In ancient times, Europe was a very different place – at one time, Britain was still located in the European continent.
Only after millennia, when that relationship ended for a long time, did modern humans begin to rediscover ancient artifacts of Stone Age people who once lived in the land are now hidden under the waves.
One of these lost places – called Doggerland – lies between Britain and the Netherlands, and its existence today has been revealed in countless cultural objects that wash up along the shores of Dutch beaches.
Among these artifacts, many of the bone-forged points have long been considered a form of weapon that was used by Mesolithic hunger-gatherers 11,000 years ago while living in or around Dogland.
“We are pretty sure they are projectile points,” said archaeologist Joannes Decker of Leiden University, Netherlands. New scientist, Pointing out that thorny points, which are possibly plaques or perhaps spears, indicate active use as weapons or tools and not as ceremonial objects.
“They have been revived. They show use-wear.”
but that’s not all. In a new study led by Decker, the researchers analyzed 10 of the prickly points collected from the Dutch North Sea coast, using a technique called mass spectrometry and collagen peptide mass fingerprinting (aka ZooMS).
While it has never been known what kind of bone was used for the weapons, researchers were still surprised when the results came out, human bone was used for two prickly points, the rest being mostly ancient bones. The red deer was carved fromuterine cervix).
Researchers argue that the major use of red deer bones reflects the species’ availability to ancient hunter dogs.
However, other species including Auroch (Bos primigenius), Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) And wild boar (Sous ridicule), Should also have been easy to source, and their bones or antlers would have been equally suitable from a biomechanical point of view, if not more so.
“It was not an economic decision,” Decker explained Smithsonian Magazine. “There must have been some other reason, a cultural reason, why it was important to use these species.”
This is especially so for human bones, which is even more surprising.
The authors write in their paper, “Ethnographic data on hunter dogs, which employ an immediate return foraging style, show that the amount of animal resources is greater than the hunter’s biomass.”
“In other words, human bones make up only a minor fraction of the total amount of bones available to hunter animals … Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that opportunistic selection for human bone is highly unlikely.”
What then can explain the deliberate use of human bones by the ancient hunters of Doggerland?
There is no way we can know for sure, but researchers hypothesize that the use of red deer bones may reflect the culture-specific meaning or symbolism of some species that are responsible for the species .
Similarly, human bone marks could serve ritual purposes, representing a kind of fronting practice – one where “human remains are turned into weapons”.
Even though the tide of Dogland is rising, hunting remains forever.
The findings are stated in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.