Archeologists discover perfectly preserved spears from 300,000 years ago in a coal mine - image

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Archeologists discover perfectly preserved spears from 300,000 years ago in a coal mine - image

Archaeologists from the University of Tübingen, Germany, have discovered eight extremely well-preserved spears dating back 300,000 years, making them the oldest known weapons found anywhere in the world.

The spears and other artifacts as well as animal remains found at the site demonstrate that their users were highly skilled craftsmen and hunters, well adapted to their environment – with a capacity for abstract thought and complex planning comparable to our own.

The archaeologists speculate that the most likely species was Homo heidelbergensis.

The artifacts were unearthed by the team led by Prof Nicholas Conard and Dr Jordi Serangeli, both from the University of Tübingen’s Institute of Prehistory, during excavations in an open-cast brown coal mine in Schöningen.

The bones of large mammals – elephants, rhinoceroses, horses and lions – as well as the remains of amphibians, reptiles, shells and even beetles have been preserved in the brown coal. Pines, firs, and black alder trees are preserved complete with pine cones, as have the leaves, pollen and seeds of surrounding flora.

Until the mining started at the site 30 years ago, these finds were below the water table. The archaeologists say they are now carrying out “underwater archaeology without the water.” Work continues almost all year round, and every day there is something new to document and recover.

Some of the most important finds from the site have been remains of a water buffalo, an almost completely preserved aurochs – one of the oldest in central Europe – and several concentrations of stone artifacts, bones and wood.

The scientists say Schöningen is an exciting location and global reference point not just for archaeology, but also for quaternary ecology and climate research.

 http://www.sci-news.com/arc...

ancient-spear.jpg - 128.44kb
By netchicken: posted on 18-9-2012








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