way, this is similar to identifying weapons by the marks left by the barrel on the bullet – a practice known in forensics.” – scientists note.
The match between experimental samples of spear throwers and projectiles from the Mézières canal confirmed that hunters at this location did indeed use such weapons. Thanks to this discovery, archaeologists are more willing to use this method at other sites in order to better understand the age and characteristics of the use of ancient long-range weapons.
Read also: An ancient tomb of a pharaoh’s scribe was discovered in Egypt
Iryna Batiuk, UP. Life