Before Farming

Hamburgian weapon delivery technology

a quantitative comparative approach

Before Farming (2010), 2010, (1), 1–18.

Abstract

The pioneer human re-colonisation of southern Scandinavia after the Last Ice Age began some time around 12,700 calendar years BC and is associated with the Hamburgian techno-complex. These groups were reindeer hunters whose hunting weapons were tipped with the eponymous shouldered points (pointes á cran). Numerous studies have addressed the question of whether these points tipped arrows fired from bows, darts launched with the help of spear-throwers, or some other projectile delivery weapon. This paper approaches the question of Hamburgian weapon delivery technology from a quantitative comparative angle. Lithic metric data as well as information on presumed Hamburgian projectile shafts are used to demonstrate that the bow-and-arrow was the most likely weapon delivery method. This is reflected in the shape similarity with both later prehistoric arrow-points and shafts of the Ahrensburgian culture as well as ethnographic samples. Finally, the lack of wood suitable for building efficient bows during the earlier part of the Late Glacial (GI-1e/Bølling chronozone) is considered. It is suggested that composite bows consisting of reindeer antler and/or compression wood of pine were used.

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Riede, Felix