Rare find of weapons from the Stone Age
04. April 2017 | Landscape & Archaeology
A “mantelpiece find” turned out to be a rare pointed weapon in antler from the hunter-gatherer Stone Age.
A sharp-eyed amateur archaeologist made note of an interesting find while visiting an acquaintance. He pointed out that the Museums of Eastern Funen would probably be interested in taking a look at the object.
This was a good thing, because the find turned out to be a pointed weapon of antler from the hunter-gatherer period of the Stone Age. It requires special care in preserving finds of antler and bone. Luckily, the object was found within the last 10 years, so it is relatively “new”. The finder can even point out exactly where he found the weapon, which makes it even more interesting in terms of archaeology.
The find site - perhaps a sacrificial bog
The pointed weapon was found in connection with the excavation of a small lake in a formerly low-lying area; this was almost certainly a bog/ wetland in ancient times. Throughout prehistory, our ancestors considered lakes, bogs and wetlands as places where it was possible to come into contact with the spirits, ancestors or gods that people believed in or worshipped throughout time. One of the ways to get into contact with the higher powers was to bring sacrificial gifts to them. Such gifts could be clay pots, weapons, tools and jewellery laid in a stream, a lake or on a peat bog.
Something indicates that the bog near Korkendrup was used as a sacrificial site throughout most of prehistory. In the same area, a polished stone axe was found, and a beautiful flat-hewn flint sickle. These tools are several thousand years younger than the pointed weapon. The axe is from the later part of the agricultural Stone Age (3300-2000 BC), while the flint sickle is from the earliest Bronze Age (2000-1700 BC).
Used as a weapon and as a pressing tool
The piece made of antler is 15 cm long (6”) and was originally a side point on a deer antler. Just about 3 cm. (1.25”) from the thick end, a hole has been bored through the antler, so it could be attached to a handle for use as a pickaxe or a weapon. One side of it has been carefully scraped and polished, while the other side still has the naturally nubbly surface. At the tip. it is clear that small pieces of it have broken off, probably through use. This could be, for example, when the pointed tool was used for pressing shards off a flint block. The hole in the shaft shows, however, that its primary use was not intended as a pressing tool.
Good condition due to a wet and low-oxygen environment
The pointed weapon is in surprisingly good condition, due to being sealed into a wet and a low-oxygen environment for all these years, ever since it was dropped by accident or sacrificed.