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May 29, 2005

World's oldest weapons


They were found in 1995 in Schöningen, Germany, in the depths of a coal mine, lying among stone implements and animal bones, including the butchered remains of more than ten horses.

The three wooden spears, each six to seven feet long, are estimated to be 400,000 years old.

Each spear (above and below) was expertly fashioned from the trunk of a 30–year–old spruce tree with the bark removed.

The tip was sharpened at the base of the trunk where the wood is hardest.


The thickest and heaviest part of the carved shaft is about one–third of the distance from the spear point, as in a modern javelin.

The spears were made for throwing at animals from a distance, according to their discoverer, Hartmut Thieme of the Institute for the Preservation of Historical Monuments in Hannover, Germany.

His group published their findings in the February 27, 1997 issue of Nature magazine.


I came across this information while reading an article in the June 2005 Scientific American entitled "The Morning of the Modern Mind," which suggests that the roots of human intellect run far deeper and appeared in functional fashion much earlier than the usually accepted view that Homo sapiens became "modern" sometime in the past 50,000 years, more than 100,000 years after attaining anatomical modernity.

May 29, 2005 at 05:01 PM | Permalink


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