The Schöningen Spears: The Oldest Weapons in Human History (Video)
The Schöningen Spears, excavated in Germany in the 1990s, provide remarkable insights into the lives of Neanderthals, challenging the notion of them being unintelligent scavengers. These wooden spears, dating back around 300,000 years, offer rare evidence of ancient human hunting practices. Preservation of wooden artifacts is exceedingly rare due to decay, making the spears' discovery significant. Prior to this find, the idea that early hominins were primarily scavengers prevailed, but the spears' evidence suggests otherwise. Before this discovery, speculative evidence hinted at the use of spears dating back as far as one and a half to two million years in Africa.
The spears' functional versatility, being both thrown and used for thrusting, points to the ingenuity of these ancient hunters. Such findings shed light on the participation of the entire community, including females and children, in hunting activities. While gaps in the archaeological record remain, experimental archaeology and future discoveries offer hope for uncovering more about these ancient spears and the fascinating lives of our Neanderthal relatives.
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Top image: Schöningen Spears. Source: Forschungs Museum Schoningen.