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10 May 2009
Prehistoric spear tip found in Slovenia

Slovenian archeologists have found a wooden spear tip believed to be between 38,000 and 45,000 years old, in a river near the capital Ljubljana. "A spear tip made of wood is something absolutely new for that period," the head of Slovenia's Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (ZVKDS), Ms Barbara Nadbath, said. The tip, unique for being made of wood, was found by the institute's underwater archaeology team last September at a riverbank construction site in Sinja Gorica, in the Ljubljansko barje wetlands west of the capital.
     "Due to its form, the object was compared to Szeletian stone spear tips, typical for central Europe between 50,000 and 35,000 BCE," the institute was quoted as saying. "The dating was later confirmed by radiometric research in a laboratory at Beta Analytic in Miami and the Oxford Research Laboratory for Archaeology." The spear tip was made of yew, the most appropriate wood to make hunting equipment, and a resin coating was preserved on one of its sides, ZVKDS added. "Finding the wooden spear tip provides additional information on the presence of Palaeolithic hunters in the area and answers the question about the materials used at that time for making tools," Nadbath said.
     The Ljubljansko barje area is one of Slovenia's main archaeologic sites, famous for the discovery in 2002 of a wooden wheel and axle of a two-wheel chariot dating back 5,600 years.

Sources: AFP, The Straits Times (7 May 2009)

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